Postage stamps and postal history of Tuvalu

A 1976 specimen stamp of the Gilbert & Ellice Islands overprinted for use in Tuvalu.

This is a survey of the postage stamps and postal history of Tuvalu.

Tuvalu is a Polynesian island nation located in the Pacific Ocean, midway between Hawaii and Australia. Its nearest neighbours are Kiribati, Nauru, Samoa and Fiji. It comprises four reef islands and five true atolls. Its population of 10,472 makes it the third-least populous sovereign state in the world. In terms of physical land size, at just 26 square kilometres (10 sq mi) Tuvalu is the fourth smallest country in the world.

Tuvalu was formerly the Ellice Islands, part of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands which split into Kiribati and Tuvalu upon gaining independence from the United Kingdom in 1978 and 1979.[1]

The Tuvalu Philatelic Bureau is the government body in Tuvalu that issues new stamps and first day covers, which are purchased by stamp collectors around the world. The Tuvalu Philatelic Bureau is located in Funafuti. The first stamps of Tuvalu were overprinted stamps of the Gilbert & Ellice Islands issued on 1 January 1976.[2]


The Tuvalu Philatelic Bureau was established on 1 January 1976, which was the day the Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony was dissolved and Tuvalu was established with separate British dependency status. The first postage stamp cancellation devices were put into use the same day.[3] The first issue was a set of provisional overprinted definitive stamps and a commemorative set of three stamps.[4][5] Tuvalu became fully independent within the Commonwealth on 1 October 1978.

In the late 1980s, Tuvalu became involved in a court case with Clive Feigenbaum, who was the Chairman of the Philatelic Distribution Corporation (P.D.C.). The legal case made claims in relation to a contract with the government of Tuvalu relating to allegations as to the deliberate production of stamps with errors for sale to collectors at inflated prices. According to the New York Times, "P.D.C. produced 14,000 deliberate errors: stamps with inverted centers, missing elements or perforation varieties, which it sold for inflated prices".[6][7]

The philatelic business activities of the Tuvalu Philatelic Bureau are authorised by the Tuvalu Philatelic Bureau Ordinance (1982). Karl Tili was the first Tuvaluan appointed to the post of general manager of the Tuvalu Philatelic Bureau and was the general manager from 1989 to 31 December 2011.[8] The Government of Tuvalu are proposing to merge the Tuvalu Philatelic Bureau with the Tuvalu Post Office.[9] The Tuvaluan post office is regulated by the Tuvalu Post Office Act 1977.

Tuvalu Philatelic Bureau Newsletter

The first newsletter was published in March 1976, under the name News and Views. In 1999 the name was changed to the Tuvalu Philatelic Bureau Newsletter.[10] The Tuvalu Philatelic Bureau Newsletter is published 3 to 4 times a year and provides information about new stamps issues and articles about Tuvalu.[5]

See also


  1. Lifsey, Jeremy (29 August 2013). "The Lost Islands of Oceania". Philatelic Database. Retrieved 9 January 2014.
  2. "Tuvalu Overprints: 1976". Retrieved 9 January 2014.
  3. "Postal History of Tuvalu". Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  4. Sam Ereckson (1998). Perforated Power: A History of the Tuvalu Philatelic Bureau. Dissertation (MA-History) University of Auckland.
  5. 1 2 "Stamps of Tuvalu". Tuvalu Philatelic Bureau. 21 December 2011. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  6. Healey, Barth (1989-08-27). "Stamps". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-02-26. Archived here.
  7. Cannon, Brian. "Tuvalu and the leaders of the world - A philatelic scandal". Tuvalu stamps. Retrieved 2010-02-26. Archived here.
  8. "Tuvalu Philatelic Bureau Newsletter (TPB: 03/2011)". Karl Tili, General Manager of Tuvalu Philatelic Bureau, retires from service. 21 December 2011. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  9. "Tuvalu Philatelic Bureau Newsletter (TPB: 01/2013)". 6 February 2013. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  10. "Tuvalu Philatelic Bureau Newsletters".

External links

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