Tokelau - Travel/Philately/Numismatics/Memorabilia Profile

Tokelau, a set of three tropical coral atolls located in the South Pacific ocean, North of the Samoan Islands and Northwest of the Cook Islands has a total land area of 5 square miles and a population of around 1400.

Travel Resources:


ResourceISBN or ASINBest PriceDescription
Lonely Planet South Pacific978-1864503029$20Tokelau is covered in about 8 pages of this 776 page book.
Universal World Wide Travel Charger Adapter PlugB001MGUB9Q$4

Philatelic Profile:

The first stamps of Tokelau were a set of three stamps released on June 22, 1948 showing local scenes. The set (Scott #1 to #3) catalogs for around a dollar MNH or used. The designs show map and scene on Atafu, Nukunono dwelling and map, and Fakaofo Shore Line and map. The first set was following by a coronation issue that shows a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II (QEII). That stamp (Scott #4) along with a couple of surcharge overprints formed the primary stamp issues of Tokelau during the period till 1969. The sets in the interim all catalog in the $5 range for MNH or used. Tokelau came under New Zealand Administration in 1926. On November 11, 2004, Tokelau and New Zealand took steps to change Tokelau’s status to a self-governing state in free association with New Zealand. Two referendums held after that date were both unsuccessful in approving self-government. 

Other issues of Tokelau enjoying good philatelic interest include:
  1. A set of four stamps released on August 8, 1969 in the History of Tokelau theme. The set (Scott #16 to #19) catalogs for around $5 MNH or used. The designs show allegories representing Tokelau as a British Protectorate (1877), as part of Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony (1916), transfer of administration to New Zealand (1925), and as part of New Zealand Territory (1948).
  2. A set of ten stamps released on December 5, 1984 showing Local Fish. The set (Scott #104 to #113) catalogs for around $8 MNH or used. The designs show manini, hahave, uloulo, ume lhu, lifilafi, fagamea, kakahi, palu po, mokoha, and hakula.
  3. A set of eight stamps released in 1995 showing Handicrafts. The set (Scott #195 to #202) catalogs for around $15 MNH or used. The designs show outrigger canoe, plaited fan, plaited baskets, fishing box, water bottle, fishing hook, coconut gourds, and shell necklace. Tokelau has one of the smallest economies in the world. Main industries are handicrafts, copra, stamps, coins, and fishing. Overseas Tokelauans mainly from New Zealand sending remittances also supports the economy.
  4. A set of four stamps released on December 17, 2001 showing Island Scenery. The set (Scott #298 to #301) catalogs for around $8 MNH or used. The designs show sky over Atafu, waters of Fakaofo, sunrise over Nukunonu Village, and ocean at Nukunonu.
Numismatic Profile:

The first coin of Tokelau was a New Zealand Territory Standard Coinage Copper-Nickel Tala issued in 1978 showing QE bust in Obverse. The issue had a mintage of 10K and catalogs for around $10 in UNC. Since then, Tokelau has released a number of commemorative silver proofs over the years, primarily aimed at the numismatic market. They generally trade at a slight premium over bullion value.

Last Updated: 12/2015.

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