Unlike , 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.

Another 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.

It 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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