In a message to Pacific Study Circle Society members, Bryan Jones, the editor of Pacifica the Society’s journal, has advised that Post Fiji (PF) announced in late September that there would be a “fire sale” of stock from the bird definitive overprints. (Also see: “Perplexed in the Pacific”). He reports that the sale will be made up of forty eight complete sheets of the overprints remaining, and which the Philatelic Bureau had not intended to distribute to Fijian post offices.
Further to my original piece on the Fiji overprints of some months ago, The Pacific Islands Study Circle (PISC) have now reported two new additions to the already large list of overprinted bird definitives. The original definitives were issued in 1995 but due to a severe shortage of postage stamps to cover their postal rates in early 2006, Fiji resorted to overprinting with new denominations the large stocks of these definitives with redundant values. As my article hopefully showed, the overprintings have resulted in a huge number of overprints with new values while at the same time producing a stunningly complex array of varieties and errors. Frankly, they have become a collector’s paradise!
In the latest edition of Pacifica magazine, PISC have announced that two new overprints have been found on the original 44c Purple Swamphen. In January this year they reported that a 6c with lower case triple “x” obliterating the 44c (“xxx”) had been found with an overprinted line measuring 11mm. This combination has not been seen before. More recently a 23c new value, also with triple lower case “x” obliterations appeared. It is thought that this was issued in either March or April. There are currently no further details on the crucial overprinting measurements for this 23c/44c arrangement. Only one other version of this overprint combination – appearing in late 2016 – is known.
As can be imagined, COVID has had a substantial impact on tourism for the Pacific island nations and this has contributed to severe economic difficulties, leading to substantial cutbacks in their issuing of new stamps. It is possible – perhaps probable – that Fiji has responded by further plundering of its old stocks. Some of the original values were never used for the overprintings, perhaps because of insufficient numbers, but I now wonder if more examples might emerge.