Pacific Philately

kingfisherPostage stamps of the South Pacific are highly valued by collectors around the world, and many smaller Commonwealth countries such as the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Niue, Norfolk Island, Pitcairn, Samoa, Tokelau, Tonga, and Tuvalu earn a substantial portion of government revenue from the sale of stamps. In order to generate more revenue, the Cook Islands issues separate stamps for Penrhyn and Aitutaki, and Tonga has Niuafo’ou stamps. Some countries also try to boost income by increasing the number of annual issues, a practice that can cost them collectors. Bad actors in this regard are Cook Islands, Niue, and Tuvalu. Most of the stamps are printed in Britain, where the highest technical standards are employed.

Popular themes include birds, seashells, coral, maps, atoll scenes, fishing, dancing, musical instruments, and headdresses. As the bicentenaries of his voyages of discovery rolled around during the 1970s, Captain Cook was the subject of stamp issues by many of the islands he discovered. Easily obtained, inexpensive postage stamps and first-day covers make memorable souvenirs.