Buying Thai Buddhist Amulets
After selling Thai amulets for a couple of years now I noticed some things. I of course tried the Ebay route but was met with a lot of dissatisfaction because the buyers are of a different type than I was used to working with online at one of the thailand amulet sites I work with.
This article will be an overview about buying Thai amulets and what to look out for basically.
There are a lot of foreigners and Thais' alike that are selling dubious gold, brass, bronze, copper and clay amulets that are basically worth less than the dirt or metal they're made with. Worthless Thai amulets. Initially my friend was given some Thai amulets by her grandparents who had quite a collection. There were hundreds of antique amulets we looked through and we were given a sizable amount. We were left with instructions to give them away and sell them if we wanted but these were very decent amulets with a lot of power as believed by Thai people.
Thais believe that certain amulets that were blessed by certain monks are extremely powerful. Powerful how? Good luck, protection from evil and physical altercations. There are Thai amulets for protection of body, family members, health, against knives and bullets, sharp things like glass and machetes... There are amulets to protect against natural disasters. There are Thai amulets that bring money in. There are amulets that give businesses great luck and fortune.
How in the world do you know if you're buying a genuine, blessed Thai amulet if you find a web site online that is selling them?
Good question. In short, you don't. There are some things you can look for to ensure you're getting a genuine article, but Thai talismans are easily faked and there are quite a few charlatans out there that will dupe you given half the chance. It's a sad state of affairs, but, like every country there are those that believe in good karma and those that don't.
Here, most everyone believes in good karma - but that trend is blown away when you look at those selling the sacred Thai amulets online or at the markets. Sadly, money rules the hearts of some Thais too...
Things to look for when shopping online to ensure you get a quality, blessed, genuine Thai Buddhist amulet that is worth the money you pay for it:
1. The amulet store has more than one photo of the item and can take another one for you if you request it. This would prove the person actually HAS the amulets and could ship them to you.
2. The amulet store has an account with Paypal or Moneybookers or some other means with which to accept money for the amulets. A Paypal account needs to be registered with a verified bank account which means that Paypal could track someone that was cheating buyers out of amulets bought online.
3. The amulet store has ten or more amulets - each with a separate page for each amulet. This means someone spent the time to create individual amulet pages and maybe means there is a better chance they actually are selling the items and not just listing them all on one page with little effort put into making the site. Someone scamming buyers is not likely to build a 150+ page website (like we did at ThaiAmuletSales.com, and here at this blog - another 70 pages, and another 50 pages at ThaiBuddhaAmulets.blogspot.com, and another 25 pages at http://wattumsua.thaipulse.com). Someone scamming you will have a small site - under 30 pages lets say.
4. The person selling the amulets appears genuine, knows English well enough to tell you exactly what you need to know.
5. The amulet store doesn't list wild claims on the site. Ridiculous claims made to incite buyers to buy on emotion are usually a good warning sign that the amulet site might be bogus.
6. There is some history to the amulet if it's old, or some explanation who the Thai amulet features on it - and the reasoning behind it. Does it feature the Buddha on a coiled naga (serpent)? Or, Luang Por Tuad? Why? A good site will give you a history of the amulet. Look up on Google the keywords the amulet seller uses to see - is Luang Por Tuad really a monk? Maybe not. Challenge the site by trying to prove the things it displays are true.
7. Email is answered promptly, courteously and without some urgency for you to buy something.
8. Jatukam (jatukum, jatukarm) amulets are not worth much. They were a fad that has almost gone away here in Thailand. Foreigners don't know this fully yet and are still buying them. These amulets are being thrown away in canals and behind buildings in Thailand now. Jatukam amulets are large, round about 2 inches in diameter and are made of clay or have metal coatings over clay.
9. Amulet prices are too high or too low. An old, or especially rare amulet might be worth as much as $500 USD. There aren't that many for sale. If someone is selling 30 of them they are either a high-level seller (like we are at AllBuddhas.com) but, probably they are selling fake amulets. If they are only selling 5 high priced amulets - that's more credible. The most expensive we sell on a regular basis is under $80. If you're interested to see the range, Shop Now!
Did this help? If you follow these tips you should find yourself in possession of a quality amulet. There is still a chance you will find a fake amulet. The best way to ensure the amulets are quality is to come to Thailand yourself and buy them at a temple.
The second best way? Find someone you trust that buys amulets at a temple and that you believe in. I try to be that person when I sell amulets. I do my best to offer people a realistic price for genuine Thai amulets that they can't get anywhere else. To my knowledge nobody is selling these amulets that I do from Wat Tum Sua and Wat Mahatat in Nakhon Si Thammarat. Nobody but the temple itself. The best route is to find someone you trust. Visit ThaiAmuletSales.com, ThaiAmuletSales.com/blog (here), AllBuddhas.com, or http://ThaiBuddhaAmulets.blogspot.com - you can trust that these are genuine, blessed, Theravada Buddhist amulets mailed from Thailand as you purchase them with Paypal.