Tristan da Cunha - Travel/Philately/Numismatics/Memorabilia Profile

Tristan da Cunha, a remote group of Islands in the South Atlantic Ocean lying 1,750 miles West of South Africa and 2,088 miles East of South America consisting of the main island, and the uninhabited islands of Nightingale Islands, Inaccessible Island, and Gough Island has a total land area of 78 square miles and a population of around 260. Tristan da Cunha, nicknamed as the ‘most remote inhabited location on Earth’ is known for its wildlife. Almost 40% of the country is a nature reserve and its Gaugh Island is a World Heritage Site. Its feathered fauna resembles those found in NewZealand. Around 90 families account for its population. Farming is the major activity. The sectors of its economy are lobster (crayfish) canning and sale of postage stamps.

Travel Resources: 

Tourism exists but advance planning is required to make visiting Tristan a reality. The Tristan da Cunha website is one source and another would be the cruise ships to Antarctica.


ResourceISBN or ASINBest PriceDescription
Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha Bradt Travel Guide978-1841621982$25Tristan da Cunha is covered in about 30 pages of this 216 page book.
Universal World Wide Travel Charger Adapter PlugB001MGUB9Q$4

Philatelic Profile:

The first stamps of Tristan da Cunha were a set of twelve stamps released on January 1, 1952 which were ‘Tristan da Cunha’ overprints on Stamps of Saint Helena during the period from 1938 to 1949. The set (Scott #1 to #12) catalogs for around $115 MNH and around $100 for used. This issue was followed by the Coronation Common Design Type on June 2, 1953 and that stamp is inexpensive cataloging for less than a dollar. The first original issues of Tristan da Cunha were a set of fourteen stamps released between 1954 and 1958 showing local scenes. The set (Scott #14 to #27) catalogs for around $115 MNH and around $50 used. The designs show Tristan crayfish, carting flax, rockhopper penguin, factory, mollymauk, Island boat, vew of Tristan, potato patches, Inaccessible Island, Nightingale Island, Saint Mary’s Church, elephant seal, flightless rail, and Island Spinning Wheel. Couple of other sets in the Fish theme followed in 1960 and 1961 and both those sets (Scott #28 to #41 and #42 to #54) are valued high cataloging in the $70 range. Tristan da Cunha is part of the British Overseas Territory of Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha.

Other issues of Tristan da Cunha enjoying good philatelic interest include:
  1. A set of four stamps issued on May 1, 1974 showing Rockhopper Penguins. The set (Scott #191 to #194) catalogs for around $15 MNH and around $10 used. The designs show rockhopper penguin, colony, penguins fishing, and penguin and fledgling.
  2. A set of twelve stamps released on February 3, 1994 showing Ships. The set (Scott #535 to #546) catalogs for around $30 MNH or used. The designs show Duchess of Atholl (1929), Empress of Australia (1935), Anatolia (1937), Viceroy of India (1939), Rangitata (1943), Caronia (1950), Rotterdam (1960), Leonardo da Vinci (1972), Vistafjord (1974), World Discoverer (1984), Astor (1984), and RMS Saint Helena (1992). Tristan da Cunha has issued a number of sets in the Ships theme over the years and all of them enjoy premium valuation. They have also issued unique First Day Covers that feature signatures from the head of the major families in the island. Valuations are unpredictable for such issues however.
Numismatic Profile:

The first coin of Tristan da Cunha was a St. Helena Dependency Standard Coinage (25 Pence = 1 Crown, 4 Crowns = 1 Pound) 25 Pence Copper-Nickel coin issued in 1977 showing QE bust in Obverse and Boat and Rock in Reverse. The issue has mintage of 50K and catalogs for around $5 in UNC. The first gold coin was a 1.4001 troy ounce 50 Pence Gold Proof with very low mintage (75) issued in 1987 to mark the 40th wedding anniversary of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. The issue showed Crowned Head in Obverse and Crowned Initials with a flower design in Reverse. The issue has very low mintage (75) and catalogs at a slight premium over bullion value. Tristan da Cunha has issued a number of commemorative coins over the years for the numismatic market.

Collectible Memorabilia:

Calendars, clothing and wooden handicrafts are the keepsakes from Tristan.


ResourcePrice RangeDescription
Miscellaneous Collectibles$2 and upFlags, Key Chains, Postcards, etc start around $2.

Last Updated: 12/2015.

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