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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Stamp Investment Tip: Tahiti 1882-1915 Issues

Tahiti was first visited by Europeans in 1767, who later colonized the island and imported the wondrous benefits of Western civilization, including typhus, influenza, smallpox, alcoholism, prostitution, and Christianity. This disrupted the society of the generally friendly and easy-going native population, over 80% of whom were wiped out.

The French annexed the island in 1843, and brutally crushed a rebellion by the ungrateful natives. In 1882, the French began issuing stamps for Tahiti, by overprinting their French Colonies General Issues. Thirty-one regular postage stamps, two semi-postals, and twenty six postage dues were issued, and all of Tahiti's stamps which catalog $50 or more had printings ranging from extremely low (less than 100) for the most expensive, to modest (low thousands) for the least. The printing quantities of many of these stamps are noted in the StampSelector Scarce Stamp Quantitites Issued List (under the France and Colonies category).

I recommend purchase of all stamps of Tahiti cataloging $250 or more. This includes many of the regular issues, the 1915 15c Blue Semi-postal (Scott #B1), and all of the Postage Due stamps. As fake overprints exist, these stamps should be purchased conditional on obtaining expertization. Though rather plain-looking, stamps of Tahiti  are eagerly sought after by collectors of French Colonies, French Polynesia, and the South Pacific area in general.

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