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first issues > countries > samoa


1st October 1877

  New Zealand Territory 1

Sam1b Sam1 Sam1d Sam1e
  Sc1c Sc1b Sc1 Sc1d Sc1e  

Images from the Journal articles.

Description   Scott SG Mi Y&T  
Type I 1877, perf 12½
1 penny sky blue   1c 1   1  
3d vermilion   3c 2   2  
6d bright violet   4b 3   3  
6d pale lilac   4c 3a      
Type II 1878-79, perf 12½
1d sky blue   1b 4      
3d vermilion   3b 5      
6d violet   4a 6      
1 shilling orange-yellow   6 7, 7a      
1/- dull yellow   6a     5  
1/- lemon yellow   6b 7c      
1/- golden yellow, 1879, perf 11¾   6c 7b      
2/- red-brown   7a 8      
2/- chocolate   7b 8a      
5/- grey-green   8b 9, 9a      
Type III 1879, perf 12½
1d sky blue   1a 10      
3d vermilion   3 11      
6d lilac   4 12      
2/- deep brown   7 13   6  
2/- chocolate   7c 13a      
5/- emerald green   8 14   7  
5/- "line above X not repaired"   8c 14a      
Type III 1879-82, perf 11¾
1d blue   1 15   1a  
1d ultra   1d 15b      
1d deep blue   1e 15a      
3d scarlet vermilion clean-cut perfs   3a 16a      
3d vermilion rough perfs   3d 16      
6d dull lilac   4c 17a      
6d bright violet   4d 17      
2/- deep brown   7d 18      
5/- yellow green   8a 19      
5/- deep green   8d 19a      
5/- "line above X not repaired"   8e 19b      
Type IV 1880-82, perf 11¾
2d lilac-rose (1882)   2        
9d pale chestnut   5     4  
9d pale orange-brown   5a 20      

There are detailed articles on the early Samoa issues by Tim Balm (FICC #91) in FICC Journals v16n4 and n17n2. In summary there are four main variants of the first issues:

Type Date Perf Description
Scott [1] - Line above “X” is usually unbroken. Dots over “SAMOA” are uniform and evenly spaced. Upper right serif of “M” is horizontal.
Gibbons [2] - White line above “X” in “EXPRESS” not broken.
Scott - Line above “X” is usually broken. Small dot near upper right serif of “M.”
Gibbons - White line above “X” broken by a spot of colour and dot between top “M” and “O” of “SAMOA”.
12½ or 11¾
Scott - Line above “X” roughly retouched. Upper right serif of “M” bends down 3 (joined to dot).
Gibbons - Line above “X” repaired, dot merges with upper right serif of “M”.
Scott - Speck of color on curved line below center of “M.”
Gibbons - Spot of colour under middle stroke of “M”

Yvert & Tellier [3] does not bother with the fine distinctions

Samoa is an archipelago of islands in the south Pacific. The first postal service, using the "EXPRESS" stamps, was organised by C.L. Griffiths, who had previously run the Fiji Times Express post, the main purpose being delivery of newspapers.

Sam Ger
Sam NZ
West Sam
Sam Ind
German dependency
NZ Dependency
Western Samoa
1900 Sc51 SG-G1 1914 Sc101 SG101 1935 Sc166 SG180 1962 Sc223 SG239

Interesting changes of administration occurred: in the 1890s, the US, GB and Germany all had a presence. The three powers encouraged rivalries within the local population, resulting in two civil wars, eventually resolved in the 1899 Tripartite Convention. GB withdrew, leaving ‘American Samoa’ in the west and the much larger ‘German Samoa’. Stamps were issued for the German area in 1900. During WW1, New Zealand troops occupied that area and NZ were given the mandate in 1920 by the League of Nations. In 1935, stamps were rebranded ‘Western Samoa’. Independence was granted in 1962.

Sources: ScC [1], SGP1 [2], YTC [3], NB.

Image from NB, David Olson.

FI ref: 190 Page credit: NB

Page created 4 Jan 2017 Page updated 28-May-2017