Postage stamps and postal history of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands
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The first mail service to the Gilbert and Ellice Islands was ad hoc, depending on which ships were calling at the various islands. A regular service began in 1911; Edward VII postage stamps of Fiji were overprinted GILBERT & ELLICE / PROTECTORATE and put on sale on 1 January of that year, followed in March by a set of four stamps depicting a Pandanus tree, inscribed GILBERT & ELLICE ISLANDS / PROTECTORATE.
These were followed in 1912 by George V stamps of the common type, inscribed GILBERT & ELLICE ISLANDS. A new definitive series came out starting 14 January 1939, featuring local scenery and a profile of George VI. These were updated in 1956 with a profile of Elizabeth II.
Queen Elizabeth II
A set of four stamps on 1 May 1960 commemorated the 60th anniversary of the discovery of phosphate at Ocean Island. The definitive series of 1965 depicted daily activities of the natives, but a decimal currency conversion necessitated surcharges in 1966 and a reissue of the stamps in 1968. The colony issued about 10-15 stamps per year thereafter, usually as sets of four, until the end of 1975.
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References and sources
- Scott catalogue
- Rossiter, Stuart & John Flower. The Stamp Atlas. London: Macdonald, 1986. ISBN 0-356-10862-7