Tonga - Niuafo'ou 1983 Map set of 4 to 2p, type 3 surcharge on undenominated design, complete sheets of 20 (4x5) with decorative central vertical gutter, self-adhesive, SG19/22.
A fine unused compete sheet.
Scarce in this intact form.
The Stanley Gibbons catalogue value is £195+.
Niuafo'ou (meaning: many new coconuts), also known as Tin Can Island, is the most northerly island in the kingdom of Tonga. It is a volcanic rim island of 15 km² and with a population of 650.
The name Tin Can Island comes from the fact the island doesn't have a natural harbour and mail was delivered and picked up by strong swimmers who would retrieve packages, "sealed up in a biscuit tin" and thrown overboard from passing ships. Established in the nineteenth century, Tin Can Mail was developed by a trader named Walter George Quensell, who festooned the mail with many colourful cachets that have become a collectors' item. The Tongan government took over this tradition with special Niuafoʻou stamps. The first stamps of Niuafoou issued on May 11, 1983 show the map of the island and Niuafoou's airport opening.
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