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Portrait Rama 5 Court Fee and Land Transaction Revenues 1887-1898.

Portrait King Rama 5, Court Fee and Land Transaction Revenues 1887-1898. 

By Jos Sanders


A set of 5 revenue stamps was issued in 1887. There are 5 values in the set, a one Seeo (2atts) blue, a one Seek (4atts) vermillion, a one Fuang (8atts) carmine, a one Salung (16atts) yellow and a one Tical (64atts) ochre stamp.  

Usage on documents of this set is observed between 1888 and 1898.

Printed by Waterlow & Sons in London and perforated 14-15 on unwatermarked paper. The printing is by line engraving and is of very high quality. The size of these revenues is large compared to the postage stamps issued in the same time period. Most stamps have a printed area size of 27 x 35 mm, however measurements are also found as 28 X 34 mm and sizes in between. This size difference is due to paper shrinkage during the gumming process. 


For a very long time, in literature and catalogs, these stamps were wrongly described as General Revenues. However, they were used only for land transactions and later on, starting in 1892, as Court Fee revenues. They were basically used for the same functions as the later, 1897 issued Long Green stamps, and the later 1915 issued, Erawan Court fees. Both the Long Green and Erawan stamps are classified under Court Fee.  In the summary below, I will describe their main observed usages.


This first series has quite a lot of unique essays and proofs. A good overview can be found in the article (ref. 22) or in the exhibit of Yaovanee found in this blog under the tab "exhibition".



For land related transactions.


There are not a lot of documents known and only the ochre one Tical and the Tical surcharged using a Thai and an Arabic 6 are found on documents.            


This Tical, surcharged 6 Tical stamp, is found in many variations with lots of errors. There are 5 different fonts for the Thai 6 and there are 2 different fonts for the Arabic 6, a wide and a narrow Arabic 6.

Further there are plenty of errors like inverted numbers, mispositioned numbers, double numbers and missing numbers.


The first land related document, seen by the author is dated July CS1250 or July 1888 and it has an Tical stamp surcharged by handstamp 6 Ticals. On the land deed is a glued receipt, showing a cash refund, because the 6 Ticals stamp was more than the required payment. Multiple similar documents have been seen. The last seen dated document with a 6 Ticals surcharged stamp is December 23, 1894.

The first document seen with a 1 Tical non-surcharged stamp is dated Jan 13, 1890.  On the document is written that this 1 Tical stamp was not a sufficient payment, and an additional cash payment was made. This payment is stipulated on the document but there is no glued receipt on the document to show the extra cash payment to the land office. The last similar document is seen, dated 1891.

After the date of 1894, no more land office related documents are known using the Rama 5 revenue stamps. It is unknown if and in which year the land offices stopped using revenue stamps on documents. 

However, there are 1 Salung stamps known with a date handstamp of RS116 or 1897. I guess these stamps are somehow land office related. These Salung stamps have never been seen on document. 





King Rama 5 stamps on court documents.


During the reign of King Rama V, major reforms of the legal and court systems were introduced.

Before 1892, each major government department had its own Court of Justice. However, in 1892, the Ministry of Justice was established that brought about the centralization of all the various courts of Justices. exceptions were the Navy, Military and Royal courts. 

The various court fees were paid before 1892 using red color hand stamped seals, but the establishment of the Ministry of Justice brought with it the usage of Court Fee stamps to pay the various fees.

However, it would not be till 1897 that the first printed Court fee stamps would arrive in Thailand, the so called long green stamps.

So the portrait king Rama 5 stamps were used for Court Fee purposes.

Court fees. The highest value in this set is the ochre one Tical stamp, but the court fee payments could run over hundred Ticals. So, it was needed to surcharge with high Baht values. Around May 1892, the first stamp to be surcharged was the vermillion Seek stamp, they were surcharged with 20 or 40 Baht, the surcharge placed sideways near the top of the stamp. Surcharges were made using a square Royal Property seal.    

During the years of usage between 1892-1898, surcharges made varied between 1 Att and 1 Chang (80 ticals). These values correspond with the range of values in the later in1897, issued Long Green stamp series.


The first documents seen using the Portrait Rama 5 stamps are dated in RS111 or 1982. There are lots of Portrait Rama 5 stamps on those documents. The documents can be found using surcharged stamps in combination of non-surcharged stamps.



Surcharges made between 1892 and 1898 can be found on following stamps:

On the Seoo blue, surcharges of 1 Att and 1, 2, 4 and 6 Baht, these surcharges can be found in black and or red color ink.

On the Seek vermillion, surcharges of 4, 10, 20 and 40 Baht, these surcharges can be found in black and/or purple ink.



 The Seek high value surcharges placed sideways.


The oldest dated surcharges on 20 and 40 Baht are seen on documents dated May 1992. These stamps have the surcharge applied sideways on the top part of the stamps. It is sometimes thought that this was a surcharge misplacement, but the placement of the handstamp was planned like that. These stamps deserve a separate number in the revenue stamp catalog.

In 1897, the first Long Green court fee stamps start to appear sometime still in combination with the Rama 5 stamps. However, in 1898, all stocks of Rama 5 stamps seemed to be exhausted and only long green court fees can be found on the documents.




Ref. 22, Yaovanee Nirandara, Thai Revenue Stamps, The Thai Times, December 2005, pg. 78-82.


You can see all the above shown stamps in my own collection by going to the home page of this website, click on the tab “My Collection” followed by clicking on the “Portrait king Rama 5” tab.

In references, you can click on the title to see the full article.


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