Home Historic Stamp issues inscribed: " Etablissements Français de l'Océanie " Français View Cart
Before 1862 Usage of stamps of the universal issues for the French Colonies without special Indication of the country of origin
1862 - 1892 Usage of the same stamp issues with local overprint
1892 - 1958 Stamp issues inscribed: `Etablissements Français de l`Océanie`
From 1958 Stamp issues inscribed: `Polynésie Française`
  Stamp issues inscribed: `Etablissements Français de l`Océanie`
Mechanical obliteration with slogan text of 1952.
The "Andromède" arriving at Papeete, circa 1954. The arrival of mail from France every six weeks, sometimes every two months, was one of the great local events. The officials are waiting for on the quay. The quick unlading of the mail will be one of the first preoccupations of the boatswain.
The Papeete Post Office in 1950.
Papeete Post office in 1915
Papeete Post office in 1902
Mr. Henry LEMASSON, who first organized the Postal services in Tahiti.
  In 1892, the first set of specific stamps for French Oceania was issued. The design was still a universal one for the French Colonies showing an allegorical representation of Trade and Commerce, but there was a small tablet at the foot of the stamp, in which the name of the territory could be printed.
The first really distinctive pictorial stamps appeared in 1913. The three different designs represent respectively the head of a young Tahitian girl, a scene with two Tahitian men, and a view of the valley of Fautaua. The designs were taken from sketches by Henry Lemasson, who was postmaster of Papeete during two periods between 1896 and 1920, and to whom Tahiti owes its postal organization.
Rate changes and stamp shortages necessitated the issue of several provisional overprints and color changes during the period 1915­1926. Furthermore, the first world war led to the issue of several stamps with surtax for the benefit of the French Red Cross.
These were made by overprinting existing values with a red cross and the surtax value of 5 Centimes. As originally these overprints were manufactured locally and without the meticulous care characteristic of the specialized stamp printing works in Paris, there are many varieties, such as inverted overprints, defective, wrong or inverted letters etc.
No need to say that these varieties are much sought after by philatelists, especially as their position in the overprinting block is usually known. A final red cross stamp was printed in Paris without faults.
A new series of definitive postage stamps, less old­fashioned than the former but still printed in photogravure and thus lacking the refined splendour of modern engraved stamps, was issued in 1934.
Within a frame composed of an ornamental border, evidently inspired by Tahitian designs, the three different designs show more native scenes: spear­fishing in the lagoon, a Tahitian girl on the beach, and carved wooden statues.
These stamps, with some new values and color changes, continued to be used until the second world war.
When in 1940 France had conceded to an armistice with the German invaders and the government under Marshall Pétain had been installed in Vichy, many French Overseas Territories did not recognize the capitulation of France and its political consequences.
In London, General De Gaulle organized a resistance movement comprising those territories which, under Free French Administration, joined the activities of other similar exile governments.
In August 1940, a plebiscite was held in French Oceania with the result that, by an overwhelming majority of votes, the territory decided to join the Free French Movement. The Governor of Tahiti was repatriated and a new one appointed. Connections between Tahiti and metropolitan France were practically disrupted.
From the philatelic point of view, the consequences of this situation were rather curious. In France, the Vichy Government continued to print and sell stamps for French Oceania which could never be postally used. In Tahiti, existing supplies of stamps were locally overprinted "FRANCE LIBRE" and in 1942 a complete set of regular postage and airmail stamps, designed by Edmond Dulac and printed in England by Harrisson and Sons, was even placed on sale.
  From left to bottom: * 1884 postmark * 1901 postmark * 1907 postmark * 1914 postmark
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