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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.
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.
The following is a listing of all Pitcairn stamps issued since 1940 when Pitcairn Island began issuing its own stamps. Images of most of the stamps can be seen below.
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.
"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."