French Polynesia (Polynésie Française)

Previous issue (2003), only Spanish version >

2008. The fiftieth anniversary of the first stamp issue in French Polynesia

Sometimes it is difficult to find the right words for an objective assessment of an issue. Unfortunately, and often because of economic reasons, some postal administrations distort the original nature of the variable value stamp to create a pseudo-philatelic product which can be difficult to describe.
2008 marks the 50th anniversary of the first issue of stamps bearing the inscription Polynésie Française. In 1957, Polynesia became a French overseas territory, and the first stamps under the new name Polynésie Française were launched on November 3rd 1958, replacing the previous issues which had the text Établissements Français de l'Océanie.

Among the various philatelic issues launched to commemorate this important historical event, by the Office des Postes et Télécommunications de Polynésie Française at the Paris Salon Philatélique d'Automne 2008, is a curious and unexpected issue of variable value stamps (?).
The commemorative issue is made up of 3 designs reproducing details of the 3 stamps, issued on November 3rd 1958, which made up the first set, bearing the name Polynésie Française. These stamps have also been reproduced in a new set and a souvenir-sheet issued to commemorate the anniversary, with all of them released on November 6th 2008.
The variable value stamps have been issued on self-adhesive thermal labels, size 76 x 26 mm., from an IER LISA 2 postal kiosk. There are 3 designs - one per value, priced at 100360 and 720 FCFP face value.

Apart from the 100 FCFP face value, which corresponds to the 2008 postal tariff for a letter to France, the purpose and use of the other 2 high face values (360 and 720 FCFP) is unknown. These are not basic postal rates in 2008, and very probably they are just an arbitrary (?) decision to make the face value up to 10 EUR ... However, the degradation of the printed face value is so fast, that a few weeks after the questionable issue, it was difficult to read the printed face value (!): This is the poorest quality of thermal self-adhesive labels used for this issue.

The 3 variable value stamps are only sold together, with a commemorative cover (below) which also contains a magnet !!!! ?? –(right picture)- with a reproduction of one of the stamps.
In total, the French Polynesia philatelic service prepared 1,500 commemorative packs.

In summary, this is an expensive product that can hardly qualify as philatelic, and is just not suitable for collectors, given the poor quality of the issue.

At the time of writing this article, it was not known whether these new designs will replace the previous issue in the IER - LISA 2 postal kiosks installed in French Polynesia.

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This page was created in December 2008 and last updated:  04.01.09 . English edition rewritten by S. Goodman (03.01.2009)