Help with these modern Cook Islands Fish overprints please?

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Help with these modern Cook Islands Fish overprints please?

Post by Dorian »

Can anyone shed any light on these for me?

I have the most recent SG catalogue but can't find them at all. Thanks!

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Re: Help with these modern Cook Islands ovpts please

Post by stampchris »

I don't collect Cook Islands, but given what has happened in Tonga and Fiji (and a lesser extent Vanuatu and PNG), it wouldn't surprise me if these are local overprints which the post office has produced but not made available to the philatelic market.

I would contact Steven Zirinsky (http://zirinskystamps.com/) He is a member of Stampboards, so suggest he takes a look at your posting.
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Re: Help with these modern Cook Islands ovpts please

Post by Steven Zirinsky »

stampchris wrote:I don't collect Cook Islands, but given what has happened in Tonga and Fiji (and a lesser extent Vanuatu and PNG), it wouldn't surprise me if these are local overprints which the post office has produced but not made available to the philatelic market.

I would contact Steven Zirinsky (http://zirinskystamps.com/) He is a member of Stampboards, so suggest he takes a look at your posting.
Gents-
I just saw this thread...the stamps look familar to me...and they were locally used as I believe I have local usages. Are they in a catalogue? that I will have to check.

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Info sought on Cook Is 1994 Fish 15c overprinted with 10c?

Post by sattvfan »

Image

I have just received this pair revalued stamps and I either need to buy a new pair of glasses or they are not in the catalogs I have .

Can anyone offer some more information

Mariano
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Re: Cook Is 1994 Fish 15 cts revalued to 10 cts

Post by Kennethsequeira »

Check Scott 1994 #1158 under Living Reef Type of 1992 Buff & Multicoloured
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Re: Cook Is 1994 Fish 15 cts revalued to 10 cts

Post by sattvfan »

Yes,this is the original stamp,but what number is the revalued one?
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Re: Cook Is 1994 Fish 15 cts revalued to 10 cts

Post by Kennethsequeira »

sattvfan wrote:Yes,this is the original stamp,but what number is the revalued one?
Mariano
I am referring to Scott 2013 Catalogue, original stamp is in 1992 not 1994

1992 15c is #1062 & 1994 is # 1158
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Re: Cook Is 1994 Fish 15 cts revalued to 10 cts

Post by Mitgar62 »

Kennethsequeira wrote:
sattvfan wrote:Yes,this is the original stamp,but what number is the revalued one?
Mariano
I am referring to Scott 2013 Catalogue, original stamp is in 1992 not 1994

1992 15c is #1062 & 1994 is # 1158
The base stamp is 1158, but this is a later overprint of it. I don't see it in my 2011 Scott. Can you tease out the cancel date?
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Re: Cook Is 1994 Fish 15 cts revalued to 10 cts

Post by sattvfan »

Original series are 1992,but low vals were reprinted in 1994 with different border colours and those stamps are from this second print.
the postmarks are so light you cannot read anything.
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Re: Cook Is 1994 Fish 15 cts revalued to 10 cts

Post by Kennethsequeira »

SG 2014 -

1992 # 1263 Reef Life (1st series). Multicoloured with white borders
1994 # 1344 Reef Life (2nd series) each 40x30 mm and with brown borders.
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Re: Cook Is 1994 Fish 15 cts revalued to 10 cts

Post by Mitgar62 »

Kennethsequeira wrote:SG 2014 -

1992 # 1263 Reef Life (1st series). Multicoloured with white borders
1994 # 1344 Reef Life (2nd series) each 40x30 mm and with brown borders.
Does SG list the 10c on 15c overprint?
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Re: Cook Is 1994 Fish 15 cts revalued to 10 cts

Post by Kennethsequeira »

Mitgar62 wrote:
Kennethsequeira wrote:SG 2014 -

1992 # 1263 Reef Life (1st series). Multicoloured with white borders
1994 # 1344 Reef Life (2nd series) each 40x30 mm and with brown borders.
Does SG list the 10c on 15c overprint?
SG lists Overprint is O.H.M.S. - 1995 # O95 on the 15c Bicolored Angelfish
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Re: Cook Is 1994 Fish 15 cts revalued to 10 cts

Post by Ubobo.R.O. »

Not listed in my Gibbons SOTW 2014 so you ask a very good question.
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Re: Cook Is 1994 Fish 15 cts revalued to 10 cts

Post by HalfpennyYellow »

It's not listed on Stampworld either.
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Re: Info sought on Cook Is 1994 Fish 15c overprinted with 10

Post by Dorian »

I've been looking for these in a catalogue for years!
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Re: Help with these modern Cook Islands Fish overprints plea

Post by MJ's pet »

Image
7 years on and still no information about these overprints.

Other members are probably correct in guessing that these are some kind of local 1990s overprint a la PNG, which did not go to the Cook Islands philatelic bureau.

Often in these situations, one should go straight to the horse's mouth. I'd suggest that you write to the Philatelic Collector Inc., the official Philatelic Bureau of the Cook Islands, and enclose your scan and ask for any information. They may know someone in the Cook Islands Post Office with information or a recollection. Link to their web address is here (under the "Contact" tab): https://pcistamps.com/

Their website shows past issues (completeness?) and from scanning through those from the 1990s and 2000s, I can't see them there (the under "Shop" tab).

Pertinent is that the 6 Butterfly definitives were surcharged in 2003 (the lowest value opt. was 20c). Perhaps the Fish were overprinted at an earlier time.
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Re: Help with these modern Cook Islands Fish overprints plea

Post by Global Admin »

MJ's pet wrote:They may know someone in the Cook Islands Post Office with information or a recollection. Link to their web address is here (under the "Contact" tab): https://pcistamps.com/
Not sure if any PO records are really kept there?

We were in Rarotonga and Aitutaki recently and went looking for the "GPO" to mail a few postcards.
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Re: Help with these modern Cook Islands Fish overprints plea

Post by warm »

Wow Glen
Looking forward to my postcard arriving.
Guess it has been isolated
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Re: Help with these modern Cook Islands Fish overprints plea

Post by Global Admin »

warm wrote:Wow Glen
Looking forward to my postcard arriving.
Guess it has been isolated
Ta
Tony
Ha!

Well as you can see from address fragments showing, yours was number #2 in this pile.

Maybe it went Turtle Post? :lol: :lol:
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Anyone know about 1994 Cook Is 10c on 15c surcharge?

Post by fchd »

.

Linn's Stamp News are asking if anyone knows any more about this surcharge on the 15c Cook Islands stamp from 1994?

Cook Islands Surcharge.jpg

https://www.linns.com/news/world-stamps-postal-history/cook- ... ntentlinks

"The Cook Islands 10¢-on-15¢ Black and Gold Angelfish surcharged stamp is not listed in the Scott catalog. The stamp poses more questions than answers about its existence.

By Martin J. Frankevicz

One of the more interesting aspects of handling the new stamp issues for the Scott catalog is the occasional research project that comes out of the blue.

In 2016 a collector from Washington, after a thorough search of the Cook Islands listings, sent a letter inquiring if an example of Cook Islands Scott 1158, a 15¢ stamp from 1994 depicting the black and gold angelfish, had been listed with the stamp bearing a 10¢ surcharge.

The collector graciously allowed us to keep the off-cover stamp that is pictured here. It has an indistinct cancel, a bent upper-right corner and damage to the back of the stamp. The collector told us he had a better example saved for his collection.

In the Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue listings for the 1994 Cook Islands Living Reef set with buff border (Scott 1154-1176), I saw no footnote directing the user to any later surcharges.

Knowing that sometimes a “see also” note may not have been included, I searched through the subsequent Cook Islands listings and could not find such an item.

The distribution of new stamps does not always run like clockwork, and there is always a possibility that a collector has found a stamp that somehow fell through the cracks and was never sent to us. This happens far more frequently than one might think.

Because the surcharged stamp lacked a distinct dated cancel, about the only thing I could say about it was that it was produced some time after 1994, when Scott 1158 was issued.

When I encounter a stamp that does not indicate when it was produced, I consult other stamp catalogs of the world. I went to our library and pulled out the British Stanley Gibbons catalog that had Cook Islands listings. They list the basic 15¢ stamp from 1994, just as we do. The Gibbons catalog lacks any footnote that points to subsequent surcharges, but a search through their later listings showed that they had not listed this surcharged stamp either.

The 15¢ stamp was also listed in the German Michel catalog, but no 10¢-on-15¢ surcharged stamp.

I searched through the French Yvert and Tellier catalog and came up with the same result.

The consistent results from these searches through various catalogs led me to dig deeper for more information.

I asked Chris Lazar of Philatelic Collector Inc., the sales agent for Cook Islands, if he knew anything about this stamp. He said that he had not sold it during his years acting as the Cook Islands agent. Lazar went the extra mile to determine if the stamp was created by Cook Islands and sold by the previous agent, Finbarr Kenny. But after searching through the records he received from Kenny’s firm after taking over as agent, Lazar found no records that would indicate that the stamp was printed.

Lazar also stated that there no longer was anyone still working for the Cook Islands Philatelic Bureau who had worked there during the time Kenny was agent.

He also inquired with the Cook Islands postmaster about the stamp, but the postmaster knew nothing about it.

I also made a direct inquiry about the stamp with the Cook Islands postal officials and received a response that confirmed what Lazar said.

Lazar understood our reluctance to list in the Scott catalog a stamp that had no record of being printed or offered to collectors, no status in any catalog and was not shown to us affixed to a cover.

If we had seen the stamp on a commercial cover we probably would have no qualms about listing it, despite its lack of a listing in any other catalog. However, commercial covers franked with modern stamps of the Cook Islands are seldom seen.

I did not think much about this stamp after we got the information from Lazar. I wrote the Washington collector who sent us the stamp to let him know about what we found out. I tossed the letter in my mail basket, still hoping that one day we might come up with more information about it.

That letter sat in the basket for a few years until a few weeks ago, when I packed up everything on my desk for the move to our new location. I tossed that basket on my file cabinet in our new office space, pawed through the basket again on Sept. 15, and saw that letter.

With a synchronicity that I find a bit weird and spooky (because such things have happened to me here on a number of occasions), the very next day I received an e-mail from an American collector who is currently working in Africa. He sent a scan of items he had received in kiloware. Naturally, there were about a dozen African stamps, but on that scan is one stamp not from Africa.

It is yet another example of this same Cook Island surcharge, again off cover with an indistinct cancel.

What makes this so bizarre is that we rarely see any examples of any used modern Cook Islands stamps. Cook Islands has a population under 18,000, and the residents of Aitutaki and Penrhyn have stamps of their own to use.

With such a small population, the Cook Islands does not strike me as a country that is generating a whole lot of mail. One would think that a Cook Islands cover would be scarce enough, and that a stamp on cover would be worth more than one off cover.

One would also think that genuine used Cook Island stamps would not be the kind of stamps one ought to encounter in kiloware. Yet I know of three examples with cancels of this one surcharge — having a low face value, to boot — a stamp that has not been listed by any catalog.

I have not seen an unused example of this stamp, or one used on cover. All of this just flies in the face of whatever logic there ought to be in the philatelic universe.

So, if anyone can show us this stamp on a commercial cover, we would love to see it."
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Re: Anyone know anything about Cook Is 10c on 15c Angelfish surcharge?

Post by HalfpennyYellow »

There's also a 20c on 25c overprint similar to this one, and it is also apparently unlisted.

This image was posted on Stampboards by member Dorian in 2013, and nobody seems to know anything about the overprints:

Image

https://stampboards.com/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=44374
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Re: Anyone know anything about Cook Is 10c on 15c Angelfish surcharge?

Post by David Smitham »

A New York based trade colleague advises that these were issued around 2002 and that he has some of them used on cover. As/when more information is provided I will post it here.

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Re: Anyone know anything about Cook Is 10c on 15c Angelfish surcharge?

Post by BigSaint »

Surely it is incorrect to refer to these 15c stamps overprinted as 10c & the 25c stamps overprinted as 20c as surcharges.

A surcharge is an extra fee, charge, or tax that is added on to the cost of a good or service, the above are price reductions.

This is a surcharged stamp:

KGVI 3½d surcharge for war tax. Original value 3d.
KGVI 3½d surcharge for war tax. Original value 3d.

:)
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Re: Anyone know anything about Cook Is 10c on 15c Angelfish surcharge?

Post by satsuma »

Wiktionary defines a philatelic surcharge as an overprint which alters (usually raises) the nominal value of a stamp .... etc

Would you rather subcharge or discharge?
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Re: Anyone know anything about Cook Is 10c on 15c Angelfish surcharge?

Post by iaincraven »

Surely it is incorrect to refer to these 15c stamps overprinted as 10c & the 25c stamps overprinted as 20c as surcharges.
Do you have a new term in mind? If we all agree on this thread, then we can let philately know we've changed their established terminology. I'll let Gibbons know so they can start the process of catalogue revisions, you can let exhibitors know and maybe Glen can take on the task of letting all the eBay sellers know? :lol:

My vote is for Discharges :lol:

But on a more serious note, those are very interesting. I've got a small collection of the >2006 Fiji provisional surcharges (and discharges) which I need to sort through at some point. I do wonder if somewhere amongst these type of items are the modern super-rarities.
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Re: Anyone know anything about Cook Is 10c on 15c Angelfish surcharge?

Post by The Pom »

BigSaint wrote: 16 Oct 2020 08:24 Surely it is incorrect to refer to these 15c stamps overprinted as 10c & the 25c stamps overprinted as 20c as surcharges.

A surcharge is an extra fee, charge, or tax that is added on to the cost of a good or service, the above are price reductions.

:)
Correct, but we are falling into the trap of applying dictionary definition to philatelic common usage.

In general life, a surcharge is, as you say, and extra charge on top of a base cost.

In philatelic terminology, a surcharge is "When an overprint has been used to alter or change a stamp's established face value" (Warwick & Warwick website) or "An overprint that changes or restates the denomination of a stamp or postal stationery item" (Linn's website), or "An overprint which specifically changes a stamp’s face value." (Gibbons website), to pick 3 examples at random.

Yes, most stamp surcharges reflect increases in postal rates, but not all.
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Re: Anyone know anything about Cook Is 10c on 15c Angelfish surcharge?

Post by The Pom »

Looks like I got beaten to it in falling for the bait.

I suggest hypocharge as the new term.
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Re: Anyone know anything about Cook Is 10c on 15c Angelfish surcharge?

Post by Ubobo.R.O. »

Re-valued ?
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Re: Anyone know anything about Cook Is 10c on 15c Angelfish surcharge?

Post by Allanswood »

Overprint... plain, simple and obvious.

15c overprinted 10c.
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Re: Anyone know anything about Cook Is 10c on 15c Angelfish surcharge?

Post by satsuma »

The thing is that overprint is not exclusive to changes in value.

That's probably why surcharge, which has a more narrow definition, came into use.
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Re: Anyone about 1994 Cook Is 10c on 15c surcharge?

Post by Global Admin »

Linns wrote:

What makes this so bizarre is that we rarely see any examples of any used modern Cook Islands stamps. Cook Islands has a population under 18,000, and the residents of Aitutaki and Penrhyn have stamps of their own to use.

With such a small population, the Cook Islands does not strike me as a country that is generating a whole lot of mail. One would think that a Cook Islands cover would be scarce enough, and that a stamp on cover would be worth more than one off cover.

We were in Rarotonga and Aitutaki this time last year, and went looking for the "GPO" in the Cook Islands.

These days it is a Satellite Telco called BLUESKY, down some back street, with a huge satellite dish out front, selling mobile phones top-ups and internet plans etc .. nothing at all looking like a normal PO.

There were PO boxes out front and that is how folks get mail there. The entire island of Rarotonga we drove around a few times - takes 20-30 minutes. No-one there is too far from this "PO".

The "Post Office" side of it is a little desk no-one was at. Asked if I could cancel a few postcards (that I'd bought stamps for already at a gift store, along with the postcards) and they handed me the cancel which was days out of synch - no one had used it for ages. :lol:

NZ$1 postage GLOBAL. Note my re-applied slight pen "cancel" I always employ on each stamp where overseas, in countries with low paid staff, to deter folks working in POs peeling off stamps from postcards to re-use and re-sell! That happens a LOT.

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Image

Image

Image

(Member Kevin Hedley scanned and posted his card, with ozzie Dog machine cancel over the top of stamp sadly!)

Image


We took the expensive flight over to Aitutaki and it is claimed to be the most scenically beautiful lagoon is the world, and certainly would be hard to beat.

There is a tiny palm tree island called One Foot Island with no inhabitants, that has a footprint pictorial cancel (see below) that I'd seen, the guy in the tiny bar uses - mainly to stamp tourist passports. Took my postcards there by boat, but barman guy had just sold out of stamps! Bummer. Maybe $1.20 is the rate from there - no idea. On the tiny island could find no-one selling AITUTAKI stamps. Had been hit recently by a large Cyclone, so lots of places were closed/damaged. Found this image below on the web of that cancel -

Image

Image

Image
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Re: Anyone know about 1994 Cook Is 10c on 15c surcharge?

Post by Steven Zirinsky »

These stamps were issued by the Cook Island Post Office in about 2003....under used values were reprinted with more used rates.

All done locally.

I have an email from a couple of years ago from the manager of the Cook Island Post that confirms this.

I have maybe a dozen covers utilizing these two stamps.

Now if I can remember how to upload images......I will stick them on here.

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Re: Anyone know about 1994 Cook Is 10c on 15c surcharge?

Post by Global Admin »

Steven Zirinsky wrote: 16 Oct 2020 13:21
I have maybe a dozen covers utilizing these two stamps.

Now if I can remember how to upload images......I will stick them on here.


Steve ... a real cinch these days --- you can do it right from your computer or device!


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Re: Anyone know about 1994 Cook Is 10c on 15c surcharge?

Post by Steven Zirinsky »

.
Ah, much easier to load images now!

I believe the first date of use was 2003, though a little more work needs to be done here.....dont let the late date of 2013 fool you.

I have gone through some 2400 local covers from the last 20 years and found these a couple of years ago for the PISC.....these were in two boxes but there are still a few envelopes in a few more places to look.

Steve Z



1.jpg
local overprints 02a.jpg
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Re: Anyone know about 1994 Cook Is 10c on 15c surcharge?

Post by kuikka »

.
This is only speculation, so, do not take it as a confirmed fact.

We have 2 examples of stamps that have been downrated to the closest full 10 cents. If the postage rates have been changed to be always multiples of full 10 cent, they might have overprinted existing stock to allow them to be used.

Downrating the value reduces the risk of fraudulent overprints for the damage of postal service as that will not benefit the criminals.
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Re: Anyone know about 1994 Cook Is 10c on 15c surcharge?

Post by BigSaint »

Dan 'The Man' Andrews, Premier of Victoria, said something today when being questioned by Peta Credlin, who is one these reporters, who twists the same question around & asks it six times in the hope that she will receive the answer she wants.

Dan said "I have to correct you on that & I will correct you on that every time because I didn't say that. If I don't correct you on that then people will believe I said something I didn't say".

So a long time ago someone overprinted a stamp with an increased value to buy a new tiara for the Queen & it was called a surcharge by the chief philatelic officer of the time. Some time later they found the Queen's new tiara didn't cost as much so they discounted the value of the stamp & overprinted it with a lesser value. However the chief philatelic officer of the time was older now & going a little senile, so he still referred to it as a surcharge even though it was a discount.

Although the chief philatelic officer was a little senile, & incorrect, he was still highly respected & because he said it was a surcharge everyone in philately continued to call it a surcharge, when it was clearly a discount.

Now that chief philatelic office is long gone, so there is no need to continue to call the overprinted stamp a surcharge when it is not, so why not break with this erroneous tradition & stop calling a price reduction a surcharge.

Let us call it a discount instead. :D
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Re: Anyone know about 1994 Cook Is 10c on 15c surcharge?

Post by BigSaint »

Rotated & resized for better viewing:

Cook Island 1.jpg

Cook Islands 2.jpg

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Re: Anyone know about 1994 Cook Is 10c on 15c surcharge?

Post by norvic »

BigSaint wrote: 16 Oct 2020 21:53Now that chief philatelic office is long gone, so there is no need to continue to call the overprinted stamp a surcharge when it is not, so why not break with this erroneous tradition & stop calling a price reduction a surcharge.

Let us call it a discount instead. :D
At the risk of flogging a horse that has already been carted out of the stable and been burned....

A discount is a reduction in the stated price. So if the stamp still displayed the value 15c but it was sold for 10c, yo would be getting a discount. But you're not. The stamp value has been changed to 10c.
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Re: Anyone know about 1994 Cook Is 10c on 15c surcharge?

Post by BigSaint »

Ian

I am sorry but I cannot agree with you there.

The stamp was originally priced at 15c, a price at which it was unable to be sold.

The price was altered, the same as is done in any retail store, to 10c & sold at that price. That is a 33.333% discount in my books from the originally quoted price of 15c.

:)
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Re: Anyone know about 1994 Cook Is 10c on 15c surcharge?

Post by The Pom »

BigSaint wrote: 17 Oct 2020 00:21
The stamp was originally priced at 15c, a price at which it was unable to be sold.
Are you genuinely suggesting that this was a decision where someone said "These 15c stamps aren't selling. We need to shift stock, let's mark them down to 10c, that should get them moving"?

Maybe everyone in Australia should stop buying $1.10 stamps for a while to see if Australia Post marks them down to 75c........

You should also remember that, in practical terms, you aren't buying the stamp, you're buying the service and the stamp is simply a proof of purchase.
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Re: Anyone know about 1994 Cook Is 10c on 15c surcharge?

Post by Global Admin »

.
PNG did this at around the same time. I reported these to the global stamp world.

The Einsteins among us will notice many are DOWNGRADED in face value. :lol: :lol: :lol:

I sell them for $300 a set.

Fascinating backstory as to WHY it occurred -

https://www.glenstephens.com/overprints.html

PNG 1990s Emergency Stamp Overprints set 20
PNG 1990s Emergency Stamp Overprints set 20
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Re: Anyone know about 1994 Cook Is 10c on 15c surcharge?

Post by BigSaint »

Chris The Pom

Remember the "Emergency Printing of 30c Counter Printed Stamps in Adelaide":

https://www.stampboards.com/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=68176

Image

Strange things happen when there are rate changes & stamps are needed in hurry for make up rates.

Small island nations can't afford to waste money on new issues when rate changes make certain values unusable.

Much cheaper to overprint & use these stamps that would otherwise take up space in storage or end up being burnt. :)
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Re: Anyone know about 1994 Cook Is 10c on 15c surcharge?

Post by Allanswood »

I would have thought it more likely that rather than a rate change, the locals were running out of the more commonly used 10c and 20c stamps and had the 15c and 25c overprinted to use them up (if they had plenty).

Although it's funny to see that they used 3 x 15c stamps that now totalled 30c when 2 non-overprinted would have done!

Countries running out of stamps has happened since the 1800's and overprinting them happened a few times when new stocks were not available or delayed.
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Re: Help with these modern Cook Islands Fish overprints please?

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Re: Anyone know about 1994 Cook Is 10c on 15c surcharge?

Post by norvic »

BigSaint wrote: 17 Oct 2020 00:21 Ian

I am sorry but I cannot agree with you there.

The stamp was originally priced at 15c, a price at which it was unable to be sold.

The price was altered, the same as is done in any retail store, to 10c & sold at that price. That is a 33.333% discount in my books from the originally quoted price of 15c.

:)
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Re: Anyone know about 1994 Cook Is 10c on 15c surcharge?

Post by Global Admin »

BigSaint wrote: 17 Oct 2020 08:06
Strange things happen when there are rate changes & stamps are needed in hurry for make up rates.

Small island nations can't afford to waste money on new issues when rate changes make certain values unusable.

Much cheaper to overprint & use these stamps that would otherwise take up space in storage or end up being burnt. :)
.
Yes, as I outline on my article on the PNG 1990s Emergency Overprints -

https://www.glenstephens.com/overprints.html


These were purely and simply a panic EMERGENCY overprint done hastily at a local non-security general printer, as the Government refused to increase postage rates the PO had assumed was a done deal. The stamp issuing reputation of PNG had hitherto to this issue been one of THE most conservative in the Pacific.

It is obvious that these were not “created” for revenue raising purposes to extract bucks from collectors - quite the opposite. The highest overprinted value was K1, which was then worth about $US50¢!

Some have face values of a couple of pennies each. If there had been 20K “Air Express” versions, or 15K “Officials” or whatever, a lá Cook Islands, we would all have reason to be a lot more suspicious and cynical!

13 DIFFERENT LETTER RATE OVERPRINTS


It should firstly be understood that the reason for the great bulk of the overprinting was purely and simply to satisfy postal needs, due to increases in rates, and to a large extent, a genuine shortage of the 21t letter rate stamps. Of the 31 different stamps referred to above, no less than 13 are stamps overprinted “21t” which until late 1995 was the domestic letter rate in Papua New Guinea.

The collector might ask why the stamps overprinted late 1994/early 1995 to make rates other than letter rate, are restricted to a small time frame, whereas the 21t overprints span 18 months. The reason for this can I think be attributed to one word ... POLITICS!

The PNG economy has been in a great deal of upheaval in the last ten years. The national currency, the Kina was for quite some years pegged very closely to K1=$US1, and in fact a Kina was frequently valued a little higher than one $US. History shows us that the Kina was officially devalued 12% on September 11th 1994, and was then “floated” on October 10th 1994. The result of these unexpected movements was dramatic, and the Kina lost some 25% of its value against the $Australian and other world currencies in a one month period.

This soon became an effective 40% devaluation against the $Australian. This naturally has had a devastating effect on the country, as PNG has a very non-industrial economy, with nearly all consumer goods, manufactured items and machinery, even much foodstuffs being fully imported.

Workers getting paid their normal wages in Kina found their new TV set, motor vehicle, Swiss watch, bottle of wine or spirits or even cans of imported baked beans or soup had risen some 40% very quickly and continued to increase for years. (As I update this story in latter 2004, the rate has sunk to well under HALF this level again, with 2.2 Kina needed to buy one $A1, and well over 3 Kina to one $US.)

With this economic background it is not hard to imagine there was no enthusiasm for the Government to approve a 20% increase in the sensitive domestic letter rate. I understand the PNG Post Office had for quite some time urged the Parliament that a rate rise was essential. The 21t rate was extremely cheap by the standards of any populous country and last increased (from 20t) late in 1990.

Especially cheap when one considers the vast area of PNG, (183,000 square miles) and more importantly, that there are generally NO traversable roads of any kind between most major centres, due to the wet, heavily mountainous terrain. There are no railroads either.

Mail within PNG largely moves by aircraft, and in a country with very little commercial competition on internal air travel, cost of moving even a domestic letter is many times greater than in countries with a wide choice of air carriers, road hauliers, and train/rail services. The mail volume in PNG is surprisingly high, as the population of PNG is on par with that of New Zealand.

In fact PNG has around one quarter the population of Australia. Added to this, for some reason, even way into 2004 as I update this there appear to be little if any office franking machines used in PNG, so mail, even from business houses is typically franked with stamps, not “meters”.

“JUST IN TIME”


Papua New Guinea was always very proud of its record of having low domestic mail rates. In fact, they frequently boasted of maintaining the “5 unit” domestic rate over the long period from 1959 to 1971, something no other country in the world had apparently been able to match. The Post Office had its urgent plan to increase the base letter rate from 21t to 25t put on “hold’ for quite some time.

My advice from a person in the Post Office was that the official approval “any minute now” actually dragged on for one year. I think this is why there were frequent shortages of 21t stamps. I understand usage of letter rate stamps was over one million a month. No Post Office that fully imports its stamps wants the huge expense of printing, storage and air freight for millions of obsolete rate stamps, so it appears a “Just In Time” philosophy prevailed.

Letter rate stamps would be overprinted for a month or two ahead, assuming the new rate would be Government approved before these were used up. When no approval had been obtained, some more stamps were overprinted, fingers were crossed, and the whole scenario repeated itself.

One needs to bear in mind that many months advance planning is required to design, amend artwork, check and approve proofs, and then print a new postage stamp. It is interesting to note that the June 1995 Mushroom/Fungi set of 4 was in planning from late 1994, and the lowest value of the set was a 25t stamp.

This set was issued in June, but as the postal rate did not finally receive approval until September 1995, there were 3 months where that stamp did not meet any existing postage rate!

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Re: Help with these modern Cook Islands Fish overprints please?

Post by towradji »

For those interested in anything to do with Cook Islands & Dependencies, I see Warwick & Warwick will offer the Snape collection on 3 May in Warwick in the UK

Charlie Snape was a quiet collector of Cook Is amassing nearly 100 volumes of material. Said to include early essays, die proofs, major varieties etc.

The collection is said to be the most comprehensive collection yet seen & includes rarities from other notable collections sold over many years and hidden away until after his death
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