Ottawa

Ottawa company chosen to commemorate death of Thai king with new stamps

An elaborate, year-long ceremony to mark the passing of the longest reigning Thai leader, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, was billed as a one-of-a-kind funeral and an Ottawa printing company had a small role with the unique commemoration.

Producing stamps for Thailand Post 'hugely prestigious' honour, company says

Ottawa-based Lowe Martin Inc. was chosen to print millions of copies of these stamps commemorating the passing of King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand. (@ottawamorning/Twitter)

An elaborate, year-long ceremony to mark the passing of the longest reigning Thai leader, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, was billed as a one-of-a-kind funeral — and an Ottawa printing company had a small role with the unique commemoration.

A persistent international sales manager with Lowe Martin Inc. had been trying to get into the Thai market for two years. When they did, the Ottawa-based company struck a deal with Thailand Post to produce three stamps commemorating the late king.

"It was a very tough place to get into, but we finally did. And the first stamp that they actually awarded us happened to be the commemoration of the death of their king, which was hugely prestigious for us," Ian Hetherington, director of stamp production at Lowe Martin, told CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning.

The elaborate ceremony involved three separate processions with thousands of troops, a golden palanquin, a chariot and a royal gun carriage.

The funeral ended Sunday — a year after it had started — with the king's ashes being enshrined in two royal temples and Thailand's Grand Palace.

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette travelled to Bangkok as Canada's official representative for the cremation of King Bhumibol, who died at 88 last October. 

The Great Victory Royal Chariot is pulled by Thai army officials dressed in ancient uniforms in preparation for the Royal Cremation ceremony of Thailand's late King Bhumibol Adulyadej near the Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand on Oct, 26, 2017. (Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters)

The printing company has a main office on Hunt Club Road and produces stamps for 50 countries around the world. It was the only company outside of Thailand chosen to print three commemorative souvenir sheets.

The sheets contain three different stamps: one of the royal chariot, a second of the newly built crematorium, and the third of the royal run.

Stamps' value could 'double'

These aren't your average stamps, either. They have distinct perforation, with ink ordered from Germany and "simulated gold" foil, according to Hetherington.

The company plans to print a total of 9 million stamps, all of which are perfectly legal for postage. 

Hetherington expects some will want to hang on to them, in case their value skyrockets.

"The Asian collector market is huge," he said. "Once these are sold out, I could imagine the value of them could double, triple. It could even get more."

With files from CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning

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