Ad Indusophon – A Great Female Philatelist

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Ad Indhusophon was the wife of late Prakaipet 'Pet' Indhusophon, one of the most popular international philatelists of the 1970s and 1980s. When Ad married 'Pet' in 1970, her career in philately was destined. She was intrigued about all this intensive talk about the pieces of paper, which her husband adored. Pet was a keen collector and postal historian of his home country, Siam, for which he won the Grand Prix d'Honneur at India '89 and in which year he also signed the Roll of Distinguished Philatelists.

After Pet passed away in April 1991 she decided to follow Pet's wish to sell his collection, to return these Thai treasures to the Thai people and to start a collection of Cape of Good Hope, which was a dream her husband's didn't get time to realise. She explained: 'It was destiny - love at first sight! Prior to Cape of Good Hope triangulars, right after my husband died, I had gone through a few other things in search of something that would inspire me to become a serious collector. When I came across Cape material I fell in love with what I saw and felt "this is it". The beauty and the simplicity of the design of the stamp, the reclining lady, a symbol of hope, captured me. I am a great admirer of beautiful things. I like to look at another beautiful lady. The Cape of Good Hope triangular stamp is just like a very beautiful lady. With something visually as beautiful as that, one does not need to say much about her!'

She went on: 'In 1993 I bought a small collection of Cape of Good Hope triangulars, and a little later I was able to acquire the many rare pieces that appeared in the 1989 Dale-Liechtenstein sale. Destiny came in a form of timing and luck. Then, timing for me was good and luck came my way, I managed to acquire many rarities that had been unavailable to collectors for some 60 years or over. The collection I created included the wonderful unused block of six of the Perkins Bacon 1d, the unique unused block of four of the Woodblock 1d vermilion, as well as the famous 4d vermilion error of color contained in a block of four with three normal copies. Other rarities in the collection can be traced back to the great collections formed by the greater collectors before me -. Ferrary, Hind, Pack, Caspary, Stevenson, D'Arcy Hall, Burrus, "Maria de la Queillerie", Sir Maxwell Joseph, Bonnaventure, and Salisbury'.

Siam collections

It wasn't until after her husband died that Ad began collecting stamps. She explained: 'Everything started intensively after his death. With help of dear friends I was able to form up Siam Postal Stationery, and later Aviation and Airmail Services in Siam 1920-1941. I started from what Pet had left behind and I added on. The two collections were interesting but for a lady beginner they were not very captivating. Later on I learned to appreciate these two collections'.

In fact philately proved a great source of strength for Ad. She told me: 'Philately opened the world to me. The hobby gave Prakaipet and I so much pleasure in many ways, through philately we came to know wonderful friends. Pet was a very passionate philatelist, therefore after Pet died I couldn't stay away from it and was determined to carry on'.

Revealing more of her inspiration for collecting Ad said: 'Classic Siam was my late husband's specialty, not mine. The Postal History of Burma in the 19th Century between the wars was one of the first collections I formed up after Pet died. I acquired this small collection, felt it could give me a good start, and there was interesting story line to build up. This is in connection to postal history of Burma from the First Burmese War in 1824-1827, through the Second Burmese War in 1852-1854, following which India stamps were issued for use in Burma, and through the Third Burmese War 1885 to 1889 and the pacification years that followed soon after. Soldiers' letters forwarded from one place to another, forming the story, are in themselves very interesting to study'.

Ad went on: 'Philately is a very unique hobby for all -whatever level of collection it gives any collector the same pride and pleasure. It is wonderful if you can afford a classic collection, but if one can't, one can equally enjoy collecting stamps. Whenever there was an opportunity I formed up interesting collection, just to show that with less money one can have the same pleasure. Part of my Cape of Good Hope Triangulars was sold in 1999. At that point I could not improve the collection anymore. It was heart-breaking having to part with something I most love, yet in life I learned to be detached, one has to. Also a few years back I was introduced to fiscal stamps, Cape of Good Hope Revenues is quite appealing; it is somehow related to the area of my great love'.

Importance of research

Part of her reason for collecting Siam/Thailand, Burma and British Colonies is that she can do the research and study in her own language, or in English. Ad explained her other reasons for collecting: 'It must be something that I can understand, something to give me a good start, and the possibility to fill in the story. It is intriguing to learn how things were done and why during the classic period, and there is a beginning and the end'.

As for her greatest achievements in philately Ad revealed: 'One is my youth project in Thailand under Prakaipet Memorial Foundation - the Foundation was set up to promote philately among youth in my country. This started in 1993, and is still very active. Since the beginning there have been some 3,000 youths participating. Stamp activities for youth is held every Saturday at Prakaipet Corner, Bangkok National Library. Secondly, when my Cape of Good Hope Triangulars collection won International Grand Prix at Toronto in 1996. Thirdly, was when my work was recognized and I was invited to sign the Roll of Distinguished Philatelists in Hereford in July 2001'.

We asked Ad if there had ever been a philatelic piece she didn't manage to acquire, but wished she had? She replied: 'There were only very few pieces I had wanted, as these would add more glamour to my collection. But then these pieces were not meant to be mine, therefore nothing was missed'.