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Pitcairn Philately

[Pitcairn Postal Service]

Through the years since the first definitive issue of Pitcairn stamps was released in 1940, the philately of Pitcairn Island has enjoyed a much-sought-after status among stamp collectors throughout the world.

 

Pitcairn's Constitution

Constitution

George Hunn Nobbs

George Hunn Nobbs (1799-1884) was born on 16 October 1799 in Ireland, allegedly the illegitimate sone of the Marquis of Hastings.  Nobbs’s childhood was spent near Yarmouth and in 1813 a family friend, Admiral Robert Murray, procured him a position in the navy.  The years that followed were an interesting mix of naval service.  They included six years with South American patriots fighting the royalists; commission as a lieutenant in the Chilean navy; merchant service to West Africa as chief mate and then captain of the Gambia and finally, following a recommendation from his dying mother, he sailed to Pitcairn Island with an American, Noah Bunker, in his 18-ton cutter.

Landing on Pitcairn on November 5, 1828, they were welcomed by John Adams, the aged patriarch who had largely handed over the spiritual and temporal care of his community to the Bristol shipwright John Buffett.  Though Buffett had been five years on Pitcairn, Nobbs’ superior education and stronger character enabled him to assume the position as pastor and schoolteacher, albeit not without friction, which continued after Adams’ death four months later.

On October 18, 1829, Nobbs married Sarah, granddaughter of Fletcher Christian.  Then in 1831, following earlier requests from Adams, the islanders were removed to Tahiti with Nobbs reluctantly accompanying them.  Sickness and deaths saw the Pitcairners returning to their island with the help of Captain William Driver of the ship Charles Doggett, but soon afterward anarchy and drunkenness followed.

In 1832, Joshua Hill arrived on Pitcairn (claiming to be a representative of the British government) and he succeeded in supplanting Nobbs as pastor and teacher, and in March 1834, Hill forced him to leave the island.  He thereupon settled as a missionary on Mangareva until, with the exposure of Hill as a fraud, the Pitcairn community requested him to return, which he did in October 1834.

Nobbs was officially ordained in 1852, and in 1856 he joined the community in their migration to Norfolk Island.  He decided to remain on Norfolk until his death in 1884, leaving a widow, 10 children, 65 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren. 

Captain Russell Eliott

Russell Eliott (1802 – 1881) was the seventh son of Sir William Eliott, 6th Baronet of Stobs in Roxburghshire, Scotland.  He entered the Royal Navy in 1814 as a volunteer onboard HMS Stork, moving to the HMS Favourite  in 1817 as a midshipman and serving in St. Helena, the Brazils and Newfoundland.  His service record that followed showed time served in the West Indies on ten different vessels, rising to Captain in 1829.  Returning home in 1830, he married Bethia Bart, eldest daughter of Sir William Russell Bart, and raised four children.  He was called back to duty in 1836 and joined HMS Fly as Commander, later becoming Captain and was occupied on ‘secret service’ amongst the South Sea islands including Pitcairn.  His service ended in 1839, and he had no further command or postings.  His interest turned to railways and politics where he became a prominent liberal.  The flag ranks indicate that he was eventually appointed as a Rear Admiral in 1869.  He died in Appleby Castle in Westmoreland in 1881.

The Constitution

The Pitcairn community’s experience with Joshua Hill and increasing visits from troublesome American whalers, brought the islanders to recognize their need for stability and protection.  The visit of the HMS Fly was timely as Captain Russell Eliott was able to work with George Hunn Nobbs to draw up a brief constitution and a code of laws selected from those already in force.  A Magistrate (who must be native-born) was to be elected annually, and assisted by a council of two members.  Pitcairn’s Constitution, signed on board the HMS Fly on November 30, 1838, incorporated Pitcairn into the British Empire and included two notable firsts in British legislation: female suffrage, and compulsory schooling.  It is interesting to note that Pitcairn Islanders date their formal incorporation into the British empire as 1838 rather than their appointment as a British Settlement under the British Settlements Act of 1887.

Constitution Issue Collectors Notes:

  • The designer of the stamps is Lucas Kukler, Bangkok, Thailand.
  • The printer of the stamps is Southern Colour Print, Dunedin, New Zealand.
  • The printing processed used is offset litho. 
  • The stamp size is 48.00 mm x 38.12 mm vertical.
  • The format is two panes each of 4 stamps with centre gutter.
  • The stamp denominations are $3.00 x 2.
  • The paper on which the stamps are printed is 103gsm Tullis Russell Yellow/Green phosphor gummed stamp paper.
  • The period of sale of the stamps is April 5, 2018, for a period of two years.
  • Acknowledgment: The Pitcairn Philatelic Bureau wishes to thank Graham Ford (UK) for his assistance in providing images and historical text regarding Russell Eliott.

Pitcairn Stamp Issues

(Click small stamp images to see larger views.)

Below is a listing of all Pitcairn stamps issued since 1940 when Pitcairn Island began issuing its own stamps

  • 2018
    • Pitcairn’s Constitution
    • Jewels of the Bounty
  • 2017
    • William Bligh – Death
    • Transverse Ladybird
    • Robert Pitcairn
    • Marine Reserve
    • Maps through the Centuries
    • The Women of the Bounty
    • Prominent Pitcairners Part 5
    • Rosalind Amelia Young
  • 2016
    • Pitcairn Languages
    • Ferns of Pitcairn
    • Adamstown
    • Phoenix Petrel
    • HM Queen Elizabeth II 90th Birthday
    • William Shakespeare
    • Pitcairn Landscapes
  • 2015
    • 75th Anniversary DeFinitives 1940-2015
    • The Breadfruit Saga
    • Prominent Pitcairners - 4 Ben Christian
    • Pitcairn on Canvas
    • Red Lion Fish
  • 2014
    • Byrd Expedition Visit -75th Anniversary
    • Nelson Mandela
    • 250th Anniversary of Birth of Fletcher Christian
    • Centenary of World War I
    • Botanic
    • 225th Anniversary of the Mutiny of the Bounty
    • Albatross, Giants in the Sky
    • Mutiny Anniversary
    • Albatross
  • 2013
    • Ship Landing Point
    • John F. Kennedy
    • Prominent Pitcairners - 3
    • Royal Baby
    • QE II Coronation Anni.
    • Lobsters
    • Cruise Ships 2013
    • Nordhoff and Hall
  • 2012
    • Charles Dickens
    • WWF Clam Shells
    • Prominent Pitcairners - Roy Clark
    • Romantic Bounty
    • Botanical
    • Queen's Diamond Jubilee
    • Dolphins
    • The art of Pitcairn Part 4 - Tapa
  • 2011
    • Christmas
    • Parkin Christian
    • Pitcairn Supply Ships
    • Birds of Henderson
    • Royal Wedding
    • Peony Flower
    • Paper Wasp
    • Fautu Flower
  • 2010
    • Endemic Snails
    • Hotspots
    • WWF Tropical
    • Reef Fish
    • London 2010
    • ANZAC
    • Children’s Art
  • 2009
    • Royal Navy Visitors
    • Aircraft over Pitcairn
    • Wandering Gilder
    • Drangonfly
    • Charles Darwin
    • Panda
    • Return to Pitcairn
    • Coconut Cra
  • 2008
    • Green Turtles of Henderson Island
    • Discovery of a Community
    • Sunsets
    • Flowers and Bees
    • Pitcairn Longboats History
    • Pitcairn From Space
  • 2007
    • Pitciarn Ocean Fish
    • 10th Definitive, Bounty Detail
    • Salt and Pepper Moths
    • Rock Carvers
    • Raising the Bounty Anchor
    • Terns and Noddies of the Pitcairn Islands
  • 2006
    • Majestic Whales
    • Early Civilizations, Part 1
    • Cave Dwellers of Henderson
    • Journey to Norfolk - 150th Anniversary
    • The Queen's 80th birthday
    • Old Glory - 175th Anniversary
    • Stunning Scenery of Henderson Island
    • 80th Birthday of HM Queen Elizabeth II
    • Old Glory 175th Anniversary
  • 2005
    • Christmas 2005
    • Cristle-thighed Curlew
    • Bounty II
    • Royal Wedding
    • Blue Moon Butterfly
    • Oeno Eclipse
    • Scenic Views – Oeno & Ducie
  • 2004
    • Scenery of Pitcairn
    • Murphy’s Petrel
    • Bounty
    • HMS Pitcairn
    • Scenery of Pitcairn
    • Shells Part III Terebra
  • 2003
    • Blue Star Line Ships
    • Shells Part II - Conus
    • Golden Jubilee of The Coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
    • The Art of Pitcairn Part II - Weaving
    • The Art of Pitcairn Part III - Painted Leaves
    • Squirrel Fish
    • Christmas 2003.
  • 2002
    • Notable Figures of Pitcairn
    • Golden Jubilee of HM Queen Elizabeth II
    • Feline Friends - Pitcairn Cats
    • Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother
    • Trees of Pitcairn Part III.
  • 2001 – Cruise Ships
    • Pitcairn Internet Domain Names
    • Tropical Fruit
    • The Art of Pitcairn Part I
    • Woodcarving
    • Cowrie Shells
    • Butterflies of the Reef.
  • 2000 – Botanical Definitive: London
    • Mr. Turpen
    • Millennium Part III
    • Exhibition Sheetlet
    • Anaheim Exhibition Sheetlet: Space
    • Christmas 2000
    • Queen Mother’s 100th Birthday.
  • 1999 – School Days
    • Bounty Relics
    • Millennium Part II - towards 2000
    • The Royal Wedding of HRH Prince Edward to Miss Sophie Rhys-Jones
    • Pitcairn Island Honey Bees.
  • 1998 – Christian’s Cave
    • Millennium Part I - towards 2000
    • Diana, Princess of Wales
    • Botanical
    • Year of the Ocean.
  • 1997 – Hong Kong ‘97
    • South Pacific Commission
    • Island Health Care
    • Royal Golden Wedding Anniversary.
  • 1996 – Supply Ship Day
    • 70th Birthday of Her Majesty the Queen
    • China ‘96
    • Amateur Radio
    • World Wide Fund for Nature.
  • 1995 – Birds Definitive
    • Oeno Holiday
    • Queen Mother’s 95th Birthday
    • Marconi - 100th Anniversary of First Radio Wave Transmission
    • 50th Anniversary of the United Nations.
  • 1994 – Lizards (overprint)
    • Early Pitcairners
    • Shipwrecks
    • Corals
    • Christmas.
  • 1993 – Royal Navy Vessels
    • 40th Anniversary
    • Her Majesty’s Coronation
    • Scenic Views II
    • Lizards.
  • 1992 – 40th Anniversary - Her Majesty’s Ascension
    • Sharks
    • Sir Peter Scott Commemorative Expedition
    • 175th Anniversary of Bligh’s Death.
  • 1991 – Bicentennial Celebrations
    • Cruise Ships
    • Royal Birthdays
    • Transport
    • Christmas.
  • 1990 – Bicentenary Sheetlet 3: Settlement of Pitcairn Island
    • Links with the UK
    • Stamp Booklet
    • 90th Birthday of HM Queen Mother
    • 50th Anniversary of First Pitcairn stamps
    • Henderson Island Birds.
  • 1989 – Bicentennary Sheetlet 1: Voyage of HMAV Bounty to Tahiti to collect Breadfruit
    • Tripartite Sheet
    • Aircraft
    • Bicentenary Sheetlet 2: The Mutiny on the Bounty.
  • 1988 – 150th Anniversary of the Constitution
    • Australian Bicentenary
    • Seventh Definitive Issue: Ships 6th Definitive Additions.
  • 1987 – Trees of Pitcairn II
    • 19th Century Paintings Part II
    • Ships Serving the Pitcairners.
  • 1986 – The Wedding of HRH Prince Andrew and Miss Sarah Ferguson
    • Turtles
    • The Seventh-day Adventist Church
    • 60th Birthday of HM Queen Elizabeth II.
  • 1985 – The Life and Times of HM Queen Mother
    • 19th Century Paintings Part I
    • Ships Serving the Pitcairners
    • Christmas 1985.
  • 1984 – Sixth Definitive Stamp Issue: Fish
    • Night Sky
    • Ausipex ‘84
    • Pitcairn Island Longboats.
  • 1983– Commonwealth Day
    • 175th Anniversary of Folger’s Discovery of the Settlers
    • Trees of Pitcairn I.
  • 1982 – Fruit of Pitcairn
    • 21st Birthday of HRH The Princess of Wales
    • Christmas 1982.
  • 1981 – Scenic Views I
    • 125th Anniversary of Pitcairn Migration to Norfolk Island
    • The Wedding of HRH The Prince of Wales
    • Fifth Definitive Additions.
  • 1980 – London 1980
    • 80th Birthday of HM Queen Mother
    • Handicrafts.
  • 1979 – 150th Anniversary of the Death of John Adams
    • Engravings
    • Christmas 1979.
  • 1978 – Bounty Day
    • 25th Anniversary of the Coronation of H.M. Queen Elizabeth II
    • Development.
  • 1977 – Royal Silver Jubilee
    • Fifth Definitive.
  • 1976 – U.S. Bicentennial.
  • 1975 – $1 Fourth Definitive Addition
    • Mailboats
    • Insects.
  • 1974 – Shells
    • Centenary of Universal Postal Union
    • Centenary of Birth of Sir Winston Churchill.
  • 1973 – 50c Definitive Addition
    • Flowers
    • Royal Wedding of H.R.H. Princess Anne.
  • 1972 – 25th Anniversary of the South Pacific Commission
    • Royal Silver Wedding.
  • 1971 – Polynesian Pitcairn
    • Royal Visit of H.R.H. Prince Philip (overprint).
  • 1970 – Flowers
    • Fish.
  • 1969 – Fourth Definitive Addition.
  • 1968 – Human Rights Year
    • Handicrafts
    • 20th Anniversary of the World Health Organization.
  • 1967 – Bicentennial of the Discovery of Pitcairn
    • Definitive Decimal Surcharge
    • 150th Anniversary of the Death of Admiral Bligh.
  • 1966 – Sir Winston Churchill
    • World Football Championships
    • W.H.O. Headquarters
    • 20th Anniversary UNESCO.
  • 1965 – Definitive Addition: New Value
    • ITU Centenary
    • International Co-operation Year.
  • 1964 – Third Definitive.
  • 1963 – Freedom from Hunger
    • Red Cross Centenary.
  • 1961 – Centenary of Return from Norfolk Island.
  • 1958 – Definitive Addition.
  • 1957 – Second Definitive Addition
    • The First Queen Elizabeth Pictorials.
  • 1953 – Coronation Issue.
  • 1951 – Definitive Additions.
  • 1949 – Silver Wedding of Their Majesties King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.
  • 1946 – Victory Issue.
  • 1940 – First Definitive.

[Pitcairn Postal Service]

William Bligh
Ladybird
Robert Pitcairn
Marine Reserve
75th Anniversary Cover
75th Anniversary Cover
Supply Ships
Supply Ships
Supply Ships
Supply Ships
Supply Ships
Christmas FDC
Supply Ships
Royal Wedding
peony
wasp
royal_navy_visitors2
endemic_snails_sm
endemic_snails_sm
endemic_snails_sm
Hotspots
Royal Navy Visitors
Royal Navy Visitors
Aircraft over Pitcairn
Flowers & Bees
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[Pitcairn Postal Service]