Fiji - Travel/Philately/Numismatics/Memorabilia Profile

Fiji, a set of islands in Melanesia in the South Pacific Ocean located about 1250 miles northeast of New Zealand has a total land area of 7056 square miles and a population of around 850,000. It is considered as one of the most advanced nations of the Pacific. Fiji is referred to as the Gateway to the South Pacific due to significant Fijian, Indian, Chinese, Polynesian and European population. Population is dense at Viti Levu, which is also a popular tourist destination. The major industries are agriculture, tourism, clothing and gold.

Travel Resources:

Fiji is a sought after holiday destination for all the good reasons – tropical sun-drenched climate, sandy beaches, coral reefs and thick rainforests. The best months for visitors is from April through November. The major attractions are Viti Levu, Natadola harbor, Koroyanitu Heritage Park, Bouma National Heritage Park, Fiji museum, and the highest peak Tomanivi. Sun worshiping, snorkeling, scuba diving, sky diving, and golfing are the major activities. The many options for water tours are sailing, dolphin watching, visiting uninhabited islands, and snorkeling and in this regard Mamanuca Islands and Yasawa Islands are popular with visitors. Fijian cuisine is diverse and influenced heavily by Indian and Chinese spices and makes for an interesting eat.


ResourceISBN or ASINBest PriceDescription
Moon Fiji978-1598807370$14Excellent overall travel info! Starts off with a trip planner section and follows with sections on Nadi and the Mamanucas, The Yasawa Islands, Southern Viti Levu, Suva and Vicinity, Northern Viti Levu, The Lomaiviti Group, Vanua Levu, Taveuni, and The Lau Group and Rotuma. There is also an excellent section covering flora and fauna, history and government, economy, and people and culture.
Lonely Planet Fiji Country Guide978-1741047936$14With over 300 islands, the place can be overwhelming, but this guide does an admirable job for travelers. Region wise coverage of Viti Levu, Mamanuca Group, Yasawa Group, Lomaiviti Group, Vanua Levu, Taveuni, Kadavu Group, Lau and Moala Groups, and Rotuma.
Fiji Travel Reference Map978-1553412090$91:525,000 Scale. Close-up maps of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, and Suva City. Distance in kilometers and miles.
Fiji Grounded Adapter Plug – GUCB001FD7DEC$8


Philatelic Profile:

The first stamps of Fiji were a set of four stamps released in 1870. They were used for a weekly newspaper service established by Fiji Times. Each stamp in the set (Scott #1 to #5, #4 missing) catalogs for between $1750 and $4000 mint or used. This was followed by another set (Scott #6 to #10) of five stamps released in 1871 in the same denominations with the missing one (6p) added in. Each stamp in that set catalogs for a little less at around $1000 to $1750 mint and around double that for used. Imitations and forgeries are known to exist. Another set of three stamps showing the crown and the symbol “CR” were issued in 1871. The set (Scott #15 to #17) issued with a watermark on wove paper catalogs for around $350 mint and $870 used. The “CR” inscription stands for Cakobau Rex, the Fijian chief whose official name is Ratu Seru Epenisa Cakobau (1815 to 1883). Cakobau is credited with uniting the warring Fijian tribes and creating a united Fijian kingdom in 1871. He was a former cannibal who converted to christianity and renounced cannibalism. Today, the Cakobau name is honored and many of the country’s top figures are direct descendants of Cakobau. He ceded the islands to Great Britain in 1874. Sets portraying both the Crown and “CR” theme along with Queen Victoria (QV) portraits followed during the 1878 to 1890 time frame. Those sets (Scott #40 to #45 and #46 to #48) are both fairly valuable fetched around $140 MNH and around half that for used. The only variation till the turn of the century were a few surcharge overprints and a set of six stamps that had a Fijian Canoe design along with the long running “CR” design released in the 1891 to 1896 timeframe. That set (Scott #53 to #58) catalogs for around $40 MNH and $25 used.

King Edwards VII (KEVII) key types and King George V (KGV) key types along with certain common design types were the primary stamp issues of Fiji until 1938. These sets (Scott #59 to #68, #70 to #77, #79 to #90, #92, and #93 to #106) are also very valuable cataloging in the $100 range for MNH and somewhat more for used. Fiji released a long set of eighteen stamps in the 1938 to 1955 timeframe showing local scenes. The set (Scott #117 to #131B) is sought after and catalogs for around $200 MNH and $165 used. The designs show outrigger canoe, Fijian village, outrigger canoe (horizontal), map of Fiji Islands, canoe and Arms of Fiji, sugar cane, spear fishing at night, Arms of Fiji (horizontal), Suva Harbor, river scene, Fijian house, papaya tree, bugler, government buildings, and Arms of Fiji.

Other issues of Fiji enjoying good philatelic interest include:
  1. A set of thirteen stamps released in the 1959 to 1963 timeframe showing Queen Elizabeth (QE) along with local scenes. The set (Scott #163 to #175) catalogs for around $60 MNH and $35 used. The designs show portrait of QE II, loading copra, turtles, hibiscus, crimson shining parrot (Kandavu), Fijian beating drum, Yagona ceremony (Kava – welcome drink ceremony), South Pacific Map, Nadi Airport, cutting sugar cane, and Arms of Fiji.
  2. A set of seventeen stamps released on July 15, 1968 in the Flora and Fauna theme. The set (Scott #240 to #256) catalogs for around $30 MNH and $20 used. The designs show Fijian Bures, passion fruit flowers, nautilus pompilius shell, hawk moth, reef butterflyfish, bamboo raft, tiger moth, black marlin, orange-breasted honey eaters, ringed sea snake, outrigger canoes, golden cowrie shell, Emperor Gold Mine and Gold Ore, bamboo orchids, tabua (whale’s tooth), and Coat of Arms and QEII. This set was followed by a sister set of seventeen stamps on January 13, 1969. That set (Scott #260 to #276) catalogs for around $40 MNH and $20 used. The issue has the same subjects but the denomination changed to cents and dollars vs pennies and pounds. Fiji converted to Fijian dollar currency that year. It was their currency from 1867 to 1873 as well.
  3. A set of sixteen stamps released between 1971 and 1972 in the Orchids and Birds theme. The set (Scott #305 to #320) catalogs for around $40 MNH and $20 used. The designs show cirrhopetalum umbellatum, cardinal honey eaters, calanthe furcata, bulbophyllum, gray-backed white eyes, phaius tancarvilliae, blue-crested broadbills, acanthephippiumvitiense, dendrobium tokai, slaty flycatchers, Kandavu honey eaters, dendrobium gordonii, white-throated pigeon, collared lories, and dendrobium platygastrium.
  4. A set of four stamps released on April 23, 1990 in the Fish theme. The set (Scott #619 to #622) catalogs for around $17 MNH or used. The designs show mangrove jack, orange-spotted therapon perch, spotted scat, and flagtail.
  5. A set of four stamps released on August 10, 2001 showing the Westpac Pacific Bank. The set (Scott #923 to #926) catalogs for around $5 MNH or used. Diplomatic relation s with Australia has since soured – Fiji ordered diplomatic envoys of Australia to leave immediately on November 3, 2009 following accusations by the leader of Fiji that Australia was interfering with Fiji’s internal affairs. The issues started following the military takeover by Commodore Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama.
Numismatic Profile:

The first coins of Fiji where Copper-Nickel half-pennies released in 1934 with Crown Above Center Hole in Obverse and Date and Denomination in Reverse. The issue has high mintage (96,000) and catalogs for around $15 UNC. Fiji converted to decimal coinage denominated in Cents and Fijian Dollars (2 dollars = 1 Fijian pound) in 1969. The first decimal issues were Bronze Cents with a Tanoa Kava Bowl design in Reverse with very high mintage. The issue is inexpensive and catalogs for about a dollar in BU. Fiji started issuing Commemorative Gold coins in 1974 with the issue of a $100 Gold Coin (0.5042 troy ounce) to mark the 100th anniversary of cession to Great Britain. The design shows QE bust in Obverse and the bust of King Cakobau with denomination in Reverse. Other popular commemorative gold coins include the $200 1980 Tenth Anniversary of Independence issue showing Prince Charles, and the $100 2009 Pacific Sovereign gold bullion coins.

Numismatic items of Fiji include:


ItemPrice RangeDescription
Coins$2 and upHoled pennies from the 1940s onward in UNC starts around $2. Silver UNCs from the 1940s onwards starts around $10. Recent commemorative silver proofs starts around $30 and can go into the 100s depending on mintage. Gold Commemoratives and Bullion go well into the 100s and 1000s.
Paper Money$5 and upUNCs from the 2000s starts around $5. Rare Dates, Low Numbers etc starts around $30. QE Shillings from the 50s and 60s in VF starts around $50. KGV Shillings from the 40s and 50s in VF starts around $100.


Collectible Memorabilia:

Handicrafts and jewelry from Fiji are well known and well appreciated by all.


ResourcePrice RangeDescription
Art$3 and upPosters and hand carved wood pieces start around $3. Original antique prints start around $25. Original works by Warren Bolster, M.J.Erickson, Upperhall etc. start around $100.
Curios$30 and upCarved Wood Tiki Mask Turtles start around $50. Wooden club Tiki Heads, Turtle Boxes, Tapa Bark Paintings, etc start around $100.


Last Updated: 12/2015.

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