French Polynesia stamps

P=have O=don’t have it

French Polynesia is a French "overseas collectivity" with the particular designation of "overseas country" in the southern Pacific Ocean. It is made up of several groups of Polynesian islands, the most famous island being Tahiti in the Society Islands group, which is also the most populous island, and the seat of the capital of the territory (Papeete).

Scott: #C22P

(Thanks to Lou for the scan)

Issued: 6.6.1954

10th Anniversary, Liberation of France

#718 Inside #C22: France #718P


Scott: #207O

Issued: 9.4.1964


#1054 Inside #207: France #1054P


Scott: #C115P

Issued: 29.5.1975


#1 Inside #C115: France Type A1 (Pic of #1O)


Scott: #C121P

Issued: 5.11.1975

World Universal Postal Union Day

Inside #C121: Stamp on Envelope


Scott: #304P, #305-6O

Issued: 3.11.1978

20th Anniversary, French Polynesian Stamps (B)

#189 Inside #304: French Polynesia Type A24O (pic of #189) (B)

[Polynesians, type B2] Inside #305: French Polynesia Type A24P (pic of #186) (B)

#182 Inside #306: French Polynesia Type A24 (pic of #182P) (B)


Scott: #306aO


Scott: #322P

Issued: 1.8.1979

Death Centenary of Sir Rowland Hill

 Inside #322: G.B. #53P

 Inside #322: Tahiti #28O

Thanks to Lou for the scan


Scott: #C179P

Issued: 29.9.1980


#180 Inside #C179: French Polynesia #180O

Scott: #361P

Issued: 12.5.1982


 Inside #361: Tahiti #1AO

Thanks to Lou for the scan


Scott: #361aO

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 10 c 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.


Scott: #C200O

Issued: 29.7.1983


Inside #C200: Pseudo Stamp


[Airmail Stamps -


Scott: #C201O

Issued: 4.8.1983


Inside #C201: Pseudo Stamp

[Airmail Stamps -

Scott: #C201aO

Scott: #491O

Issued: 30.8.1988

Eric de Bisschop (1890-1958) Explorer

 Inside #491 (On Label): French Polynesia #169P

 Inside #491 (On Label): French Polynesia #172O

Lou wrote: This is another unusual SOS, as a complete stamped cover is reproduced on the attached label, and not the stamp.  I had intended to write an article about this issue too, as the saga of Eric de Bisschop’s voyages and tragic death is very interesting and the cover is unusual also.  If you enlarge the cover, you will see that the Fr Polynesian stamps are canceled in Constitucion, Chile on February 1, 1958, altho the printed cachet refers to the voyage of the raft, “Tahiti Nui” beginning on November 8, 1956.

De Bisschop was making the reverse of the trip of the Kon-Tiki and Thor Heyerdahl who contended that the Pacific islands were populated by people from South America.  De Bisschop wanted to show that Polynesians could have traveled eastward to South America and back.  On a 200 day voyage, he and his crew sailed from Tahiti to almost the coast of South America, where the raft broke apart while being towed to Chile.  Disappointed in his failure to complete the first part of his trip, De Bisshop immediately had another raft, the “Tahiti Nui II”, built in Chile and on February 15, 1958, two weeks after the cover was canceled, they sailed up the coast to Callao, Peru. From there they drifted westward across the Pacific, but missed their projected landfall in the Marquises, by-passed Tahiti, and tragically, the raft hit a reef in one of the Cook Islands, and De Bisschop was trapped in the wreckage and drowned.  The actual stamp, issued to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of the Death of Eric De Bisschop, is a map of the Pacific showing the routes of the two expeditions.

There is much written about De Bisshop and his other previous expeditions in the Pacific, but I have not been able to find out anything about the covers.  I assume they were unofficially prepared souvenirs to finance part of the cost of the voyage, and since the cover is marked as “Enveloppe No, 0732”, there may have been 1000 or more printed, but I have no idea how many were actually mailed.  Since the Fr Polynesian stamps were cancelled in Chile, the mail from the raft was considered to be and treated as ship mail— mail from a vessel is processed in the next port of call even tho postage is paid with foreign stamps.  I would love to own a matching cover, but many years of searches of Fr Polynesia, Chile and maritime mail dealers has been fruitless.


Scott: #515O

Issued: 7.7.1989


Inside #515: Pseudo Stamp


Scott: #516O

#CB1 Inside #516: French Revolution Common Design Types CD83 (B)

(Scan of French Polynesia #B6O)

Thanks to Lou Guadagno

Scott: #518O

Issued: 27.9.1989



Inside #518d: stamps on envelopes

Thanks to Lloyd Gilbert


Scott: #574-5O

Issued: 16.11.1991

Phila Nippon

Inside #574-6: Pseudo Stamp


Scott: #576O

Scott: #605P

Issued: 18.11.1992

Centenary, First French Polynesian Postage Stamp

 Inside #605: French Polynesia #4O

Thanks to Lou for the scans


Scott: #623O

Issued: 14.8.1993

Taipel ‘83

Inside #623: Pseudo Stamp



Scott: #O16-19P, #O21P, #O22-3P, #O25P, #O27-8P

Issued: 13.1.1993

Official Stamps

[Eagle - Colored Paper. See Also No.59-64, type A4] Inside #O16: French Colonies #5O

#12 Inside #O17: French Colonies #12P

[Alphee Dubois - Colored Paper, type G11] Inside #O17: French Colonies #27O

[French Colonies - General Issues No.33 & 44 Surcharged, type B] Inside #O18: Tahiti #4 Vertical SurchargeO

(According to Scott French Colonies #29O)

sos tahiti stamped newapaper wrapper Inside #O19: Hand stamp

Lou wrote: The TAHITI 5c depicted a hand stamp on a paper wrapper used to note the cost to mail newspapers in Papeete starting in 1883. Since most wrappers were discarded, even torn or partial examples sell for one hundred dollars and more

[Inscription:  Inside #O21: French Polynesia #4O

[Inscription:  Inside #O22: French Polynesia #6O

[Inscription:  Inside #O22: French Polynesia #8O

[New Colours, type C16] Inside #O23: French Polynesia #48O

Inside #O25: Postmark on postal card

[FIDES, type CB] Inside #O27: French Polynesia #181O

#C21 Inside #O28: French Polynesia #C21O


Scott: #O24P

Issued: 6.4.1994

Official Stamps

 Inside #O24: French Polynesia #147O

 Inside #O24: French Polynesia #148O

Thanks to Jan Van Lin for the scan


Scott: #693P

Issued: 16.10.1996

Stamp Day

#21 Inside #693: French Polynesia Type A2 (Pic of #21P) (B)

Tribute to Henry LEMASSON

French Postal and Telecommunications civil servant Henry LEMASSON (1870-1956) was only 25 years old when he arrived in Tahihi in 1895 to become head of the Papeete Post Office, a post created by decree on November 13, 1859.

This enterprising young man quickly formed the Post Office of this small capital city into a top-performing operation.

He also was an amateur photographer who took outstanding photos, some of which were chosen to illustrate this first series of stamps created by the «Établissements Français de l'Océanie» (French Oceanic Settlement) and engraved by J. de la Nézière.

Lemasson also had a talent for writing, which equally didn't go unnoticed by postal officials. Thus, he soon was given the task of writing articles and notes that, combined with his photographs, served as detailed descriptions of Tahiti and the other archipelagos of French Oceania at the 1900 World's Fair and the 1906 Colonial Exhibition.

His first contract expired in 1904, but Lemasson returned to Tahiti to hold the same post from 1912-1920. He displayed lots of character when World War I offshore shelling of Papeete by two German Navy ships destroyed the Post office in 1914.

Lemasson was also concerned,about improving the postal service, sending several reports to his superiors in Paris. Some of those reports were followed up, such as his suggestion for the creation of maritime route from Marseille to Nouméa, New Caledonia, via the Panama Canal and Tahiti.

Now, the first Day of the Polynesian Postage Stamp jointly organized by the French Polynesian Postal and Telecommunications Office and the Polynesian Philatelic Club provides the occasion to pay tribute to this active French civil servant.

As a result, one of Lemasson's photos has been chosen to illustrate the new postage stamp being issued on this occasion. He chose as a model for this photo a young Tahitian «vahine» by the name of Noho Mercier, who became a victim of the Spanish flu in 1918, during which Henry Lemasson once again showed a certain self-sacrifice.

See also:


Scott: #O20P, #O26P

Issued: 21.4.1997

Official Stamps

Definitives 22v Inside #O20: French Polynesia #176O

Thanks to Jan Van Lin for the scan

A 9-franc official stamp is illustrated from a 1948 series of paintings by French artist Jacques Boullaire, whose works have made his name forever linked to French Polynesia stamp and phone card collecting.

This illustration portrays two languid Tahitian "vahines" talking to each other as they lounge on the grass.

The stamp used as part of the illustration dates back to the time of the first main post office in Papeete.

[Number 22, 32 and 26 Surcharged, type B17] Inside #O26: French Polynesia #59O

An 85-franc official stamp is illustrated with the face of a young girl.

This illustration was first used for an official stamp published for the 1996 Day of the Polynesian Stamp.

What makes this stamp unique is its postmark. The place (Rurutu in the Austral Islands) and the date (1921) were written in by hand with pen and ink due to a temporary unavailability at that time of a normal postmark. This is one of the most rare and most sought-after hand-written postmarks within the world of “marcophilie”, the French term for those stamp collectors who specialize in collecting postmarks.

Lou wrote: I don't know if this is for the sites, but if not, at least, I get to show off an unusual cover in my collection. A few years ago, I saw one of the actual covers from the de Bisschop voyage from Tahiti to Chile offered online, and I had to have it, even tho it is a SoL (stamp on label).  The reproduction on the label was printed in monotones different from the original, as you will see in the comparisons.  According to the cover and research on the voyage, there was supposedly 1000 covers created, and 70 years later, they are rarely offered.

I hope you find it interesting.

fr polynesia 491 + label

French Polynesia #491

sos de bisschop cover

Bisschop voyage from Tahiti to Chile


Scott: #761P

Issued: 2.7.1999


 Inside #761: French Polynesia #720O

Scott: #761aO

150th Anniversary, French Polynesia Postal & Telecommunications Office

PhilexFrance'99 provides the occasion for the French Polynesia Postal and Telecommunications Office (OPT) to present stamp collectors with a large variety of postage stamps issued in recent years.

The history of the postage stamp in Tahiti & Her Islands dates back to the French Oceania Territories of the 19th Century. That history is intimately linked to the paradise myth of these islands, which has been almost totally preserved over the years by travelers, artists and writers.

While France began using illustrated postage stamps to send mail in 1849, it wasn't until 10 years later that stamps were produced for France's colonies, and it was even several more years before the stamps actually reached their overseas destinations.

The first postage stamps (Eagle-type) finally arrived in the “Établissements Français de l'Océanie” (French Oceania Territories), or what today Tahiti & her Islands, in 1862.They were first were put into use on October 25 of that same year. They followed other types (Céres, Napoléon III, Sage et Commerce), which were traditionally used until the end of the 19th Century.

Unfortunately, it was not until September 6, 1882 that these stamps were required to be printed with the world «Tahiti» on them.And that occured after some 5,400 other stamps had been used without any indication of the name of this French colony.


Scott: #773P

Issued: 15.3.2000

The OPT and Philately in Fr.  Polynesia

#755 Inside #773: Fr. Polynesia #755O

#766 Inside #773: Fr. Polynesia #766O

#748 Inside #773: Fr. Polynesia #748O

#753 Inside #773: Fr. Polynesia #753O

#749 Inside #773: Fr. Polynesia #749O

#767 Inside #773: Fr. Polynesia #767O Inside #773: Fr. Polynesia #758O

(Thanks to Attilio Papio for the scan)

#751 Inside #773: Fr. Polynesia #751O

Friends of the Magic Art

The magic of philately is many-faceted. It begins with the very origin of the word itself, which stems from the Greek word "philos", which means "friend".

All of those who love postage stamps and their related objects, such as postmarks, are thus those who share the same passion. This passion knows no boundaries. Stamp-collecting friends live throughout the world and make themselves known through a variety of cultural signs that they willingly share.

The attention of philatelists all over this planet are attracted by this minuscule rectangular piece of paper, a miniature synthesis of a magical reality by dint of beauty, the medium for all the dreams of tireless travelers en route towards the Holy Grail of the "Great Stamp Collector".

The postage stamp is the quintessence of both the art and technique expressed by the human genius wherever his creativity takes him--a real miniature museum that is a tool of knowledge, aesthetic pleasure or an object of curiosity. Regardless of whether it is printed on an offset machine or by means of heliography, thermography or even engraving, its shapes and colors reflect the art that we keep to ourselves.

Travelers well-know the souvenir value of a letter bearing a postage stamp from any of the four corners of the world. Long before the Internet, the stamp was a universal means of communication. Free of any electronic ties, the postage stamp crosses vast oceans, following the same paths as man. That is what gives it its indescribable charm of a long voyage, its only scars being those of the postal stamp that authenticates its origin.

French Polynesia is a philatelist's paradise. Stamp collectors have filled albums with thousands of souvenirs of Tahiti & Her Islands and its bygone days. Such albums serve as history books, showcases of the marvels of the South Seas, witnesses to a living art, traditional dance or painting. They are all objects of the same devouring passion, a simple spare time hobby.

Yes, Tahiti & Her Islands owe a part of their image and piece of their myth to the postage stamp. That's why the French Polynesia Postal and Telecommunications Office must honor during the year 2000 this small piece of perforated paper that the passage of time has never made duller. It's only a fitting sign of reciprocal appreciation from all the admirers of postage stamps from Tahiti & Her Islands.

Scott: #811O

Issued: 9.10.2001

Dialogue among Civilizations

Inside #811: Pseudo Stamp on Envelope

Thanks to Lloyd Gilbert


Scott: #987-9O

Issued: 6.11.2008

50th Anniversary, Fr.  Polynesia Stamps

#185 Inside #987: Fr. Polynesia #185O

#C24 Inside #988: Fr. Polynesia #C24O (B)

#J23 Inside #989: Fr. Polynesia #J23O


Scott: #989aO

The French Settlements in Oceania gained the status of Overseas Territories on 22 July 1957 and were thus given the new title of “French Polynesia”. On 3 November 1958, the first series of stamps bearing that name appeared. That series consisted in 9 “postage” stamps, 4 “air mail” stamps and 3 “tax” stamps. All the stamps at the time were printed by intaglio (also called copperplate printing), and where magnificently made by famous engravers such as Mazelin, Betemps, Cottet, Pheulpin, Serres and Cami.

On that memorable day, everyone rushed down to the Post Office; not only philatelists (who were then numerous in the Territory) but also common people who wanted to pay the postage of their mail with stamps that were particularly representative of the country. Therefore, many letters were sent on that day, even though no official first day cover nor special date stamp were issued. Nevertheless the Post Office rapidly had a linear postmark made which everyone could affix on the envelopes or postcards, whether they matched the topic or not. These documents are today must-haves for philatelic enthusiasts of French Polynesia.

The 25th anniversary of that first series of stamps was already marked in 1978 by the issuing of a series and a miniature sheet taking up the themes of the three original stamps again. Two others reappear today and we can notice that the background of this new sheet represents the famous 200-franc stamp: “Night fishing in Moorea lagoon”.

ATM Stamps

Issued: 6.11.2008

Thanks to Dr. Eli Moallem


Scott: #1014O

Issued: 5.11.2009

The young girl of Bora Bora

#180 Inside #1014: Fr. Polynesia #180O

When the US Army left Bora Bora after the war, its inhabitants did not see it as a blow dealt by fate. After that experience, they found themselves not richer or poorer than before. And they took it with philosophy: “It’s over now. It was like a beautiful dream…” But the road of tourism had opened and the film industry had now taken hold of the wonderful beaches and of the island’s breathtaking lagoon.

People came from the four corners of the world to shoot a documentary or a film sequence. A young girl named Tumata Teutau appeared in a documentary by Landry, the brother-in-law of the French Overseas Ministry of the time. Like many young girls of Bora Bora, she was part of a dance group which kept winning prizes at the July Festival in Tahiti and in which Tumata particularly stood out. In 1955, she was a model for photographer Adolphe Sylvain but it was a photograph extracted from Landry’s film that called the attention of engraver Pierre Gandon, who exquisitely drew the famous “Young girl of Bora Bora”, a stamp which received the Philatelic Art Grand Prize in 1955.

Thanks to Prof. Plinio Richelmi


Scott: #1038-40O

Issued: 4.11.2010


 Inside #1038: Fr. Polynesia #C17O

#C18 Inside #1039: Fr. Polynesia #C18O

 Inside #1040: Fr. Polynesia #C19O

Although in 1948 air services between Tahiti and Metropolitan France were not yet fully established and the stock of stamps of the “Airplane” (Free France) series was not totally depleted, the Postal Service Authorities in the French Settlements of Oceania decided to issue three stamps intended for shipments via “Airmail”.

Engravers Gandon and Piel made these stamps by using the copperplate engraving technique, whose topics were in line with the major “Post” series. They depicted landscapes of Moorea and Maupiti, two islands of the Society archipelago.

On the occasion of the Salon d’Automne (Autumn Salon) in Paris, these little marvels, full of nostalgia, have today been reproduced on stamps on stamps with face values adapted to our times, by L. Dartois and re-engraved by A. Lavergne.


Thanks to Prof. Plinio Richelmi and Lou Guadagno

Scott: #1087O

Issued: 8.11.2012

120th Anniversary of E.F.O stamps

 Inside #1087: Fr. Polynesia #1P

Modified: value in tablet replaced with anniversary notation, inscription in black, not red

Martin Hirschbühl wrote: There is a typo-error in the middle of the label (below 120)

it reads: Anniverssaire, instead of Anniversaire (as seen twice on top of stamps)

Thanks to Lou Guadagno

Scott: #1126O

Booklet pane of 6 self adhesive stamps

Issued: 16.05.2014

The Post Office in Graffiti

#180 Inside #1126d: Fr. Polynesia #180O

Thanks to Lou Guadagno

 fr polynesia    11 1 14 (2)

Scott: #1137O

Issued: 06.11.2014

“Tahitian Female Dancer” 1964 – 2014

sos fr polynesia C30  1964 Inside #1137: Fr. Polynesia #C30P

Thanks to Prof. Plinio Richelmi and Lou Guadagno

fr polynesia         11 5 15

Scott: #1156O

Issued: 05.11.2015

Red Cross Charity Stamp Centenary

sos tahiti B2  1915 Inside #1156: Fr. Polynesia (Oceania) #B2O

fr polynesia ss

Scott: #1156aO

Thanks to Lou Guadagno

fr polynesia

Scott: #????O

Issued: 16.12.2017

Legend Polynesia

sos fr polynesia 527 1989 Inside #????: Fr. Polynesia #527O

Thanks to Martin Hirschbühl, Komlóssy Zoltán and to Lou Guadagno

Scott: #????O

Issued: 18.11.2018

60th Anniversary of First Stamps Inscribed "French Polynesia"

 Inside #????: Fr. Polynesia #187O

This is the third time commemorating the name change from Fr. Oceania to French Polynesia (see 1978 and 2008).

Thanks to Lou Guadagno

Best website related:


Wish List

French Polynesia #4


French Polynesia #6


French Polynesia #8

sos tahiti B2  1915

Fr. Polynesia (Oceania) #B2

[New Colours, type C16]

French Polynesia #48

[Number 22, 32 and 26 Surcharged, type B17]

French Polynesia #59

French Polynesia #147

French Polynesia #148

French Polynesia #172


French Revolution Common Design Types CD83 (B)

(Scan of French Polynesia #B6O)

Definitives 22v

French Polynesia #176


French Polynesia #180

[FIDES, type CB]

French Polynesia #181


Fr. Polynesia #185

Fr. Polynesia #187

Fr. Polynesia #C17


Fr. Polynesia #C18


Fr. Polynesia #C19


Fr. Polynesia #C24


Fr. Polynesia #J23


French Polynesia Type A24O (pic of #189)


French Polynesia #C21


Scott: #207


Scott: #305-6


Scott: #306a


Scott: #361a


Scott: #C200


Scott: #C201

Scott: #491


Scott: #515


Scott: #516

Scott: #518

sos fr polynesia 527 1989

Fr. Polynesia #527


Scott: #574-5


Scott: #576

Scott: #605 (OTW-PostB)


Scott: #623

French Polynesia #720


Fr. Polynesia #730c for Malagasy


Fr. Polynesia #748


Fr. Polynesia #749


Fr. Polynesia #751


Fr. Polynesia #753


Fr. Polynesia #755 

Fr. Polynesia #758

Scott: #761a


Fr. Polynesia #766


Fr. Polynesia #767

Scott: #811


Scott: #987-9


Scott: #989a


Scott: #1014


Scott: #1038-40O

Scott: #1087

Scott: #1126

fr polynesia    11 1 14 (2)

Scott: #1137

fr polynesia         11 5 15

Scott: #1156

fr polynesia ss

Scott: #1156a

fr polynesia

Scott: #???? 2017







Tahiti #1A for French Polynesia

[French Colonies - General Issues No.51 & 35 Surcharged & Overprinted

Tahiti #2 for French Polynesia

[French Colonies - General Issues No.33 & 44 Surcharged, type B]

Tahiti #4 Vertical Surcharge for French Polynesia

Tahiti #28 for French Polynesia