New Caledonia

New Caledonia, a dependent territory of France located in the Southern Pacific sub-region of Melanesia has a total land area of 7,359 square miles and a population of around 250,000. New Caledonia is part of the submerged continent Zealandia. New Caledonian soil is very rich in elements and minerals and accounts for about a-quarter of the world's nickel resources. Mining and tourism are important sectors of its economy. As it is a remnant of the ancient Gondwan super-continent New Caledonia is among the world’s most critically endangered hot-spots. The country is home to a variety of endemic plants and animals of Gondwanan origin. Its fresh water ecosystem evolved in isolation making it home to many endemic species. The New Caledonia Barrier Reef is the second largest coral reef in the world and is listed as a World Heritage Site.

Travel Resources: 

September through November is considered the best time to visit the island. The landscape is characterized by rolling plains, steep mountains,  rainforests, river valleys, and beautiful coastlines. Grande Terre, Ile des Pins, and Loyalty Islands are the oft-visited islands. Its enclosed lagoon, home to marine species in all shapes and sizes and that too in various colors and hues is an attraction in its own right. Water sports, diving, and fishing safaris are popular aquatic activities. Its cuisine borrows heavily from the French with seafood being their specialty. Bougna, a traditional dish, is prepared from seafood, meat, root vegetables and coconut milk. ‘Table d’hotes’ which is authentic dining at the homes of locals is an unforgettable cultural experience.


ResourceISBN or ASINBest PriceDescription
Lonely Planet Vanuatu and New Caledonia978-1741047929$13Slightly more than half the book (100 pages) is New Caledonia. It is the best book available for travelers to New Caledonia.
New Caledonia Grounded Adapter Plug – GUBB001FD5C9A$8

Philatelic Profile:

The first stamp of New Caledonia was a stamp released in 1859 showing Napoleon III. The stamp (Scott #1) catalogs for around $200. There are over fifty varieties of this issue and there are many counterfeits as well. ‘N.C.E.’ and ‘New Caledonie’ and surcharge overprints on types of French Colonies were the primary stamp issues of New Caledonia until 1892. Those sets are all very valuable. Chief among them were a set of ten stamps released in 1892 which were overprints on the Types of French Colonies from 1877 to 1886. The set (Scott #23 to #33) catalogs for around $900 mint and around $600 used.

New Caledonia released a long set of nineteen key types in the Navigation and Commerce theme between 1892 and 1904. The set (Scott #40 to #58) catalogs for around $360 mint and around $210 used. The issue was followed by a few other overprints until the turn of the century. This was followed in 1903 by a long set of fifteen stamps that were overprints on stamps from the 1892 to 1900 time period. The set (Scott #66 to #80) catalogs for around $340 mint and around $290 used. The overprints were in blue, red, black, or gold. The set was released to mark fifty years of French occupation.

Other issues of New Caledonia enjoying good philatelic interest include:
  1. A long set of forty two stamps released between 1928 and 1940 in the History theme. The set (Scott #136 to #175) catalogs for around $45 MNH and around $40 for used. The designs show Bay of Paletuviers Point, Landscape with Chief’s House, and Admiral de Bougainville and Count de La Perouse.
  2. A long set of nineteen stamps released in 1948 in the History theme. The set (Scott #276 to #294) catalogs for around $30 MNH and around half that for used. The designs show Kagus, Ducos Sanatorium, Porcupine Isle, Nickel Foundry, Towers of Notre Dame, and Chieftain’s House.
  3. A set of four stamps released between 1977 and 1978 in the Birds theme. The set (Scott #430 to #432) catalogs for around $15 MNH and around $5 for used. The designs show young frigate bird, terns, and sooty terns. New Caledonia released a number of sets in the same theme (Scott #493 to #494, #533 to #534, #545, #564 to #565, #711, etc) over the years and all of them catalog for a slight premium over regular issues from the same periods. 
  4. A horizontal strip of three stamps released on November 9, 2000 showing Northern Province Landscapes. The set (Scott #863a-c) catalogs for around $6 MNH or used. The designs show fisherman in canoe, motorboat near beach and cliffs, and fisherman on raft. New Caledonian soil is rich in minerals that includes about a quarter of the world’s nickel resources. Mining along with Tourism are the mainstay of the economy.

Numismatic Profile:

The first coin of New Caledonia was a French Overseas Territory Decimal Coinage (100 Centimes = 1 Franc) 50 Centimes Aluminum Coin issued in 1949. The issue showed Seated figure holding torch in Obverse and Kagu bird within sprigs below value in Reverse. It had a mintage of 1M and catalogs for a few dollars in UNC. Essais and Peiforts, especially gold varieties command a sizable premium over bullion value.

Numismatic items of New Caledonia include:


ItemPrice RangeDescription
Coins$3 and upCommon UNC Francs starts around $3. Mint Sets from the 1960s onward starts around $30. Rare Essais, 1000-piece common UNCs, etc go well into the 100s.
Paper Money$5 and upWWII Francs from the 1940s in VF starts around $5. Large Notes from the 1920s starts around $20. Early Notes in High Grades (XF+) starts around $50. Rare Early UNC banknotes go well into the 100s.

Collectible Memorabilia:

Art and essential oils are typical souvenirs of New Caledonia.


ResourcePrice RangeDescription
Art$10 and up19th century antique prints start around $10. Vintage original works start around $50.
Miscellaneous Collectibles$10 and up20th century historical and vintage local scenes photos start around $10. Cypraea, Cone Shells, Turtle Shell Wall art etc start around $30. Exotic varieties go into the 100s.


Last Updated: 12/2015.

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