As I write this on January 1st, the first of Thailand’s stamp issues for 2015 is scheduled for release. It is a public holiday and the local post office is closed so I will attempt to purchase my copies of the stamp and first day cover tomorrow. This first issue, 1058 in Thailand Post’s numbering scheme, is the annual Chinese zodiac issue for the Year of the Goat in a completely new design as the previous twelve releases in this series. One of the things I love about collecting Thai new issues is the low face value – most stamps are either three or five baht so an entire sheet of ten or twenty can be purchased for less than US $2.00. A full set of single stamps and first day covers for the entire year will run less than $50, judging on what has been announced so far.
The annual stamp-issuing program for Thailand is a bit predictable in some respects with certain subjects commemorated each and every year. There’s the zodiac issue, one for National Children’s Day a week-and-a-half later (lately these have all had ASEAN themes), Chinese New Year, a love stamp or stamps just before Valentine’s Day, Thai Heritage Conservation Day, the Red Cross stamp, one for Visak Buja Day, National Communications Day, flower stamps for New Year’s in November, and a single or multi-stamp issue marking the King’s birthday in December. We used to have annual issues for International Letter Writing Week in early October but those seem to have given way to a World Post Day issue during the same time period.
Last year saw a plethora of releases marking the anniversaries of some of the nation’s universities at the 50-, 60- or 100-year mark. This year, there will be one noting the 72nd anniversary of a university. There must be some significance to the number 72 in Buddhist mythology otherwise it seems very strange.
Each year also has what I call a purely topical release, usually around July. Last year, we had a mini-sheet of frogs. The year before it was owls. This year, the theme seems to be rivers. Other than the first two issues on the 2015 schedule, none of the images have yet been publicized.
While most of the issues will be single or paired stamps, there will be several multi-stamp issues. I’m pleased to see one of these will mark mid-April’s Songkran (Thai New Year) festival and another will showcase Thai numerals. I think I’m most intrigued by something called “Twelve Values” to be released in late September. Upon first glance, I thought this meant the “values” of the stamps, meaning the denominations – Thailand doesn’t need such a series. I then noticed the following caveat: “Announced by the Head of the National Council for Peace and Order.” This is the governing organization setup in the wake of last year’s military coup in order to maintain the short-lived curfews, squash public demonstrations, and eliminate corruption. In Phuket, they have also been charged with clearing all the beaches of food vendors and beach chairs – leaving cleaner but completely unshaded sunbathing expanses. The “Twelve Values” must mean a list that has been distributed to Thai schools detailing the core disciplines that students must exhibit to be outstanding citizens of the Kingdom. When an English translation was delivered to the school where I teach, we thought it was a complete joke. I suppose these behavior edicts are the subject of this stamp issue. I hope that I’m wrong.
What follows is the list of stamps scheduled to be released by Thailand in 2015, numbered by Thailand Post’s system. Detailed information apart from the issue names, release dates and denominations has yet to be announced. The images for the Zodiac and National Children’s Day issues are all that have been released thus far. There may be additional souvenir sheets, etc. included with some of these issues. I will try to provide more information about the individual issues as we go through the year.
1058: 2015-01-01 Zodiac 2015 (Year of the Goat) – 1 3-baht stamp
1059: 2015-01-10 National Children’s Day 2015 – 5 3-baht stamps (transport in the ten ASEAN member countries)
1060: 2015-02-02 72nd Anniversary of Kasetsart University – 1 3-baht stamp
1061: 2015-02-09 Symbol of Love – 1 5-baht stamp
1062: 2015-02-09 Chinese New Year 2015 – 2 5-baht stamps
1063: 2015-03-27 Red Cross 2015 – 1 3-baht stamp
1064: 2015-04-02 HRH Princess Maha Chakri Srindhorn’s 5th Cycle Birthday Anniversary – 1 5-baht stamp
1065: 2015-04-02 Thai Heritage Conversation Day – 8 3-baht stamps + souvenir sheet
1066: 2015-04-07 Songkran Festival – 4 3-baht stamps
1067: 2015-05-08 40th Anniversary of Thailand – Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Diplomatic Relations – 2 3-baht stamps
1068: 2015-05-17 150th Anniversary of the ITU – 1 3-baht stamp
1069: 2015-06-01 Important Religious Day (Visak Day) 2015 – 4 3-baht stamps
1070: 2015-06-07 100th Anniversary of the Birth of Princess Prem (Ngarmchit) Purachatra – 1 3-baht stamp
1071: 2015-06-08 Thailand – Malaysia Joint Issue – 2 3-baht stamps
1072: 2015-07-29 Thai Numerals – 10 3-baht stamps
1073: 2015-08-03 Thailand Philatelic Exhibition 2015 – 4 3-baht stamps
1074: 2015-08-04 National Communications Day – 1 3-baht stamp
1075: 2015-08-08 120th Anniversary of the Army Training Command – 1 3-baht stamp
1076: 2015-08-08 ASEAN Economic Community – 1 15-baht stamp (this is the international postcard rate)
1077: 2015-09-01 100th Anniversary of the Revenue Department – 1 3-baht stamp
1078: 2015-09-20 50th Anniversary of Thailand – Singapore Diplomatic Relations – 2 3-baht stamps
1079: 2015-09-20 100th Anniversary of the Auditor General of Thailand – 1 3-baht stamp
1080: 2015-09-20 Twelve Values – 12 3-baht stamps
1081: 2015-09-22 Annual World Dental Congress 2015 – 1 3-baht stamp
1086: 2015-10-xx Thai Traditional Temple Fair – 4 3-baht stamps
1082: 2015-10-09 World Post Day 2015 – 1 3-baht stamp
1083: 2015-10-10 130th Anniversary of Phra Mongkol-Thepmuni (Sodh Candasaro) – 1 3-baht stamp
1084: 2015-10-13 100th Anniversary of the Department of Corrections – 1 3-baht stamp
1085: 2015-10-16 200th Anniversary of Pathumthani – 1 3-baht stamp
1090: 2015-11-xx Rivers – 4 3-baht stamps + souvenir sheet
1087: 2015-11-15 New Year 2016 (1st Series) – 4 3-baht stamps
1088: 2015-11-16 New Year 2016 (2nd Series) – 3 15-baht stamps
1089: 2015-11-20 60th Anniversary of Thailand – Sri Lanka Diplomatic Relations – 1 3-baht stamp
1091: 2015-12-05 H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s 88th Birthday Anniversary – 4 5-baht stamps
UPDATE: When I visited the Phuket Philatelic Museum this morning, I found that it – along with the neighboring main Phuket Town post office – both remained closed, having taken an extra-long holiday for the New Year. They might reopen tomorrow (Saturday) so I will try again… (Interestingly enough, the post office at the Phuket Airport remained open throughout the holiday – one of only twenty-two in the Kingdom to do so.)
Stamp images courtesy Siam Stamp Catalogue, ©2014 Thailand Post.