Bangkok Philatelic Museum

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

(1)40 years of The 5th Reign 1908, (2)Solot, The First Thai Stamp 1883

The History of Thai Postage Stamps

Philatelic Museum Bangkok records the Thai stamp and postal
history from the mid 1800s – the present day, with stamps
honoring the reigning monarch of the day and marking
significant events in Thai history.

The museum was first established in 1947 when the postal
services were under the Post and Telegraph Department. After
reorganization of the civil service and several relocations,
the Philatelic Museum, currently under Thailand Post Company
Ltd, finally found its permanent home in Sam Sen Nai Post
Office next to the Saphan Kwai skytrain station on 15 December

The Thai postal history – the early days

Stamps often tell the story of the history and culture of a
society. The Thai stamps in the Philatelic Museum Bangkok have
their stories to tell too.

Our story begins in the reign of King Rama IV (1851 – 1868). In
those days, before the existence of a postal service in
Thailand, people sent letters through messengers or friends who
were traveling within or out of the country.

With the signing of the Bowring Treaty in 1855, Thailand opened
up for foreign trade. The presence of foreign businesses and
consulates in Bangkok necessitated a postal service. This was
setup in 1867 by the British Postal Service and run by the
British consulate in Bangkok purely for communications between

As Thailand had no stamps of her own then, she used stamps of
British India which were also used in the Straits Settlements,
Malacca, Penang and Singapore. Stamps for use in Bangkok were
marked with a capital "B". The mail was routed through
Singapore and had a Singapore postmark.

In 1875, during the reign of King Rama V (1868 – 1910), Prince
Bhanurangsri Sawangwongse, younger brother of the king,
published a newspaper "Court" for royalty and high officials. A
local stamp was affixed for delivery services. This laid the
groundwork for the Thai postal service in the future.

Philatelic Museum - the advent of the postal service

In 1880 some members of the government felt a pressing need for
a postal service for the general public and petitioned King
Rama V. The king agreed. Fittingly Prince Bhanurangsri was
tasked to do this and was appointed the first Director General
of the Post Department. The first post office was built in
Charoen Krung Road by the Chao Phraya River near the mouth of
the Ong-Ang canal.

Thai stamp history - the first stamp issue

With the establishment of the domestic postal service, Thailand
issued her first postage stamp on 4 August 1883; 43 years after
"Penny Black" the world's first prepaid adhesive postage stamps
appeared in England.

The first set of stamps had the portrait of King Rama V, was
designed by William Ridgeway and printed by the Waterlow
Printing Company of England. The stamps bore no country name
and were only for domestic use. The Thais had their own
nickname for these stamps, "Solot", after the price of the
stamp in the old currency.

Originally stamp denominations were in solot, att, sio, salung,
the old Thai currency units. When the currency was changed to
baht and satang, new stamps were issued.

On 1 July 1885, Thailand joined the Universal Postal Union,
which coordinates the international postal system.

In line with international convention, the country name and
price in Arabic and Thai numerals were printed on the Thai

Subsequent commemorative issues in the Philatelic Museum

On 11 November 1908, Thailand celebrated the 40th anniversary
of the reign of King Rama V, the longest reigning Thai monarch
then, with a new set of postage stamps.

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