Norwegian sells Royal gift to Thai National Museum

Jan Olav Aamlid, Norwegian coins dealer in Thailand, recently sold a golden cigarette case, which was a gift from King Rama V of Thailand to one of Queen Victoria’s royal guards, to The National Museum’s Female Volunteer Group. The Group in August handed over the golden cigarette case to the Thai National Museum in Bangkok.
     The golden cigarette case was one of several unique Royal Thai artifacts of which the rest remain in Jan Olav Aamlid’s possession. The National Museum of Thailand first learned of the Royal gifts when they were included in a special exhibition set up during Demark’s Queen Margrethe’s State Visit to Thailand in 2001.
     According to the director of the National Museum, Somchai Na Nakorn Panom, Jan Olav Aamlid acquired the case for Bt1.4 million, when it was auctioned by the Spink Taisei auction firm in Hong Kong.
     The case is made of gold and measures 5.7 centimetres in width and 8.2cm in length. Its lid is covered with diamonds and a multi coloured figure of Machanu, a halfmonkey, halfmermaid character featured in the ancient epic “Ramayana”. King Rama V’s initials shine in the upper right hand corner of the case.
     The case was given to William Carington, one of Queen Victoria’s royal guards, who served him at Buckingham Palace. Inside the case is written in his handwriting:
     “Given to me by the King of Siam, August 6, 1897”
     All of Jan Olav Aamlid’s golden gift artifacts of Rama V were later in 2001 entered into an exhibition at Asia House in Copenhagen along with many of the other exhibited items from the exhibition in Bangkok. When returned to Jan Olav Aamlid, one of them was missing. After a lengthy dispute it turned out, however, that somehow the item had been misplaced in a cupboard in Asia House.

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