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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Stamp Investment Tip: Thailand 1908 Statue of King Chulalongkorn (Scott #118-24)

I'm initiating coverage of Thailand with the 1908 Statue of King Chulalongkorn Issue (Scott #118-24). Only 5,000 sets were issued, and Scott '11 prices the unused set at $2,369.-. Many of the early stamps of Thailand feature the King or have royal themes, as reverence for the King and Royal Family are an important part of Thai culture. In all likelihood, many of the Statue sets were used as postage and discarded. The best investments among Thai stamps comprise the better stamps which fall under three categories:

  • the early surcharges and overprints, which include the surcharged King's heads, as well as the overprinted semi-postal issues; being overprints, the most valuable of these require expertization;

  • the better sets of the early 20th century, most of which feature the King or Royal themes;

  • the modern souvenir sheets with low printings and/or topical appeal, especially those of the 1970s and '80s.

I intend to spotlight stamps from each of these categories in future articles, as the prospects for significant long-term growth of the Thai stamp market are very promising.

A nation of 66 million people, Thailand is the second largest economy in Southeast Asia after Indonesia. Despite this, Thailand ranks midway in the wealth spread in Southeast Asia as it is the 4th richest nation according to GDP per capita, after Singapore, Brunei and Malaysia. Though most of the country's population still works in agriculture, the relative contribution of agriculture to GDP has declined while exports of goods and services have increased. Major industries include automobiles and automotive parts, financial services, electric appliances and components, tourism, cement,, appliances, computers and parts, furniture, plastics, textiles and garments, agricultural processing, beverages, and tobacco. Annual GDP growth has averaged just over 3% over the last 5 years, but this takes into account a 2% contraction in 2010, due to the global financial crisis. Those interested in becoming part of an international community of stamp collectors, dealers, and investors are welcome to join the "Stampselectors" group at Facebook. The group hosts lively discussions concerning stamp investment and practical aspects of collecting, and is also an excellent venue for those who wish to buy, sell, or trade stamps.

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