Australasia & Pacific Islands Stamps
Let’s take a voyage across the Pacific, starting from Australia. At first the separate states of Australia issued their own stamps. In most cases these are not at all common: many collectors, therefore, decide to concentrate on just one or two states.
The issue dates of the first Australasian stamps in each case were as follows: New South Wales – 1 January 1850; Victoria – 3 January 1850; Tasmania – 1 November 1853; Western Australia – 1 August 1854; South Australia – 1 January 1955; Queensland – 1860. The most famous of Australasian stamps is the design chosen by Western Australia of a black swan, especially the 4d in blue that exists printed with the frame inverted (for many years referred to as the ‘inverted Swan’).
On 1 March 1901, all the postal services came under federal control, but it was not until 2 January 1913 that stamps inscribed Australia were issued, the well-known ‘Kangaroo on Map’ design. Equally, appealing stamp designs have followed, although it must be admitted that there has been criticism of the philatelic policy in recent years.
Popular Stamps from Australasia & the Pacific Islands
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TASMANIA 1855 SG14 Specimen 1d carmine with Perkins Bacon CANCELLED handstamp
South Australia Stamps
SOUTH AUSTRALIA 1902 SG283 Mint thin POSTAGE 9d rosy mauve perf 12
New Zealand Stamps
NEW ZEALAND 1857 SG8 Mint 1d dull orange Chalon on hard white paper no watermark
NEW ZEALAND 1936 SGO128b Official 8d chocolate Tuatara Lizard multiple watermark perf 14x13½
West Pacific Stamps
COOK ISLANDS 1902 SG31a Used 2d deep brown White Tern error No figures of value
East Pacific Stamps
NEW GUINEA 1914 SG62 Used Marshall Islands 5s on 5m carmine and black
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AUSTRALIA 1953 SGD129/31 Postage Due new design 1s, 2s, 5s carmine and yellow-green
AUSTRALIA 1948 SG230da Mint unmounted 1s grey-green Lyrebird with Green Mist retouch
A Brief History of the Featured Stamps of Australasia
Before embarking to cross the Pacific, we travel south to New Zealand. The first stamp of 20 July 1855 featured the Chalon portrait of Queen Victoria: again many attractive stamps have followed. Perhaps most notable have been the issues, surcharged stamps that started in 1929 with a stamp costing 2d, of which 1d paid postage while the extra 1d went to the Anti-Tuberculosis Fund. The most sought-after set is that of 1931 depicting a Smiling Boy. Stamps for Penrhyn Island comprised overprints on New Zealand from 5 May 1902 until 15 March 1932 when the stamps of Cook Islands were used. Philatelic potential inspired the resumption of separate stamps from 24 October 1973, the initial sets being overprints on Cook Islands.
Highly desirable are the first stamps of Fiji, issued on 1 November 1870 and type-set and printed at the offices of the Fiji Times in values of 1d, 3d, 6d and 1/-. The following year stamps printed in Sydney, Australia were issued: when Fiji became a Crown Colony on 12 October 1874, these stamps were released nine days later, on 21 October, overprinted. From independence on 10 October 1970 Fiji has maintained a moderate stamp-issuing policy. Since 2006 Fiji has been meeting its current postal needs by surcharging obsolete stamp issues, creating some stamps that are highly sought-after.
Papua was originally known as British New Guinea, and that was how the first stamps issued on 1 July 1901 were inscribed. On 8 November 1906 these stamps were issued overprinted ‘Papua’, before stamps in the same design were issued from 1907 inscribed Papua. From 30 October 1952 stamps were issued for the combined territory of Papua & New Guinea (appearing as Papua New Guinea from 1972). Speculation pushed up the prices of some of the early stamps of the combined territory, but have since returned to more realistic levels.