Pitcairn Islands stamps

P=have O=don’t have it

Flag of Pitcairn Islands



Scott: #15P

Issued: 10.10.1949

UPU Issue (Common Design Types)

Inside #15: Stamps on Envelopes

[Local Motives, type HE]

Scott: #171AO

Issued: 1.10.1981

Local Motives

Inside #171A: Burning obsolete stamps

Thanks to Dragan Buškulić




Scott: #221-224O

Issued: 14.3.1983

Commonwealth Day

Inside #222: Stamps on Envelopes



Scott:#322O, #322a, #322bO, #322cO

Issued: 28.4.1989

Pitcairn Island Bicentennial

#393 Inside #322b: Isle of Man #393P (Isle of Man)

Norfolk Island #453 for #322 ש Inside #322c: Norfolk Island #453O

Released on 28 April in conjunction with the Pitcairn Islands the Norfolk Island and Isle of Man Postal Administrations was a souvenir sheet which features one stamp illustrating Lt. Bligh and his party being cast adrift, another (being an Isle of Man stamp on a Pitcairn stamp) showing Fletcher Christian, and the third (a Norfolk Island stamp on a Pitcairn stamp) depicting "mutineers and Polynesian maidens".

The Isle of Man (NZ $2.40) and Norfolk Island (NZ $3.20) souvenir sheets, featuring the same three designs in a different order but in the same format, were also produced.



Issued: 15.10.1990

50th Anniversary, Pitcairn Island Stamps

 Inside #338: Pitcairn Islands #2O

1940 Fletcher Christian and his fellow mutineers look towards Pitcairn (With Bounty Chronometer).

#31 Inside #339: Pitcairn Islands #31O

1957 The Schoolteacher's house; this design first released on 2 July 1957 carried the incorrect inscription "Pitcairn School".  It was re-issued on 11 May 1958 with the correct inscription (With Bounty bible).

#108 Inside #340: Pitcairn Island #108O

1969 Government Radio Station at Taro Ground (With Pitcairn Bell).

#172 Inside #341: Pitcairn Island #172O

1977 HRH Prince Philip with St Paul's Rock and the Royal Yacht Britannia.  Prince Philip visited Pitcairn in February 1971 (With HMAV Bounty).

#300 Inside #342: Pitcairn Island #300O

1988 HMS Briton and HMS Tagus. First British vessels to visit Pitcairn after settlement by the mutineers.

#1 LJ Inside #342: G.B. #1O

The History of Pitcairn's postal service from: http://www.stamps.gov.pn/

Without long explanations all that can be said of Pitcairn's postal service during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries is that it was irregular and unorganized.  There being no postage stamps, mail from Pitcairn was often handed to the captains of passing ships who paid for the onward postage upon reaching their first port of call.  Frequently such letters carried a hand-stamped cachet "Posted in [or at] Pitcairn Island / No Stamps Available".

Attempts were made by the British early in the twentieth century to organize a postal service through the British Consul in Tahiti but only small quantities of mail appear to have been carried.  Probably the most helpful measure was that introduced on a semi-official basis by Mr. Gerald Bliss, postmaster in the Panama Canal Zone, shortly after the canal opened in 1915.  Mr. Bliss acted as unofficial agent for the inhabitants of Pitcairn for a number of years and his office became a clearing station for Pitcairn Island mail.

A number of visiting government administrators having pointed out over the years the disadvantages stemming from the lack of a postal service, it was agreed by the British and New Zealand governments in 1921 that both countries would accept and deliver unstamped mail from Pitcairn.  The concession consisted of a waiving of the normal double surcharge on unstamped letters and reverting to the earlier postal system whereby the receiver paid for the mail.

In time, abuses of the system (passengers in passing ships were reputedly putting mail ashore for onward transmission under the "no stamp" system) led to New Zealand Post Office authorities withdrawing the concession in May 1926.  There followed a period of twelve months when Pitcairn was once again without an authorized postal service.

This unhappy state of affairs ended on 7 June 1927, when an agency was established on Pitcairn for the sale of New Zealand stamps.  Thus, until 14 October, mail dispatched from Pitcairn bore New Zealand postage stamps covered by cancellations reading "Pitcairn Island/NZ Postal Agency".

Largely as a result of recommendations made by Mr. J S Neill, a Colonial Office employee sent out in 1937 to report on and suggest improvements for the form of government on Pitcairn, official notice was given on 30 April 1940 of the establishment of a Post Office on the island.  In due course this led to the closing of the NZ Post Office Agency on 14 October 1940 and the opening the following day of the Pitcairn Islands Post Office with the release of the first Pitcairn Islands stamps.  This consisted of the eight designs making up the definitive issue that remained on sale until July 1957.

Designs for this set incorporate stamps on stamps.  One definitive stamp from each decade since 1940 has been selected to represent Settlement, Education, Communication, Royalty and Ships.


Scott: #452P

Issued: 17.5.1996

CHINA '96, 9th Asian Intl. Philatelic Exhibition

China PR #1900 for #452 Inside #452: People’s Republic of China #1900O

Jiazi Year (Year of the Rat)


Scott: #520aO

Issued: 22.5.2000

Stamp Show 2000 Exhibition

#1 LJ Inside #520a (In margin of sheet-logo): G.B #1O

Pitcairn Is

Scott: #790a-dO

Issued: 11.12.2014

75th Anniversary of the Adm. Byrd Visit to Pitcairn

pitcairn is 790a-b pitcairn is 790a-b  detail--byrd cover 

 Inside #790b: New Zealand #226P

Lou wrote: In 1939, the post office on Pitcairn was run by a New Zealand Postal Agency, and a limited supply of New Zealand stamps was kept on hand to cover the needs when a ship made a call on the island and took on mail.  When Byrd and his vessel stopped at the island to take on water supplies, the agency and some members of the ship's crew, with Byrd's approval, created a special printed cacheted envelope to note the visit. The hundreds of letters the crew mailed as souvenirs depleted the stock of stamps, so most of them went out without stamps but marked that postage had been paid. The cover on #790a-b is one of the few with stamps, and the strip of five are all New Zealand #226.

Thanks to Attilio Papio and Lou Guadagno

See also: http://www.stamps.gov.pn/ByrdExpeditionVisit.html

Scott: #798-807O

Issued: 15.10.2015

75th Anniversary of first Pitcairn Islands stamp

Inside #798-807: Pitcairn Islands #1O, #2O, #3O, #4O, #5O,

#5AO, #6O, #6AO, #7O, #8O

October 15 2015 is exactly 75 years since the Pitcairn Islands released its first issue of postage stamps. The journey to get to this stage was long and slow and began in 1887 when Pitcairn was formally incorporated into the Empire under the British Settlements Act. Officialdom refused to consider issuing stamps, even after a formal proposal from a Mr Petch in 1905 when his design was presented to the Colonial Office. Pitcairn mail did leave the Island, however, with the first known example being recorded in 1882 bearing a US stamp. Pitcairn was "recognised" in 1921 when covers being sent were impressed with a rubber handstamp inscribed: POSTED AT PITCAIRN ISLAND – NO STAMPS AVAILABLE. In 1927 a postal agency was established on Pitcairn by New Zealand authorities, after which NZ postage franked most of the mail that left the Island.

The recognition for who was responsible for the first stamps (eight definitives) is unknown. H.E.Maude, then Crown Commissioner for Pitcairn, spent time on Pitcairn in 1940 and took a keen interest in the situation and eventually set up the first Post Office. A.E.Fuller of the GPO in Fiji, where Pitcairn postal affairs were to be administered, was also involved. He in fact accompanied the first shipment of stamps to Pitcairn in September 1940.
Dr Arthur Delaney, from his article "Pitcairn’s First issue" (SPA Journal, Vol. 33, Nov. 1970), from whom most of the background is taken and gratefully acknowledged, writes that the inspiration for the first issuance of stamps must go to Karl Baarslag who visited Pitcairn in 1935 as a radio officer on the yacht Vagabondia. He discussed with Andrew Young (Pitcairn’s unofficial postmaster at the time) about Pitcairn possibly having its own stamps. The Commissioner had turned down several petitions from the Island but Baarslag gave details of a similar example for the island of Barbuda in the West Indies. Young and the Chief Magistrate, Parkin Christian, then planned their strategy and Pitcairn had its own stamps five years later.

The designs for the first issue also had a difficult journey. A number of essays were submitted to the King for approval but several were sent back for revision or rejected outright, including an image of Fletcher Christian superimposed on a view of Bounty Bay. (Christian did make it however on the 1d, 1/- and 2/6 stamps). These original designs are now housed in the Royal Collection at Buckingham Palace. The intent of the originators of Pitcairn’s first stamps was to show the Bounty saga, although the link of the oranges shown in the ½ stamp is somewhat dubious. All stamps incorporated the Bertram Park portrait of King George VI as an inset. Other design points to note are the inclusion of Christian and five mutineers (1d and 2/6 stamps) from the print "The Mutiny on the Bounty" by Robert Dodd (1790), now in the collection of William Dixon, NSW, Australia; the portrait of Fletcher Christian (1/- stamp) (artist unknown) also in the Dixon Collection; Bounty Bay (2/6 stamp) taken from the book "Pitcairn: The Island, the People, and the Pastor" by the Rev. Thomas Murray (1855); John Adams (1½d stamp) from the drawing by Capt. R. Beechey(1825). The engraving was by H. Adlard who also engraved the image of John Adams’ house shown in the 1½d stamp. Bligh’s image in the 2d stamp is from a sketch by J. Russell and engraved by Adlard and the Bounty was adapted from a still from the first motion picture in 1935. The printing of the first definitive is also interesting. The 1d, 3d and 2/6 stamps were printed by Bradbury, Wilkinson and Co. Ltd. of London and were slightly smaller than the remaining values which were printed by Waterlow and Sons Ltd. of New Malden. The entire series was recess engraved and printed on paper watermarked with the multiple crown and script "C.A." of Crown Agents.
A new Post Office was constructed and the first definitives went on sale on October 15 1940 and were withdrawn on July 1 1957.Eight reprintings were made during this time. Sales were staggering - Maude and his wife stamped covers for 16 days although the date stamp remained firmly on 15 Oct. 1940! After this it was destroyed to stop entrepreneurial Islanders from profiting into the future.
In 1951 the original eight definitive stamps were joined by two additional stamps featuring the original Bounty Bible (4d stamp) and the Schoolhouse, as seen in 1949 on the 8d stamp. Both stamps were designed to fit into the definitive family look with the King’s head inset as for the original designs. The Pitcairn Islands Philatelic Bureau has added the two 1951 stamps to this issue giving the 2015 definitives a total of ten stamps. This is to ensure most make up rates are covered (the 2007 definitives featured 12 stamps) and to treat the 2015 release as a commemoration of the "early" definitives in addition to the "first" definitives.

2015 Definitives FDCs

The First Day Covers show early photographs of the Post Office and staff, including Roy Clark. What is also interesting on these covers are the two cachets shown. While the first likely cachet was of the schooner Yankee, skippered by Captain Irving Johnson and used by the Islanders who produced "home-made" covers featuring the new definitive, the first cachets specifically prepared are known in philately as Types 12 and 13. The designer of Type 12 is unknown and all the text is with the type in blue. Type 13 is thought to have been designed by R.H. Mower of San Francisco, California. His cachet refers to Pitcairn as the Gem of the South Pacific.
The Philatelic Bureau is proud to both commemorate the 75th Anniversary of Pitcairn’s first stamp issue and brings you the amended original designs that are fitting for such an important occasion.

Thanks to mike Knopfler

Best website related:

Pitcairn Island Philatelic Bureau




Wish List

Pitcairn Islands #1, #2, #3, #4,

#5, #5A, #6, #6A,

#7, #8


Pitcairn Islands #31

Pitcairn Is #71 for Philippines


Pitcairn Island #108

[Local Motives, type HE]

Pitcairn Is #171A


Pitcairn Island #172



Pitcairn Island #221-224


Pitcairn Island #300

Pitcairn Islands #321 for #394a

Pitcairn Island #321d for Isle of Man, Norfolk Island


Pitcairn Island #322, #322a, #322b, #322c


Pitcairn Is. #520a

chad ss 4v-4-- sos pitcairn is 705d  2010

Pitcairn Is. #705d for Chad, Togo

Pitcairn Is

Pitcairn Is. #790a-d

Scott: #798-807O