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Pitcairn Islands Study Center

Pitcairn Philately

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

With the coming of the Internet about a decade ago, the worldwide demand for Pitcairn stamps began decreasing. In late 2018, the Pitcairn Government administration advertised for interest relative to Pitcairn Islands stamp and coin production. Then on May 13, 2020, there came an announcement that the Tower Mint company of London had been awarded Pitcairn's philately contract to produce future stamp and coin issues. On September 4, 2020, a message to collectors from the directors of the Pitcairn Islands Philatelic Bureau – which had produced and issued all Pitcairn stamps for many years – stated that they were retiring, and that Tower Mint would produce and issue all Pitcairn Islands stamps in the future beginning on September 20, 2020.

On February 28, 2020, the "Sinking of the Essex" Pitcairn stamps were issued, making it the last issue of Pitcairn stamps issued from the Pitcairn Islands Philatelic Bureau under the direction of Russell and Louise Watson.

The listing and showing of all new Pitcairn stamps on this website will continue from the time Tower Mint releases its first Pitcairn Islands stamp.

Sinking of the Essex

In August 1819, the 238-ton whaleship Essex sailed from Nantucket, Massachusetts, beginning a planned two-and-a-half-year voyage to the rich whaling grounds of the South Pacific Ocean. In November 1820, in the southern Pacific, under Captain George Pollard Jr., the Essex was attacked and sunk by a large sperm whale. The ship sank within two days, but the twenty crew members were saved, along with three small boats, navigational equipment, and sail cloth. In the boats the crew headed in the direction of Chile.

The survivors were more than 1,900 kilometers (1,200 miles) from the nearest islands (the Marquesas), and they were without adequate supplies of food and fresh water. They first came across Henderson Island in the Pitcairn group, and rested there; but with little food and water available, they set off again, leaving behind three crew members.

At sea again the men began suffering from dehydration and starvation. Many died.

When rescue finally came near South America, only two boats with five survivors were found. The Henderson crew were also saved almost a year after the Essex sinking. The tragedy attracted international attention, and inspired Herman Melville to write his now famous novel Moby Dick.

“Sinking of the Essex” Issue Collector’s Notes:

  • Designer of the stamps: Lucas Kukler, Cairo, Egypt.
  • Printer of the stamps: Southern Colour Print, Dunedin, New Zealand.
  • Printing Process Used: Offset Lithography.
  • Stamp Size: 48.00 mm x 38.67 mm horizontal.
  • Format: Miniature Sheet 180mm 95mm.
  • Denominations: $1.00; $1.80; $2.10, and $4.40.
  • Paper used: 105gsm NovaStamp non phosphor gummed stamp paper.
  • Period of Sale: 28 February 2020 for a period of 2 years.

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

  • 2020
    • Sinking of the Essex
  • 2019
    • Man Landing on the Moon
    • Reed Warbler
    • Fragrant Flowers
    • Paintings of the Bounty
    • Dark Sky
    • Echinoderms
    • Christmas (Angels over Pitcairn)
  • 2018
    • Colors of Paradise
    • Royal Wedding
    • Pitcairn’s Constitution
    • Jewels of the Bounty
    • Pitcairn from the Air
    • 100th Anniversary Commemorating End of World War I
    • Big Blue Octopus
  • 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
    • Islands
  • 1988 – 150th Anniversary of the Constitution
    • Australian Bicentenary
    • Seventh Definitive Issue: Ships 6th Definitive Additions
    • Christmas
  • 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.
    • Universal Postal Union
  • 1946 – Victory Issue.
  • 1940 – First Definitive.


[Pitcairn Postal Service]

Man Landing on the Moon
Royal Wedding
William Bligh
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
Royal Navy Visitors
Royal Navy Visitors
Aircraft over Pitcairn
Flowers & Bees
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[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.


Man Landing On The Moon

Moon Landing 50yr Anniversary

"That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind" announced Commander Neil Armstrong as he stepped onto the lunar surface and became the first person to achieve this feat.

Apollo 11 was the spaceflight that took the first manned space craft to the Moon, and the two-man crew of Armstrong and Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin completed the mission on July 20, 1969, by landing on the Moon's surface in the lunar module Eagle.

Aldrin was the module's pilot and they flew to the Moon with Michael Collins who handled the command module Columbia. Collins kept the module in orbit while his colleagues were on the moon's surface for twenty-one and a half hours.

Armstrong stepped onto the surface on July 21st and Aldrin joined him 19 minutes later. They spent two and a quarter hours collecting 21.5 kg of lunar material to bring back to Earth.

Apollo 11 was launched by a Saturn V rocket from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on July 16, and was the fifth crewed mission of NASA's Apollo program. After traveling to the Moon by the Saturn V's third state, the astronauts separated the spacecraft from it and travelled for three days until they entered lunar orbit. Armstrong and Aldrin then moved into Eagle and landed in the Sea of Tranquility. The astronauts used Eagle's ascent state to lift off from the lunar surface and re-join Collins in the command module. They jettisoned Eagle before they performed the maneuvers that propelled them out of the lunar orbit on a trajectory back to Earth. They returned to Earth and splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on July 24 after more than eight days in space.

Armstrong's first step onto the lunar surface was broadcast on live television to a worldwide audience of over 500 million. Apollo 11 effectively ended the Space Race and fulfilled a national goal proposed in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy: "before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth."


  1. The first human-made object to reach the surface of the Moon was the Soviet Union's Luna 2 mission on 13 September 1959. The United States' Apollo 11 was the first crewed mission to landon the Moon, on 20 July 1969. There have been six crewed U.S. landings (between 1969 and 172) and numerous un-crewed landings, with no soft landings happening from 22 August 1976, until 14 December 2013.

  2. Neil Alden Armstrong was an American astronaut and aeronautical engineer. He was also a naval aviator, test pilot and university professor. He was born in 1930 and died in 2012 aged 82.
  3. Buzz Aldrin was an engineer and a former astronaut and fighter pilot. He is a retired major general of the United States Air Force Reserves. Selected as part of the third group of fourteen astronauts in 1963, he flew into space twice. He is one of 24 people to have flown to the Moon.

“Man Landing on the Moon” Issue Collector’s Notes:

  • Designer of the stamps is Denise Durkin, Wellington, New Zealand
  • Printer of the stamps is Southern Colour Print, Dunedin, New Zealand.
  • Process used to print the stamps is Offset Litho.
  • Size of the stamps is 36.9mm x 37.5mm horizontal.
  • Format of the stamps is four single stamps.
  • Denominations of the stamps: $1.00, $2.20, $3.00, and $3.40.
  • Paper on which the stamps are printed is 104gsm Tullis Russell Yellow/Green phosphor gummed stamp paper.
  • Period of Sale of the stamps is 19 July 2019 for a period of two years.

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