Tonga 1920-35 set of 9 to 1s, overprint (2d type D9, 2½d bicolour to 1s type D12) or perforations (½d and 2½d ultramarine type D19, 1½d type D20) "SPECIMEN" for Universal Postal Union (UPU) distribution, SG55s/63s.
A fine quality mint set with large part original gum to full original gum, benefiting particularly from very fresh colours. As to be expected there are a few minor blemishes (the 2½d ultramarine with a few short perforations and minor gum wrinkles). However, it remains a fine quality and attractive set.
This set is scarce in complete form as a result of distribution being in four parts over the 15 year period, and of special philatelic interest for the four different types of "protection" employed, the type D9 overprint otherwise used only for the 1919 Jamaica 1½d.
The engraved stamps issued between 1920-35 depicted Queen Salote III who reigned between 1918-1965. She was the only child and heir of King George Tupou II.
She is remembered fondly in Great Britain mainly because she attended the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. When it started raining, hoods were placed over the carriages during the procession. However, Queen Salote refused the hood, as Tongan custom does not allow one to imitate the actions of the person one is honouring.
The Stanley Gibbons catalogue value is £275.
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