Postage stamps and postal history of French Polynesia

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An 1893 20c French Colonies stamp overprinted for use in Tahiti.
A 1924 stamp of the French Oceanic Settlements.
A 1937 letter from Tahiti to New Zealand bearing stamps of the French Oceanic Settlements and a New Zealand postage due stamp.

This is a survey of the postal history and postage stamps of French Polynesia, formerly known as the French Oceanic Settlements.[1]


The use of Tahiti postage stamps on mail first became valid on 25 October 1862, using the general stamps of the French Colonies. In 1882 a shortage of 25c stamps necessitated a surcharge on less-used values. Some of the surcharges also included the name "TAHITI". This happened again in 1884 with 5c and 10c values.

In 1892, the Navigation and Commerce issue for French Oceania became available, and in 1893, two kinds of overprint were applied to the remaining stocks of regular and postage due French Colonies stamps; one type was a slanted overprint reading "TAHITI" and the other was a horizontal "1893 / TAHITI". For some values of stamps, very few were left to be overprinted, and genuine overprints are quite rare, the rarest being the horizontal overprint on the 25c yellow at around US$20,000.

Thereafter only the stamps of French Polynesia were in regular use. In 1903, there was a shortage of 10c stamps, and three values were surcharged with "TAHITI / 10 / CENTIMES" or "... centimes". Semi-postal stamps of French Polynesia also received a red cross and "TAHITI" overprint in 1915.

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References and sources[edit]

  1. ^ "French Polynesia" Sandafayre Stamp Atlas, 2000. Retrieved 9 February 2011.