Issue Dates: 1940-1977
Scott Catalogue Value: $390.00
Mystic Price: $295.00
You Save: $95.00
Pitcarin Islands collection contains 110 stamps and 10 album pages. The collection features mostly mint stamps with some also never-hinged. Many of the nicely designed stamps picture Fletcher Christian and the crew of the Bounty, the mutineers who settled the islands and are also the ancestors of most of the current residents. Begins with mint #1-8 (catalogue value over $62). Also includes #11-12 and #20-30 (combined value $137.55).
Although the Pitcairn Islands had been inhabited in prehistoric times, probably by Polynesian settlers, they were deserted in 1767. That year, English navigator Philip Carteret led a voyage through the South Pacific. He and his crew became the first Europeans to the see the islands. In fact, Carteret named them after the first man in his crew to spot them, Robert Pitcairn.
In 1789, mutineers led by Fletcher Christian took control of the Bounty, a British ship under the command of Captain William Bligh. Bligh and 18 members of the crew who did not participate in the mutiny were cast adrift in a small boat. In 1790, nine mutineers and 19 Polynesians – six men, 12 women, and a young girl – settled Pitcairn Island. In 1808, an American ship discovered this settlement. Only one of the mutineers, John Adams, was still alive. It seems the men had come into conflict over the shortage of women. However, the mutineers had left 25 children. This story has been the basis of several popular books and movies.
Located about 5,000 miles east of Australia, the Pitcairn Islands lie just south of the Tropic of Cancer. Pitcairn Island is the only island of the group suitable for settlement. The others are: Ducie, Henderson, and Oeno. Pitcairn has a land area of about two square miles. The land rises sharply from the sea to an elevation of 820 feet. Despite the rugged terrain, there is a great deal of fertile soil. Mild in climate, average temperatures range from 75 degrees Fahrenheit in February to 66 degrees in August, with about 80 inches of precipitation per year.
A British dependency, Pitcairn is governed by the British high commissioner to New Zealand. A council of the island’s inhabitants control local affairs. About 50 people make their home on the island – most of these are descendants of the mutineers from the Bounty and their Polynesian wives. Adamstown is the only settlement. Most people farm or fish for a living. Main crops include bananas, citrus fruits, coconuts, pumpkins, taro, watermelons, and yams.
Tourism is also a source of revenue. Wooden figures are hand-carved for sale to visitors. However, the government gets most of its funding from selling Pitcairn Islands postage stamps to collectors.