Postage stamps from French Polynesia

Collecting postage stamps from French Polynesia offers a fascinating insight into the culture, history, and natural beauty of this overseas collectivity of France, located in the South Pacific Ocean. French Polynesia consists of 118 islands and atolls, including Tahiti, which is the most famous. Here is a guide to collecting postage stamps from French Polynesia:

### Key Periods and Notable Stamps

#### 1. **Early Issues (1892-1945)**
– **First Issues**:
– **Design**: Early stamps of French Polynesia, known as Oceania, featured the image of the allegorical figure of “Navigation” and were inscribed “Établissements de l’Océanie.”
– **Notable Stamps**: The 1892 series, which includes values from 1 centime to 1 franc.

– **Overprinted Issues**:
– **Design**: Overprints were applied to existing French colonial stamps.
– **Notable Stamps**: The 1913-1915 stamps overprinted with “TAHITI” in black or red.

#### 2. **Mid-Century Issues (1946-1970)**
– **Post-World War II**:
– **Design**: Stamps began to feature local landscapes, culture, and significant events.
– **Notable Stamps**: The 1946 Liberation issue commemorating the end of World War II, and the 1958 definitive series featuring various island scenes and local activities.

– **Tourism and Development**:
– **Design**: Emphasis on promoting the islands’ natural beauty and tourism.
– **Notable Stamps**: The 1960s issues showcasing traditional Polynesian life, flora and fauna, and scenic views.

#### 3. **Modern Issues (1971-Present)**
– **Independence and Culture**:
– **Design**: Modern stamps often celebrate the rich cultural heritage, historical milestones, and environmental themes.
– **Notable Stamps**: The 1971 series celebrating Polynesian culture and the 1980s series focusing on marine life.

– **Commemorative and Special Issues**:
– **Design**: Stamps commemorating significant anniversaries, events, and notable personalities.
– **Notable Stamps**: The 1992 series commemorating the 100th anniversary of the first stamps of French Polynesia, and various issues in the 2000s highlighting environmental conservation efforts.

### Collecting Focus Areas

#### **Thematic Collections**
1. **Marine Life**:
– French Polynesia is renowned for its vibrant marine biodiversity. Collecting stamps featuring marine life can highlight this natural wealth.
– **Notable Series**: The 1980s and 1990s issues featuring fish, corals, and other sea creatures.

2. **Cultural Heritage**:
– Stamps depicting traditional Polynesian culture, dances, crafts, and festivals offer a glimpse into the rich cultural traditions of the islands.
– **Notable Series**: The 1971 cultural heritage series and subsequent issues celebrating local customs.

3. **Scenic Beauty**:
– The stunning landscapes and unique geography of French Polynesia make for beautiful stamp designs.
– **Notable Series**: Issues featuring island views, waterfalls, mountains, and beaches.

4. **Historical Events**:
– Commemorative stamps marking significant historical events and milestones in French Polynesia’s history.
– **Notable Series**: The 1992 centenary series and other commemorative issues.

### Collecting Tips

1. **Condition and Authenticity**:
– **Quality**: Ensure stamps are in good condition, free from damage such as tears, creases, or heavy cancellations.
– **Authentication**: Be cautious of forgeries and reproductions. Purchase from reputable dealers or obtain certificates of authenticity for high-value stamps.

2. **Storage and Display**:
– **Albums and Mounts**: Use high-quality, acid-free albums and mounts to protect your stamps from damage.
– **Climate Control**: Store stamps in a cool, dry place to avoid humidity and temperature fluctuations, which can affect their condition.

3. **Sources and Research**:
– **Catalogs and Guides**: Utilize stamp catalogs like Stanley Gibbons or Scott catalogs to identify and value stamps from French Polynesia.
– **Online Communities**: Join philatelic societies and online forums to connect with other collectors and stay updated on new issues and discoveries.

### Conclusion

Collecting postage stamps from French Polynesia offers a unique opportunity to explore the rich cultural and natural heritage of these beautiful islands. Whether focusing on thematic collections like marine life and cultural heritage or period-specific issues from the early colonial period to modern commemoratives, French Polynesian stamps provide a diverse and enriching collecting experience. By focusing on quality, authenticity, and careful preservation, you can build a valuable and enjoyable collection of stamps from French Polynesia.