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COOK ISLANDS (Rarotonga)

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The Cook Islands consist of: Aitutaki, Niue, Penrhyn and Rarotonga

1892 Stars, inscription 'POSTAGE COOK ISLANDS FEDERATION'

1 1/2 p violet genuine?

  1 p black
  1 1/2 p violet
  2 1/2 p blue
  10 p red

These stamps have perforation 12 1/2.

Value of the stamps

vc = very common
c  = common
*  = not so common
** = uncommon
*** = very uncommon
R   = rare
RR  = very rare
RRR = extremely rare
ValueUnusedUsedRemarks
1 p ******Number of stamps issued: 22870
1 1/2 p ******Number of stamps issued: 16460
2 1/2 p ******Number of stamps issued: 14640
10 pRRNumber of stamps issued: 6230

Postal stationery in the same design:

This postcard is quite rare (only 8643 were printed).

Cancels:

The cancel 'COOK ISLANDS P.O. RAROTONGA' in a circle (see above) seems to be the most common. From 1893 to 1896 the following cancel was used: 'RAROTONGA' in a straight line with the date above or below, the whole in a single circle (RAROTONGA below the date is rare and only used from May to July 1893).

Forgeries:

Example of a Fournier forgery:

2 1/2 p blue, forgery!

The forger Fournier offers forgeries of these stamps in his 1914 pricelist. He offers 3 values only (1 p, 2 1/2 p and 10 p) for 1.50 Swiss Francs. The Fournier forgeries are too small. In 'The Fournier Album of Philatelic Forgeries' these stamps can be found cancelled with the above registration cancel 'REGISTERED 2 SP 92 PALMERSTON' or a numeral cancel '12' with dots at the sides and two lines above and below the '12'. Uncancelled Fournier forgeries can also be found in this album.
I note here that in all the 2 1/2 p Fournier forgeries that I have seen, the lower right corner has a blue vertical line in the ornaments that is not present in the genuine stamps. The other Fournier forgeries of other values do not exhibit this line.

I've seen an imperforate 1 p stamp, forgery?:


(Imperforate stamp)

I've been told that the next forgery has a watermark 'Script Crown CA' (which was never used on the genuine stamps; they have no watermark!). The watermark is larger than the genuine 'Script Crown CA' watermark.


(Forgery with watermark)

A nice site concerning these stamps can be found at: http://home.prcn.org/~pauld/. The number of stamps issued was obtained from this site. The date of issue of all 4 stamps was 19 April 1892 (same source).

 

1892 Queen Makea

2 1/2 p blue

  1 p brown
  1 p blue
  1 p red
  1 1/2 p violet
  2 1/2 p red
  2 1/2 p blue
  5 p olive
  10 p green

Surcharged

  'ONE HALF PENNY' on 1 p blue

Overprinted with a crown

  1 p brown

 

Value of the stamps

vc = very common
c  = common
*  = not so common
** = uncommon
*** = very uncommon
R   = rare
RR  = very rare
RRR = extremely rare
ValueUnusedUsedRemarks
Watermark 'NZ Star', perforation 11 or 11 1/2 x 12
1 p brown****** 
1 p blue**** 
1 1/2 p blue** 
2 1/2 p red****** 
5 p**** 
10 p****** 
1/2 p on 1 p******Exists with double or triple overprint: RRR
'Crown' on 1 p RRRRNumber of stamps issued: 2400
No watermark (1902), perforation 11
1 p red**** 
2 1/2 p blue****** 
Watermark 'NZ Star' (slightly different 1913)
1 p red**Perforated 14 x 15, 11 or 14
1 1/2 p violet****Perforated 14 x 15
2 1/2 p blue****Perforated 11
10 p******Perforated 14 x 15

I have seen a postcard in a similar design (1 p blue).

 

1894 Bird

1/2 p green 6 p lilac 1 Sh red

  1/2 p blue
  1/2 p green
  2 p brown
  6 p lilac
  1 Sh red

The value of these stamps was printed seperately from the stamps, so the value has not always the same position on the stamps. The 2 p exists without value inscription:


(Misprint with no value inscription, only 60 of these misprints were issued)

Value of the stamps

vc = very common
c  = common
*  = not so common
** = uncommon
*** = very uncommon
R   = rare
RR  = very rare
RRR = extremely rare
ValueUnusedUsedRemarks
Watermark 'NZ Star', perforation 11
1/2 p blue**** 
2 p ****With no value inscription: RRR
6 p****** 
1 Sh****** 
No watermark, perforation 11 (1902)
1/2 p green**** 
Watermark 'NZ Star' (slightly different 1913)
1/2 p green**Perforated 11, 14 or 15 x 14
2 p ******Perforated 15 x 14
1 Sh******Perforated 15 x 14


Later issues, inscription 'RAROTONGA'

Rarotonga is the capital of the Cook Islands.

1919 Stamps of New Zealand overprinted 'RAROTONGA' and value


(Reduced size)

  'APA PENE' on 1/2 p green
  'TAI PENE' (blue) on 1 p red
  'TAI PENE E TE APA' (red) on 1 1/2 p orange
  'RUA PENE' (red) on 2 p yellow
  'RUA PENE E TE APA' (red) on 2 1/2 p blue
  'TORU PENE' (blue) on 3 p brown
  'A PENE' (blue) on 4 p violet
  'A PENE E TE APA' (blue) on 4 1/2 p green
  'ONO PENE' (blue) on 6 p red
  'ITU PENE E TE APA' (blue) on 7 1/2 p brown
  'IVA PENE' (red) on 9 p green
  'TAI TIRINGI' (blue) on 1 Sh red

Value of the stamps

vc = very common
c  = common
*  = not so common
** = uncommon
*** = very uncommon
R   = rare
RR  = very rare
RRR = extremely rare
ValueUnusedUsedRemarks
'AVA PENE' on 1/2 p ** 
'TAI PENE' on 1 p** 
'TAI PENE E TE APA' on 1 1/2 p ** 
'RUA PENE' on 2 p** 
'RUA PENE E TE APA' on 2 1/2 p**** 
'TORU PENE' on 3 p****Exists printed on two different types of basic stamps
'A PENE' on 4 p****** 
'A PENE E TE APA' on 4 1/2 p****** 
'ONO PENE' on 6 p**** 
'ITU PENE E TE APA' on 7 1/2 p ****** 
'IVA PENE' on 9 p****** 
'TAI TIRINGI' on 1 Sh ****** 

 

1920 Pictorials

1 Sh violet and black

  1/2 p green and black
  1 p red and black
  1 1/2 p blue and black
  3 p brown and black
  6 p orange and black
  1 Sh violet and black

These stamps have perforation 14.

Value of the stamps

vc = very common
c  = common
*  = not so common
** = uncommon
*** = very uncommon
R   = rare
RR  = very rare
RRR = extremely rare
ValueUnusedUsedRemarks
1/2 p ccAlso exists on paper with watermark 'NZ Star'
1 pccAlso exists on paper with watermark 'NZ Star'
1 1/2 p** 
3 p** 
6 p**** 
1 Sh****** 

Two new stamps with a pictorial design were issued in 1926: 2 1/2 p brown and blue and 4 p violet and green.

 

1921 In 1921 some fiscal stamps of New Zealand were overprinted with 'RAROTONGA' in red or blue

2 Sh blue

  2 Sh blue (overprint red)
  2 Sh 6 p brown (overprint blue)
  5 Sh green (overprint red)
  10 Sh red (overprint blue)
  1 Pound red (overprint blue)

Value of the stamps

vc = very common
c  = common
*  = not so common
** = uncommon
*** = very uncommon
R   = rare
RR  = very rare
RRR = extremely rare
ValueUnusedUsedRemarks
2 ShRR 
2 Sh 6 p****** 
5 ShRR 
10 ShRR 
1 PoundRRRR 

 

From 1932 on new stamps with inscription 'COOK ISLANDS' were issued again, example:


Websites

An excellent site with much more information than I can ever give on the Cook Islands can be found at: http://home.prcn.org/~pauld/ (highly recommended!).


Copyright by Evert Klaseboer

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