A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzabar

A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzibar... Now what is between? For the world wide classical era philatelist and stamp collector, a country specific philatelic survey is offered by the blog author, Jim Jackson, with two albums: Big Blue, aka Scott International Part 1 (checklists available), and Deep Blue, aka William Steiner's Stamp Album Web PDF pages. In addition, "Bud" offers commentary and a look at his completely filled Big Blue. Interested? So into the Blues...

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Thailand (Siam)

1883 Scott 1 1 sol blue "King Chulalongkorn"
Quick History
Thailand is the only Southeast Asian nation that was never colonized, and served as a buffer state between French Indochina and the British Empire.  And Thailand has always had a king as head of state since Bangkok was established as the capital of the Chakri Dynasty under Rama I in 1782. Granted, the king sometimes had authority, sometimes not, depending which dictator or government was in power at the moment. A major change occurred in 1932 when the king lost his absolute monarchy, and there has been some nineteen constitutions/charters formed since then through various military dictatorships and democracies.

Siam (yellow) 1909
Then known as Siam, the country joined the UPU on July 1, 1885. (Siam was the official name until 1939, and again between 1945-49.)

Actually, Thailand's postal service was launched earlier on August 4, 1883, with the five definitive stamps of King Chulalongkorn in profile.

In 1909, Thailand lost their four southern provinces, which were mostly ethnic-Malay, to Malaysia.

Population was 15,700,000 in 1940.

During WW II, Thailand and Japan had a military alliance, although clearly Japan dictated the terms.

Dutch and Australian POWs on the Burma Railway
The Burma-Siam Railway (Bangkok-Rangoon) was built utilizing forced labor for the Burma campaign. 180,000 Asian "romusha"  (90,000 died) and 60,000 Allied POWs (13,000 died) were used during the construction.

After WW II, Thailand became an ally of the United States.

And King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Rama IX of the Chakri Dynasty, has reigned since 1946! (And, by the way, he is worth $30 billion!)

1908 Scott 111 2a on 24a lilac & blue
"King Chulalongkorn"
Into the Deep Blue
The 2014 Scott Classic Specialized 1840-1940 catalogue has, for Thailand (Siam) 1883-1940, 286 major descriptive numbers. Of those, 64 are CV <$1-$1+, or 22%. Thailand is somewhat more expensive than most countries for the WW classical era collector.

I should mention that "Siam" was the name on stamps until 1939 for the stamps of Thailand- essentially all of the classical era period (and again between 1945-49). But Thailand is the common and preferred country name now, so I will use it here.

A closer look at the stamps and issues
32 Solot = 16 Atts = 8 Sio = 4 Sik = 2 Fuang = 1 Salung
4 Salungs = 1 Tical
100 Satangs (1909) = 1 Tical = 1 Baht (1912)
1883 Scott 3 1 sio vermilion "King Chulalongkorn"
The first issue of August 4, 1883 was an engraved five stamp set by Waterlow and Sons depicting a profile view of King Chulalongkorn. The five stamps were denominated in solot, att, siao, sik, and salueng. It is referred to as the Solot series. CV ranges from $10+-$60+.

1887 Scott 15 8a green & yellow
"King Chulalongkorn"
As Thailand joined the UPU in 1885, stamps had to be redesigned with the country name. An eight stamp bi-colored issue printed by De la Rue & Co, which has design characteristics of the Malayan States of the era, was prepared. The 1887-91 issue has a CV of $2-$7 for seven stamps.

Note the denomination for the issue is Atts.

1894 Scott 40 1a on 64a lilac & orange brown
There were considerable (48!)  handstamped and typeset surcharged stamps issued between 1889-1899, all based on the 1887-91 issue. Some are CV inexpensive ($2-$3), while others are quite expensive ($300-$800). There are also counterfeit overprints.

1889 Scott 78 3a red & blue
"King Chulalongkorn"
Scott has a 1899 five stamp set with a full face view of the king listed for 1889 (Scott 70-74), but these were never officially released as the king rejected the design. Nevertheless, some were released by mistake. CV  ranges from $85-$500. (I don't have any.)

What was released officially was a fifteen stamp set between 1899-1904 with a profile view of the king -illustrated above. CV is $1-$3 for nine stamps.

King Chulalongkorn
Who was King Chulalongkorn? He was the fifth monarch of Siam under the House of Chakri, and he was also known as King Rama V. He reigned between 1868-1910.

He was known as The Great Beloved King, as his policies and social reforms manged to keep Siam from being colonized by the French or the British.

1905 Scott 97 4a gray & red 
"King Chulalongkorn"
Between 1905-08, another fourteen stamp set was released with a portrait of the king, which is supported by two children- interesting! The stamps were printed in Leipzig.

1908 Scott 113 1a orange & green
Black overprint; "Jubilee Issue"
For the 40th year reign of King Chullngkorn, a five stamp overprinted in black or red "Jubilee Issue" was released. CV is $1+-$20+.

1909 Scott 137 14s on 9a blue, Surcharged
In 1909, an eleven stamp surcharged issue was released. CV ranges from $1+-$8+ for eight stamps.

1910 Scott 139 2s orange & green
"King Chulalongkorn"
The last six stamp issue for King Chulalongkorn was released in May and June, 1910.  He died in October of that year.

Coat of Arms 1873-1910
The Arms, introduced by King Chulalongkorn in 1873, was the Emblem of Siam until 1910.

1912 Scott 146 3s yellow green
"King Vajiravudh"
The son, King Vajiravudh (King Rama VI), reigned from October 23, 1910 until 1925. He promoted Siamese nationalism and increasing democracy. He managed to keep Siam out of WW I.

In 1912, a twelve stamp engraved issue with his visage was produced by the Imperial Printing Works, Vienna. Perforation is 14 1/2. (There will be a type of the 1912 issue re-engraved in 1917 that will be perforation 14.)

1912 Scott 151 1b blue & black
"King Vajiravudh"
The six higher denomination Baht stamps had this enlarged bi-color design for the 1912 issue.

1914 Scott 159 10s on 12s gray black & brown
Surcharged in Red
In 1914-15, four stamps from the 1912 issue were surcharged, as shown, in red or blue.

1917 Scott 166 5s rose red
Types of 1912 Re-engraved
The 1917 issue of King Vajiravudh was a type of the 1912 issue, and was re-engraved by Waterlow & Sons. The colors are somewhat different, and there are some minor design changes. Perforation is 14.

1912 Issue- four horizontal wavy lines
under "M" of SIAM
For the 1912 issue, there are four horizontal wavy lines under "M" of the Siam tablet.

1917 Issue- three horizontal wavy lines
under "M" of SIAM
For the 1917 issue, there are three horizontal wavy lines under "M" of the Siam tablet. There are other differences as well, if one looks.

1920 Scott 190 5s rose/pale rose
"King Vajiravudh"
A new issue with King Vajiravudh began in 1920, and ultimately twelve stamps were released. CV ranges from <$1-$2+ for ten stamps.

1921 Scott 198 50s ocher & black
The king had the talent of an artist, and he translated Shakespeare plays (Romeo and Juliet), and even Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot episodes.

1926 Scott 199 1t gray violet & green
"Throne Room"
The "Throne Room" issue of six stamps was intended to commemorate the fifteenth year reign of King Vajiravudh. But he died in November, 1925, and the"Throne Room" stamps were released as an ordinary issue on March 5, 1926.

1928 Scott 212 25s black & orange
"King Prajadhipok"
The King's brother became King Prajadhipok (Rama VII) on November 25, 1925. A fifteen stamps issue was released in 1928.

1928 Scott 218 3b yellow green & black
"King Prajadhipok in full royal guard uniform"
The seven higher Baht denomination stamps featured a bi-colored larger format design for the new king. The Revolution of 1932 changed his reign from one of an absolute monarch to the first constitutional monarch.

1932 Scott 230 25s violet & black
"King Prajadhipok and Chao P'ya Chakri"
An eight stamp issue with three designs was released in 1932 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Chakri dynasty, the founding of Bangkok (1782), and the opening of the memorial bridge across the Chao Phraya river.

The king found himself in growing disagreement with the People's Party government, and he abdicated in 1935. He lived the rest of his days in England, until he died in 1941.

1939 Scott 233 2s dull red brown
"Assembly Hall, Bangkok"
For the 7th anniversary of the Siamese Constitution, a five stamp lithographic issue was released in 1939. This is the last issue with "Siam" for the country name. (True, between 1945-49, "Siam" made a comeback.)

1940 Scott 242 15s dark blue
"Chakri Palace, Bangkok"
Note: "Thailand" !!!
Right at the edge of the 1840-1940 classical era for stamps, "Thailand" makes a belated appearance.

The 1940 typographic issue has five stamps. CV is <$1-$5+.

1918 Scott B1 2s orange brown
Overprinted in Red
The Siamese Red Cross society was the beneficiary of excess funds for the semi-postal 1918 eleven stamp overprinted 1917 re-engraved issue. Scott has a note that excellent counterfeit overprints exist.

1925 Scott C5 15s carmine "Garuda"
The first air post issue was released in 1925, and had an image of the "Garuda" on eight stamps. The Garuda is a large bird- like predator, highly intelligent. It is found in both Buddhist and Hindu mythology.

Garuda statues, Wat Phra Kaeo temple, Bangkok
Garudas are found adorning many Buddhist temples in Thailand, and the Garuda is the national symbol.

1930 Scott C11 10s black & orange "Garuda"
The 1930-37 six stamp air post issue is similar to the 1925 issue, but in perf 12 1/2 rather than perf 14, 14 1/2. CV is <$1-$2+ for five stamps.

Deep Blue
1883 Issue in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has  20 pages for classical era Thailand (Siam), and there is a space for all major Scott numbers. Steiner has three pages for the surcharged stamps of 1889-1899, and these will probably be sparsely filled by most WW collectors, as they can be expensive. The 1889 set (5 spaces) that wasn't officially released and are expensive (CV $85-$1100+), will probably remain blank also. ;-)

1920 Scott 186 10s on 12s gray black & brown
Red Surcharge
Big Blue
Big Blue, on five pages, has 118 spaces for the stamps of Thailand. Coverage is 41%.

The '69 BB still labels the country "Siam", and it is placed between Somaliland Protectorate and Sierrra Leone.

There are eleven stamp spaces requiring stamps @ CV $10-$20+. There are no "Most Expensive " stamps ($35+). See comments section below the checklist for specifics.











Next Page





145 or 164, 146,166,147,167,148,149,




Next Page



199, (200),





Next Page


Next Page


Air Post
1925-29 (Actually -30+)
C1 or C9, C2, C3 or C10, C5 or C12,

C6 or C13, C7 or C14, C8,

A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1883 Scott 1 1sol blue ($10+)
1883 (Scott 2) 1att carmine ($10+)
1887 Scott 18 64a lilac & orange brown ($20+)
1889 Scott 79 3a green ($10+)
1905 Scott 90 1a on 14a ($10)
1905 Scott 91 2a on 28a ($10+)
1908 Scott 103 18a red brown ($20+)
1905 Scott 105 1t deep blue & brown orange ($10)
1910 Scott 144 28s red brown ($10)
1912 Scott 150 28s chocolate ($10+)
1925 Scott C8 1b blue & brown ($10+)
B) (   ) around a number indicates a blank space choice.
C) *1912-17- mixture of original (1912) and re-engraved (1917)

1930 Scott 224 25s on 28s red brown
Surcharged in Blue;"King Chulalongkorn"
Out of the Blue
Thailand is high on my list of countries that I wouldn't mind "sub-specializing".

Note: Maps, Coat of Arms image, King Chulalongkorn pic, and  POW pic appear to be in the public domain. The Garuda pic is in the public domain, but acknowledgement is given to Supercarwaar.

Have a comment?


  1. Please note that while King Rama VII did indeed die in 1941, it was of congestive heart failure - not in a plane crash. He passed away in Surrey.

    1. Ok, I’ll check into it - there must be conflicting information out on the internet. Thanks for the heads up.

  2. Hi Jim, On the checklist 101 is a 9A. My edition shows it should be a 12A denomiation which is 102. Kind regards, Troy

  3. Jim, I see Scott #2 as the first stamp for Thailand. The oval above King Chulalongkorn's head displays something like a "55" when I squint, same as #2.

    Thank you for the awesome site and information. I find myself referring to it often.

    1. Thanks Patrick - appreciated!
      Yes, I see the "55" figure on Scott 2. Are you saying the "Scott 2 1att carmine" is labeled/misdescribed incorrectly by Scott?

    2. That's funny Jim. As you've noted Scott has its quirks in Big Blue, e.g. the extra space N. Rhodesia. I found one today in the description for Zambezia's penultimate stamp, since a "Surcharge" is not an overprint, and there are no stamps in the catalog with the Provisorio overprint and a surcharge for 1915. Regards the checklist for Thailand 1883, "2, (1)" appears accurate. Cheers and thank you again for this invaluable site!