Sunday 28 October 2012

No. 170. Only 100 Sheets Of Special Stamp Issue Actually Sold In Cook Islands Post Offices.

A website entitled "Cook Islands News" which is dated 23 August 2012, stated in a report on the 43rd Pacific Islands Forum that just 100 sheets of the special stamps issued to commemorate the event (see blog of 22 September 2012) "were the Cook Islands Post Office" by the Cook Islands Philatelic Bureau based in New York and owned by Philatelic Collectors Inc. The website says that these 100 sheets actually comprised 50 each of the 2 different sheets, one of which comprised 16 different stamps which depicted the flags of participating nations and territories and the other depicted a further 14 flags of "dialogue partners". Hence, if this report is correct, only 1500 stamps of this particular issue were put on sale at post offices and with 30 different designs, only 50 of each design was sold with the aim of them being used by members of The Cook Islands mail-sending public for use on their mail. Additionally, the Cook Islands Philatelic Bureau used 300 sheets, 150 of each type, as part of gifts to governmental leaders who attended the Forum. This report is very illuminating about the activities of this particular philatelic agency, the fact that the Cook Islands Post Office only received 50 examples of each sheetlet for sale at ordinary post office counters raises questions about the nature of the "stamps" as items which qualify to be called postage stamps and to find their way to be fully listed in stamp catalogues. This report has convinced me that I will not spend any more money on items with the name of Cook Islands printed on them which have been produced by this philatelic agency since they appear to have limited availability for actual use as postage stamps. Anyone who comes across a genuinely used example of these stamps, particularly if on cover, appears to have a notable rarity in their possession.

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