Tuvalu News

Locally Designed Tuvalu Stamps a First in Many Ways

Brian Cannon
Tuvalu Online - 4 July 2002

The Tuvalu Post Office and Philatelic Bureau released a new stamp set on May 8, 2002, commemorating UNICEF and the Convention and the Rights of the Child. This set was issued to coincide with the United Nations Special Session on Children that took place in New york on May 8-10, 2002.

Among the Tuvaluan delegates who participated in the session were two young ladies, 12 year-old Taulosa Karl, and 17 year-old Simalua Jacinta Enele. This is the first time Tuvaluan children have participated in such an event of international importance. A portrait of each of the young Tuvaluans appear on two $1.00 stamps that were issued side-by-side in a small attractive souvenir sheet. The background of the sheet displays two young boys playing on a World war II relic in the Funafuti lagoon, left by the Americans after defending the islands from Japanese invasion.

Four other values were also issued in the set: 40c, 60c, 90c and $1.50.

The 40c stamp depicts a youth in a wheelchair, and portrays the significance of accessible health under the Convention of the Rights of the Child.

The 60c stamp pictures a young girl and boy and was issued to convey non-discrimination and the right to freedom of expression of children.

The 90c stamp portrays the importance of education and depicts Nauti Primary School on Funafuti, the capital of Tuvalu.

The $1.50 stamp stresses the importance of family for children and depicts a woman holding her young son.

This set of six stamps was the first ever to be completely designed in Tuvalu, by Tuvaluans. Marica Seluka, who is the Marketing Manager of the Tuvalu Philatelic Bureau, is credited with the colourful designs. The actual photographs were supplied by a local professional photographer on Funafuti, Iakopo Moloti (his wife and son appear on the $1.50 stamp).

These stamps are also the first Tuvaluan stamps that are not distinctly inscribed with the country name. The name Tuvalu only appears in the motto Tuvalu mo te Atua, in the small reproduction of the country's coat-of-arms on each stamp. A magnifying glass is required to see it clearly.

According to Ms. Seluka, the lack of the country name was pointed out during the initial approval of the designs and it was not to late to add it - however it was decided that the stamps had a good balance and very "Tuvaluan" look to them, especially with the distinctive coat-of-arms, well known around the South Pacific. The final designs were sent to the printer, and an excellent product came back, which has been well received by Philatelic Bureau customers.

It may be noted that Tuvalu inscribed it's name in another unusual way on another set, the Dot TV issue of 2001. All four stamps and the souvenir sheet were marked www.tuvalu.tv, the URL of the only ISP in the country. Tuvalu was the first country in the world to do this.

Link: Images and order form for UNICEF and the Convention of the rights of the Child stamps

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