WORTH A SECOND GLANCE
, say, in philately, most postcard
collectors do not get excited about small differences between cards.
A particular card may be produced through several print runs with each
one showing differences in colouring or the degree of enlargement of the image.
Similarly, if cards have been produced from
an aerial photographic session, sometimes there are slight variations in
aircraft attitude or cloud formations. Unless one has copies of one version to
hand in flicking through cards these
variations are unlikely to be detected. Sometimes
these slight variations become more significant – one that springs to mind is
the relatively common British United VC-10 card (catalogue A100), which , if the
fuselage text has been edited, becomes the super rare Sierra Leone Airways issue.
such has recently surfaced on the internet. One
of the less common cards from prolific 70s publisher Charles Skilton is
a take off shot of a 747 in BOAC colours, publisher reference 244.
transpires that this same image was doctored by Air Siam to convert the colours
to their own – so one of the rarest cards from one of the rarest airlines of
the last 20 odd years could be mistaken for a relatively common publisher card.
The reason Air Siam cards are rare is that the airline was both very short lived and an operator of a single example of various long haul airliners from Boeing (707 & 747), Douglas (DC-10) and Airbus (A300). Every one was leased. The original proposal had been to operate the VC-10. The story of Air Siam includes international airline politics and royal politics in Thailand and is told in Ron Davies book “Rebels and reformers of the Airways” which profiles its founder Prince Varanand as a sort of Asian Freddie Laker in a chapter titles “Prince to Pauper”. Varanand, who had served with the RAF from 1942, had been ejected from his company by the time of the multi-type fleet and ended up returning to flying for Thai. Air Siam collapsed in 1977 after just over 2 years operation. 3 cards are known of the 747, 2 of the DC-10 and 2 of the A300, including a black and white one issued in Germany as well as the colour ground shot shown.
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