Penrhyn Island - Travel/Philately/Numismatics/Memorabilia Profile

Penrhyn, the largest atoll of the 15 Cook Islands in the South Pacific Ocean has a total land area of 35 square miles and a population of 200. This tiny island of 200 and odd people is heavily dependent on the ocean for survival. Black pearl farming is the biggest contributor to the economy. Their soft and white Rito hats (made from coconut leaves) are famous world over. Coconut, breadfruit, and fish are the main ingredients of their diet.

Philatelic Profile:

The first stamps of Penrhyn Island were a set of six stamps released in 1902 that were surcharge overprints on stamps of New Zealand. The set (Scott #1 to #2, #5 to #6, and #8 to #9) catalogs for around $15 mint and over $50 for used. Penrhyn Island overprints on New Zealand were the only stamps issued in Penrhyn Island during the period till 1920. The sets (Scott #10 to #12, #13 to #16, and #17 to #24) are sought after and catalog upwards of $50 for mint and over $100 for used. The first original issues of Penrhyn Island were a set of six stamps released in 1920 showing historical scenes. The set (Scott #25 to #30) catalogs for around $30 mint and around $120 used. The designs show Landing of Captain Cook, Avarua Waterfront, Portrait of Captain James Cook, coconut palm, Arorangi Village at Rarotonga, and Avarua Harbor. Stamps of Cook Islands were used in Penrhyn Island during the period from 1932 to 1973.

 Penrhyn Island issued a set of twelve stamps in 1973 which were ‘Penrhyn Northern Cook Islands’ overprints on issues of Cook Islands. The set (Scott #35 to #46) catalogs for around $7 MNH and around $10 used. A set issued to mark the wedding of Princess Anne and Captain Mark Philips on November 14, 1973 also features this overprint. That set (Scott #47 to #49) is inexpensive and catalog in the dollar range.

Other issues of Penrhyn Island enjoying good philatelic interest include:
  1. A set of fourteen stamps released between 1974 and 1975 in the Marine theme. The set (Scott #50 to #63) is sought after and catalogs for around $30 MNH and around $20 used. The denominations through $1 show various fish types of Penrhyn, the $2 denomination feature and aerial view of Penrhyn Atoll, and the $5 denomination display a map showing Penrhyn’s location. Stamps of Penrhyn Island from this set onwards feature a fluorescent security underprinting that combines a sailing ship, the inscription “Penrhyn Northern Cook Islands”, and stars.
  2. A long set of nineteen stamps released in 1984 featuring Canoes, Boats, and Ships. The set (Scott #268 to #286) catalogs for around $60 MNH or used. The designs show Waka Canoe,  Amatasi Fishing Boat, Ndrua Canoe, Tongiaki Canoe, Victoria 1500, Golden Hind 1560, Boudeuse 1760, Bounty 1787, Astrolabe 1811, Great Republic 1853, Star of India 1861, Coonatto 1863, Antiope 1866, Balcutha 1886, Cap Hornier 1910, Pamir 1921, Mermerus 1872, Cutty Sark 1869, and Resolution Discovery.
  3. A long set of seventeen stamps released between 1993 and 1998 in the Marine Life theme. The set (Scott #420 to #435A) catalogs for around $50 MNH and around $40 for used. The designs show helmet shell, Daisy coral, hydroid coral, feather star, sea star, Nudibranch, smooth sea star, black pearl oyster, Pyjama Nudibranch, prickly sea cucumber, organ pipe coral, aeolid nudibranch, textile cone shell, etc.
  4. A set of four stamps released on February 24, 2003 in the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) theme. The set (Scott #462 to #465) catalogs for around $7 MNH or used. The designs show various photographs of Ocean Sunfish.
Numismatic Profile: 

Penrhyn Island uses the currency of New Zealand.

Last Updated: 12/2015.

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