Postage stamps and postal history of Papua New Guinea
In the South, Papua, formally under British rule, used the stamps of Queensland between 1885 and 1901. With the creation of the Commonwealth of Australia, the philatelic production and postal organisation were decided by an Australian administration and the stamps printed in Brisbane, then Melbourne.
In the North, New Guinea was under the control of the German Empire and used its stamps between 1888 and 1897. The colony got stamps bearing its name after 1897. Consequently, to the Australian conquest in 1914, the remaining German colonial stamps and some Australian ones, were overprinted. After the Territory of New Guinea became a League of Nations mandate entrusted to Australia, this country organised the postal system and philatelic production in New Guinea.
After the Japanese occupation of New Guinea and the suppression of civil administration in Papua at the beginning of 1942, the stamps of Australia were used between 1945 and 1953, before the two united territories got their own stamps. Progressively, it obtained its philatelic and postal autonomy, and finally independence in September 1975.
Note: concerning the western part of the island of New Guinea or Irian Barat, see Postage stamps of Western New Guinea.
- 1 In the North, New Guinea
- 2 In the south, Papua
- 3 The Territory of Papua and New Guinea
- 4 After the independence
- 5 Synthesis
- 6 See also
- 7 Sources and references
In the North, New Guinea
In German New Guinea, in the Bismarck Archipelago and the North Solomon Islands, the first German post offices opened in 1888 and used some stamps of the German Reich, issued between 1875 and 1887 (denomination in an oval or imperial eagle series). On the mail, they were cancelled with a round datestamp bearing the name of the town in the upper part and a five arm star in the lower. The "DEUTSCH- / NEU-GUINEA" mention appeared in the middle of datestamps some years after, and there can be two or three stars.
In 1897 and 1898, six stamps of Germany were overprinted with the name of the colony, printed in diagonal on two lines. It is in 1901 that the first stamps were issued with the name of the colony printed on them, in the German colonial series, picturing the imperial yacht Hohenzollern.
In September 1914, at the beginning of World War I in Europe, the Australian troops invaded the German New Guinea. In October and December 1914, the remaining stocks of German colonial stamps were overprinted with two mentions. On the upper line, "G.R.I." for Georgius Rex Imperator in honour of George V, King of the United Kingdom and Emperor of India. The second line is a new denomination expressed in the Australian pound subdivisions: pence ("d.") and shilling ("s.").
A stock of the German Marshall Islands stamps was retrieved in Nauru, while the German postal authority were ordered to destroy it. It was sent to New Guinea, where it was overprinted in the same fashion as German New Guinea stamps and sold starting December 1914.
From January 1915 to 1925, were used in New Guinea and Nauru stamps of Australia overprinted "NORTH WEST PACIFIC ISLANDS". They were taken in the Kangaroo and Map series and the George V series.
On 23 January 1925, the Australian administration in the League of Nations mandate of the Territory of New Guinea issued the first stamp series for this entity, representing an indigenous village formed by hutts. In June 1931, with the first transportation of mail by plane, a part of the Hutt stamps was overprinted with a plane and the "AIR MAIL" mention.
On 2 August 1931, a new series replaced the Hutt design with a raggiana bird-of-paradise and the "1921 / 1931" dates commemorating the tenth anniversary of the Australian mandate. The same day, the airmail overprinted series was put on sale. The 30 June 1932, the stamps were issued again, their design being modified to erase the previous commemorative dates. A new design picturing a plane above the Bulolo River (a gold dredging field since 1932) was created for two high value stamps of two and five Australian pounds. They were issued on 1 May 1935.
The British royal events provided ideas for two issues, simultaneously with the Territories of Nauru and Papua. In May 1935, two 1 and 2 pence Raggiana Bird of Paradise stamps were overprinted for King George V's Silver Jubilee. However, it was the whole design that was common for the three territories in 1936 to mark the coronation of King George V. Four New Guinean stamps were issued with his profile photographed by Bertram Park and engraved by Frank Manley.
On 1 March 1939, a new "AIRMAIL POSTAGE" series was issued with the Bulolo gold field design of 1935.
With the Japanese attack on Rabaul in New Britain in January 1942 and the occupation of the rest of the territory, the civil administrations were quickly suspended. But, on the philatelic market some New Guinea stamps had been known with a forged overprint imitating the Japanese overprint on occupied Dutch East Indies stamps.
In the south, Papua
The British New Guinea
British controlled the South-East of the island of New Guinea since the late 1884. The colony was administrated from Queensland, whose postage stamps figuring Queen Victoria were in use in British New Guinea between 1885 and 1901. The colonial datestamps bore the "B.N.G." abbreviation.
On 1 July 1901, a stamp series was issued with the name of the colony ("BRITISH NEW GUINEA") printed on it in intaglio by De La Rue in London. In the centre of them, was engraved a photograph taken by Captain Barton, Secretary of the Lieutenant-General. It pictured a lakatoi, a local ship, in front of Hanuabada village, near Port Moresby.
The Territory of Papua's Lakatoi series
In 1902, the Commonwealth of Australia received the responsibility to administrate British New Guinea. It was defined in the 1906 Papua Act, including a change of name to become the Territory of Papua. The remaining stock of Lakatoi stamps were overprinted "PAPUA" and issued in 1906 for the stamps treated in Port Moresby and in May 1907 for those sent to Brisbane. The search for philatelic income was the motivation for this overprint, more than the political update.
In November 1907, the Lakatoi design was put on stamps printed with the "PAPUA" name, in typography by the same printer than the stamps of Australia, in Melbourne. The design was kept until 1932, with only modifications of colours and values when postal rates were changed in 1912, 1921 and 1924. The sole change that was ill-welcomed by the public was the monocolor issue of 1911. The bicolor design was reused in 1915 and the monocolor stocks were overprint with a one penny value mainly sold to collectors.
In 1929, the first flights transporting some mail took place between Port Moresby and Australia, and to other isolated places in the colony, like the police station in Oroville on the Fly River. Three Lakatoi stamps were surcharged "AIR MAIL" or with a plane for this kind of mail.
The 1929–1931 overprints helped to increase with a 2.5 factor the sale of Papuan postage stamps, essentially thank to collectors.
New illustrated series of George V and George VI's reigns
In 1932, to increase the colony's income, Administrator Hubert Murray ordered the issue of a new postage stamp series, chosen among projects and photographed proposed by colonial servants. Five unicolor stamps were created with drawings by E. Whitehouse. Inside an ornament by F.E. Williams, two drawings by Williams and nine photographs by Williams and Alfred Gibson gave birth to eleven bicolor stamps. On the sixteen stamps, the Papuan indigenous culture was pictured: a lakatoi, Papuans in traditional clothes, habitations and two identified persons (Steve Dagora, son of Oalaa, in a ceremony dress and who became a public servant; and Sergeant-Major Simoi, a policeman). Printed in intaglio in Melbourne, the series was issued on 14 November 1932. It helped gain more than ten thousands pounds of stamp sales for fiscal year 1932–1933, five times more than 1929–1930, the last year without any new issue.
On 6 November 1934, the fifty years of the declaration of the British Protectorate were marked with four commemorative stamps designed by Frank Manley and engraved by Edward Broad. They were illustrated with two scenes of 6 June 1884: the Union Jack raised in Port Moresby and the meeting between Commodore Erskine of HMS Nelson and some New Guinean leaders.
Alongside the territories of Nauru and New Guinea, British royal events provoked two issued in Papua. In July 1935, four stamps were reissued overprinted « HIS MAJESTY'S JUBILEE / 1910 1935 » for George V's Silver Jubilee. For the coronation of George VI, five denominations were issued in 1937 with the profile photographed by Bertram Park engraved by Frank Manley.
Many stamps reprinted but not overprinted in 1935 were stored in Melbourne. They were finally put on sale in May 1938 at six General Post Offices throughout Australia to collectors who prepared their commemorative mail for the first regular airmail flight between New Guinea and Australia.
A new colonial celebration was marked by a stamp issue on 5 September 1938: the fifty years of the possession of British New Guinea by the United Kingdom. Five airmail stamps were issued with a view of Port Moresby. A new airmail series was released on 6 September 1939 with a drawing by Edward Broad: two Papuans on their rafts overflown by a plane.
At the beginning of the Pacific War, the Japanese occupation of Western New Guinea on the West and of the Territory of New Guinea on the North forced the suspension of civil administration in Papua on 12 February 1942. Even if the Australian Army's postal service used stamps of Papua at first, it quickly returned to stamps of Australia. The suppression of civil postal service rendered useless the reprints of 1932 stamps and of a 1 shilling 6 pence airmail stamp issued in January 1941 to follow the rate for a letter to the United Kingdom.
The Territory of Papua and New Guinea
On 30 October 1952, the new combined territory received its new stamp series figuring local topics and bearing the name "Territory of Papua and New Guinea".
Aside local cultures, economic activities, fauna and flora, the topics included the signs of political autonomy progressively given to the territory: a Legislative Council in 1961, the territory participation to political and sport events of Oceania and of the Commonwealth of Nations. Starting in the 1960s, European printers like Courvoisier (printer) and Enschedé competed with the official printing plant of Australia. The former introduced photogravure stamps.
On 26 January 1972, with the stamps presenting the new flag and coat of arms of the territory, appeared a new mention "Papua New guinea".
The new coins in kina and its subdivision, the toea, were presented on a five stamp series issued on 21 April 1975. In August, the four stamps marking the fifth South Pacific Games in Guam were the last before independence on 21 September 1975.
After the independence
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This is a synthesis of the stamps used in Papua New Guinea during its philatelic history, distinguished by the country name printed and the currency expressed on the stamps.
- German New Guinea, then New Guinea
|German New Guinea, then New Guinea|
|Value in New Guinean mark and pfennig.|
|1888–1897||stamps of Germany|
|Value in Australian shilling and penny.|
|Value in New Guinean pound, shilling and penny.|
N.W. Pacific Islands
|1925–1942||Territory of New Guinea|
||mention on stamps|
mention changed by an overprint
- British New Guinea, then Papua
|British New Guinea, then Papua|
|Value in pound, shilling and penny|
|1885–1901||stamps of Queensland|
|1901–1906||British New Guinea|
|Value in Australian pound, shilling and penny|
||mention on stamps|
mention changed by an overprint
- Papua New Guinea
|Papua New Guinea|
|Value in Australian pound, shilling and penny|
|1945–1953||stamps of Australia|
|1953–1965||Papua and New Guinea or|
Papua & New Guinea
|Value in Australian dollar and cent|
|1966–1971||Papua and New Guinea or|
Papua & New Guinea
|1972–1975||Papua New Guinea|
|Value in kina and toea|
|1975–||Papua New Guinea|
||mention on stamps|
mention changed by an overprint
Sources and references
- "Deutsch-Neuguinea", Michel Deutschland-Spezial 2002, volume 1, 1849 bis April 1945, Schwaneberger editions, ISBN 3-87858-137-8, 2002, pages 529–532.
- Commonwealth Stamp Catalogue Australia, Stanley Gibbons, 2007 :
- "New Guinea" [Occupation and Territory of New Guinea, formerly under German rule], Commonwealth Stamp Catalogue Australia, Stanley Gibbons, 2007, pages 118–120 ;
- "Papua (British New Guinea)" [Territory of Papua (former British New Guinea)], Commonwealth Stamp Catalogue Australia, Stanley Gibbons, 2007, pages 135–138 ;
- "Papua New Guinea" [until its independence], Commonwealth Stamp Catalogue Australia, Stanley Gibbons, 2007, pages 138–142.
Books and articles
- Michel Demont, Les Lakatoi de Papouasie (1901–1932), Club philatélique franco-britannique [middle of the 1990s].
- Richard Breckon, "The Stamps of Papua 1932–1941", Gibbons Stamp Monthly, December 2008, pages 68–71. Article written with the help of Geoff Kellow's research at the Note Printing Branche Archives, Reserve Bank of Australia, Sydney.
^a Steve Dagora (born 1919) is primarily known because he appeared on a postage stamp of his native Papua in 1932, when he was 13 years old, as the "son of Oala", a reference to his father, Chief Oala of Hanuabada. Steven was educated at the Catholic convent in Koki, a suburb of Port Moresby. He worked with his father both on the farm, and as 2nd engineer on the M. V. Chinsura. By World War II, he had developed a reputation as a competent mechanic. As well as having successful involvement in both the trucking and construction industry, he contributed greatly to his country's agricultural development.
- "Deutsch-Neuguinea", Michel Deutschland-Spezial 2002, volume 1, 1849 bis April 1945, éditions Schwaneberger, ISBN 3-87858-137-8, 2002, pages 529–532.
- « New Guinea », Commonwealth Stamp Catalogue Australia, Stanley Gibbons, 2007, pages 118–120.
- This overprinted stock was not sent back to Nauru according to Michael Sefi, A Pacific Selection, commentary of the 25 September 2008 exhibition at the Royal Philatelic Society London ; published on the Society's website, page Archived 19 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine retrieved 24 December 2008.
- Richard Breckon, "The Stamps of Papua 1932–1941", Gibbons Stamp Monthly, décembre 2008, pages 68–71.
- Michel Demont, "Les Lakatoi gravés de British New Guinea (1901–1905)", chapter 1 of Les Lakatoi de Papouasie (1901–1932), Club philatélique franco-britannique, [after 1995], pages 4–8.
- Michel Demont, "Les surcharges "PAPUA" de Port-Moresby et de Brisbane (1906–1907)", chapter 2 of Les Latatoi de Papouasie (1901–1932), Club philatélique franco-britannique, [after 1995], pages 9–13.
- Michel Demont, "Les émissions lithographiées J.B. Cooke (1907–1910)", chapter 3 of Les Latatoi de Papouasie (1901–1932), Club philatélique franco-britannique, [after 1995], pages 14–18.
- Michel Demont, "1916 à 1932. Les Lakatoi typographiées bicolores", chapter 5 of Les Latatoi de Papouasie (1901–1932), Club philatélique franco-britannique, [after 1995], pages 24–29.
- The 1931 rate change was met with the overprint of four stamps.
- Michel Demont, "1911 à 1915. Les Lakatoi typographiées monocolores J.B. Cooke et les surchargés "ONE PENNY" de Port Moresby de 1917", chapter 4 of Les Latatoi de Papouasie (1901–1932), Club philatélique franco-britannique, [after 1995], pages 21–23.
- Michel Demont, "1929–1930. Les surcharges de poste aérienne", chapter 6 of Les Latatoi de Papouasie (1901–1932), Club philatélique franco-britannique, [after 1995], pages 24–29.
- From 2'010 Australian pounds in 1929–1930 to 5'247 pounds in 1930–1931, according to Richard Breckon, "The Stamps of Papua 1932–1941", Gibbons Stamp Monthly, December 2008, pages 68–71.
- Artists credited in "Papua (British New Guinea)", stamps #130–145, Commonwealth Stamp Catalogue Australia, Stanley Gibbons, 2007, page 137.
- "Papua (British New Guinea)", stamps #154–157, Commonwealth Stamp Catalogue Australia, Stanley Gibbons, 2007, page 137.
- "Papua (British New Guinea)", stamps #158–162, Commonwealth Stamp Catalogue Australia, Stanley Gibbons, 2007, pages 137.
- "Papua New Guinea", Commonwealth Stamp Catalogue Australia, Stanley Gibbons, 2007, page 138.
- « Papua and New Guinea » or « Papua & New Guinea » on stamps until January 1972, according to "Papua New Guinea", Commonwealth Stamp Catalogue Australia, Stanley Gibbons, 2007, pages 138–142.
- "Papua New Guinea", Commonwealth Stamp Catalogue Australia, Stanley Gibbons, 2007, pages 138–142.
- "Papua New Guinea" stamps #212–213, Commonwealth Stamp Catalogue Australia, Stanley Gibbons, 2007, page 141.
- Wilson, Frank L. (2 February 1933). "Stamp Corner". Christian Science Monitor. p. 10. Retrieved 10 April 2011.
- "New Papuan Stamps". The Argus (Australia). 17 November 1932. Retrieved 10 April 2011.
- Bond, Osborne B. (26 February 1933). "Stamp Collecting". Baltimore Sun. p. TM12. Retrieved 10 April 2011.
- Bloss, A. W. (13 February 1938). "WORLD CRUISES TRAVEL AND RECREATION LAND TOURS". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 10 April 2011.
- Territories, Australia. Dept. of (June 1972). Australian external territories. p. 21. Retrieved 10 April 2011.
- Stamps, 1954-11-20
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