Stamp detective: Bhutan 1969


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Our stamp detective spotlights a 1969 Bhutan stamp set that looks set to go up in value.

In the 1960s, the Kingdom of Bhutan issued a number of stamp sets printed on all kinds of materials which were quickly denounced by the philatelic press of the day as gimmicks produced only for collectors. One of the more interesting sets depicted Buddhist prayer banners. The five stamps and a souvenir sheet were printed on silk cloth and issued in 1969.

Today, of course, there are numerous nations which release these kind of philatelic novelties including embroidered stamps and the like. The Bhutanese stamps are imperforate but there are two versions of the souvenir sheet: perforated and imperforate.

Price watch

When the set went on sale in 1969 it was quite inexpensive and as recently as fifteen years ago it was catalogued at less than £8. However, over the years the set has progressed steadily in value and dealers now ask all of £80-100 for the complete set with the two souvenir sheets.

It is doubtful if there are any larger stocks available of this issue. The designs feature Thangka (other spellings exist) paintings. They are Tibetan Buddhist paintings on cloth or silk usually depicting a Buddhist deity or a scene from a Buddhist legend.


The stamps are self-adhesive which was frowned upon by the collecting community way back in 1969 but today this is the standard in many countries.

On commercial covers the Bhutanese Thangka paintings stamps are quite rare and even First Day Covers are scarce. 

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