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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Stamp Investment Tip: Thailand King Vajiravudh Issues

Thailand honored its king with two sets issued in 1912 and 1917. Both the Vienna set (Scott #145-56) and the London set (Scott #164-75) were engraved, and have minute design differences which are described by Scott and other catalogs. 10,000 of each were issued, and Scott '12 prices them unused at $973.00 and $1,936.- , respectively.

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 learning about investing in stamps should read the Guide to Philatelic Investing ($5), available on Kindle and easily accessible from any computer.

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