The Exciting Traditional Costumes of Gilbert & Ellice Islands on Stamps

The short-lived Protectorate of Gilbert & Ellice Islands existed between 1911 and 1975, when it was separated into two autonomous territories, Kiribati and Tuvalu. There are less than 250 stamps issued for this protectorate, but all of them strike by their interesting colors, relative exoticism, and straightforward celebration of local diversity.

The world of traditional costume and traditional activities was at the core of their first full-color definitive series of stamps in 1965. They were reissued and surcharged between 1965 and 1968, coinciding with the change of currency that occurred in 1966 – from the pre-decimal £ to the decimal Australian $.

The Surcharged Issue


Top row, left to right: nighttime fishing, making a Frangipani wreath, a Gilbert Island dweller dancing, blowing a conch shell for the beginning of the feast, young Ellice Island dweller dancing, dance costume of a Gilbert Island dweller.

Middle row, left to right: young woman at the fountain, harvesting coconuts, Ellice Island dwellers in war dance, preparation of the feast.

Bottom row, left to right: sitting dance, local chopstick game, Ellice Island dwellers drumming for a dance, the coat of arms of the Islands.


The Nominal Issue


For description, see above under the surcharged definitive series.

Stamps featured in post: 30; Period: modern (1965-1968); Pricing: low; Availability: very scarce.

Michel catalogue no’s (price for mint in € in brackets): Set I: MiNr: 105-119 (25€); Set II: MiNr: 130-144 (24€).


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