Aitutaki Collectors' Stamps
If you've never heard of Aitutaki, you're probably not alone. One of the Cook Islands, Aitutaki has a population of just over 2000 people, spread out across eight main villages. While the island may not have a lot of wider name recognition, it has a long postal history, a fact which has endeared it to philatelists — particularly those interested in the stamps of Oceania.
Aitutaki in Context
Aitutaki has been inhabited since about 900 AD, when it was settled by indigenous Polynesians. Contact with Europe was first made 1789, when the island was visited by the HMS Bounty on its notorious voyage. Missionaries followed soon after, and the island was one of the first in the region to convert to Christianity. Notably, it is currently home to the oldest church in the Cook Islands.
Another unique facet of Aitutaki's history is that, whereas the rest of the Cook Islands formally requested to become a British colony, it alone was annexed, in 1900. To this day, the Cook Islands, Aitutaki among them, continue to maintain an association with New Zealand.
While Aitutaki is known for its beautiful beaches and lagoons, it is not yet as heavily touristed as other islands in the region, though efforts are being made to change that.
Stamps of Aitutaki
Aitutaki began using Cook Islands stamps in 1892. In 1903, the island also started overprinting New Zealand stamps with the inscription "AITUTAKI," along with the denomination in a variation of the Maori language used at the time.
Two pictorial sets were printed for the island, in 1920 and 1927, though these shared design elements with issues produced for nearby Rarotonga and Niue. Though this led to some geographic inconsistencies (such as an Aitutaki stamp depicting Rarotonga’s Avaruna Waterfront), these stamps remain sought-after by collectors today.
Aitutaki used the Cook Islands' stamps exclusively between 1932 and 1972. This ended with the establishment of a separate Aitutaki postal system, which began producing its own stamps. Though these issues remain valid for use on the island, they are intended primarily for the collectors' market, and have boasted many attractive designs over the years.
Buying Aitutaki Collectors Stamps
Aitutaki collectors' stamps can be found in the Apfelbaum, Inc. online store. We frequently have hard-to-find and rare Aitutaki stamps for sale from both periods of the country's philatelic history. Looking for something in particular? We can help with that, too. Keep browsing our website, or call or email our office for assistance.
Apfelbaum, Inc. will also buy rare Aitutaki stamps. We offer appraisal services and expert advice for anyone who has inherited a collection, or who is interested in selling their own. For more information about our complete list of services, get in touch with one of our representatives today.