Fish Definitives: 1979-1983

Updated: May 4, 2010

1979 Fish

The very attractive fish definitives were place on sale in Tuvalu on January 24, 1979. The original set consisted of 18 values. A surcharge and an additional value followed later. There were several reprints, and subsequently six values exist with two distinct border types. In 1981, all values were overprinted OFFICIAL, for use on government mail. Two types of overprints were used, and these, in combination with the border types, produced many very interesting collectable varieties. The overall printing quality of the stamps was quite poor, and therefore many constant flyspeck varieties exist. There are so many, that it is possible to "plate" complete sheets of most values from single stamps.

| 1c | 2c | 4c | 5c | 6c | 8c | 10c | 15c | 20c | 25c | 30c | 35c | 40c | 45c | 50c | 70c | $1 | $2 | $5 | 45 on 50c |

Sheet Format:  See illustrations and details
  • Printed in sheets of 38 with horizontal and vertical gutters and 2 labels
  • Booklet panes of 4 from above sheets
  • Different values paired together during printing

Border Types:  See illustrations and details
  • Fine Screen: (Original set)
    1c, 2c, 4c, 5c, 6c, 8c, 10c, 20c, 30c, 40c, 70c, $1, $2, $5
  • Coarse Screen: (Original set)
    15c, 25c, 35c, 50c
  • Coarse Screen: (Reprints)
    1c, 5c, 8c, 10c, 30c, 40c, 45c new value

Surcharge Types:  See illustrations and details
  • Typographed 45c on 50c
  • Lithographed 45c on 50c

Official Types:  See illustrations and details
  • Typograph Overprint
  • Lithograph Overprint

Constant Varieties: See illustrations and details
  • 10c, 25c, 40c: Broken Frame Line (coarse screen only)
  • 1c: Broken "Q": (fine screen only)
  • 10c: Dot over "Moimoi"
  • 45c: Bleeding Fish New
  • 45c: Frame Scratch New
  • 45c: Frame Line Flaw below "Cod" New
  • 50c: Plate Scratch
  • 50c: Broken "0" New
  • $5: Spur on 5:

The following table lists the known types of all stamps, basic and officials:
Value Basic Stamps   Official Overprints
Fine Coarse Fine Coarse
Typo Litho Typo Litho
1c H  
2c H        
4c H        
5c H        
6c H      
8c H    
10c H    
15c H          
20c H        
25c H      
30c H    
35c H          
40c H    
45c/50c H          
45c H        
50c H        
70c V      
$1 V      
$2 V      
$5 V      
Totals: 14 9 12 5 7 6
Technical Details
Date of Issue: 1979-01-24; 1981-06-16 (45c D03-14)
Designer: Gordon Drumond
Printer: Format Security Printers
Perforation: 14 x 14
Process: 4 or 5 Colour Lithography
Paper: Unwatermarked
Format: Sheets of 38 with horizontal and vertical gutters
Size: 43.5mm x 28.5mm (H), 28.5 x 43.5 (V)
Specimen overprints exist for all basic values except the 45c surcharge and the Official overprints.

BRC# Value Description Scott S.G. Qty Spec
D03-1 1c Squirrelfish, Fine Screen 96 105  
  a) Coarse Screen       No
D03-2 2c Yellow-Band Goatfish, Fine Screen 97 106  
D03-3 4c Imperial Angelfish, Fine Screen 98 107  
D03-4 5c Rainbow Butterfly, Fine Screen 99 108  
D03-5 6c Blue Angelfish, Fine Screen 100 109  
D03-6 8c Blue-striped Snapper, Fine Screen 101 110  
  a) Coarse Screen       No
D03-7 10c Orange Clownfish, Fine Screen 102 111  
  a) Coarse Screen       No
D03-8 15c Chevron Coralfish, Coarse Screen 103 112  
D03-9 20c Fairy Cod, Fine Screen 104 113  
D03-10 25c Clown Triggerfish, Coarse Screen 105 114  
D03-11 30c Long-nosed Butterfly, Fine Screen 106 115  
  a) Coarse Screen       No
D03-12 35c Yellowfin Tuna, Coarse Screen 107 116  
D03-13 40c Spotted Eagle Ray, Fine Screen 108 117  
  a) Coarse Screen       No
D03-14 45c Black-tip Rock Cod,
Coarse Screen Type C2
108A 117b 6,000
  a) Coarse Screen Type C2A     12,000
  b) Coarse Screen Type C2B     500
  c) Coarse Screen Type C2C     500
  d) Coarse Screen Type C3     19,000
D03-15 50c Hammerhead Shark, Coarse Screen 109 118  
D03-16 70c Lionfish, Fine Screen 110 119  
D03-17 $1 Barred Triggerfish, Fine Screen 111 120  
D03-18 $2 Beaked Coralfish, Fine Screen 112 121  
D03-19 $5 Tiger Shark, Fine Screen 113 122  

The only printing quantities known for the regular issue is 38,000 of 45c stamp, which includes all varieties
(500 sheets each of Plate 1A and Plate 1B, total 1000 sheets)
Date of Issue: 1981-01-19
BRC# Value Description Scott S.G. Qty
D03-20 45c 45c on 50c Hammerhead
Coarse Screen, Typographed Overprint
-- 157a 14,000
  a) Lithographed Overprint 150 157 56,000

The booklets consist of left marginal blocks of 4 torn from the regular sheets.
Single stamps or panes are therefore indistinguishable as separate varieties.

Date of Issue: 1980-02-20
4 x 8c, 4 x 20c, 4 x 30c, 4 x 40c

Date of Issue: 1981-06-16
4 x 10c, 4 x 25c, 4 x 35c, 4 x 45c
Date of Issue: 1981-07-02
BRC# Value Description Scott S.G. Qty
O1.1 1c Fine Screen, Typo overprint O1 O1 56,000
  a) Coarse Screen, Typo overprint     Incl.
  b) Coarse Screen, Litho overprint   O1a Unknown
O1.2 2c Fine Screen, Typo overprint O2 O2 55,000
O1.3 4c Fine Screen, Typo overprint O3 O3 55,000
O1.4 5c Coarse Screen, Typo overprint O4 O4 55,000
O1.5 6c Fine Screen, Typo overprint O5 O5 38,000
  a) Fine Screen, Litho overprint   O5a Unknown
O1.6 8c Fine Screen, Typo overprint O6 O6 76,000
  a) Coarse Screen, Typo overprint     Incl.
O1.7 10c Fine Screen, Typo overprint O7 O7 59,000
  a) Coarse Screen, Litho overprint   O7a Unknown
O1.8 15c Coarse Screen, Typo overprint O8 O8 55,000
O1.9 20c Fine Screen, Typo overprint O9 O9 76,000
O1.10 25c Coarse Screen, Litho overprint O10 O10 Unknown
  a) Coarse Screen, Typo overprint   O10a 5,000
O1.11 30c Fine Screen, Typo overprint O11 O11 57,000
  a) Coarse Screen, Typo overprint     Incl.
O1.12 35c Coarse Screen, Litho overprint O12 O12 Unknown
O1.13 40c Coarse Screen, Typo overprint O13 O13 60,000
  a) Fine Screen, Typo overprint     Incl
O1.14 45c Coarse Screen Type C2, Litho overprint O14 O14 6,600
  a) Coarse Screen Type C2A, Litho overprint     13,200
  b) Coarse Screen Type C2B, Litho overprint     550
  b) Coarse Screen Type C2C, Litho overprint     550
  c) Coarse Screen Type C3, Litho overprint     20,900
O1.15 50c Coarse Screen, Litho overprint O15 O15 Unknown
O1.16 70c Fine Screen, Typo overprint O16 O16 47,000
  a) Fine Screen, Litho overprint   O16a Unknown
O1.17 $1 Fine Screen, Typo overprint O17 O17 51,000
  a) Fine Screen, Litho overprint   O17a Unknown
O1.18 $2 Fine Screen, Typo overprint O18 O18 45,000
  a) Fine Screen, Litho overprint   O18a Unknown
O1.19 $5 Fine Screen, Typo overprint O19 O19 55,000
  a) Fine Screen, Litho overprint   O19a Unknown
  • The 5c coarse screen is not known to exist without the OFFICIAL overprint.
  • Stanley Gibbons catalogue lists the 30c Official with a litho overprint as O11a, but it's existence is questionable.
  • There was a total of 41,800 of the 45c Official stamps printed (550 sheets each of Plate 1A and Plate 1B, total 1,100 sheets)
  • The quantities printed for the lithographed versions of the other values were never released.
  • See information on quantities printed.

1979 Fish | Page 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 |  



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