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Christmas Island Local Stamps

Local Post stamps were use on the privately owned Christmas Island, from 1916 to 1938.

The British government took posession of Christmas Island in 1888. In 1902, the island was leased to Lever Brothers' Pacific Plantations Ltd, upon which a large cocoanut plantation was established. In 1913 the lease was transferred to a London-registered company called Central Pacific Cocoanut Plantations, which was headed by Emmanuel Rougier, a former Catholic priest from New Caledonia. It is said he acquired the money from a wealthy, falsely convicted, escaped prisoner in New Caledonia.

In 1919, Britain attached Christmas Island to the Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony, but did not open a post office.

In order to defray the cost of carrying mail from the island on his company ships, Rougier issued a postal label depicting one of his schooners, the Isabel May. It was actually issued in 1916, 3 years before Christmas Island became part of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands. The original stamp had a face value of 5c, which covered local delivery or that to the next port of call. However, stamps of the country of the sailed port had to be affixed for onward transfer. Most went through Papeete, Tahiti and thus had French Oceanic Settlements stamps added. By 1926, the rate had increased to 10c and new stamps were issued in that value.

In 1939 the Gilbert and Ellice Islands finally opened a post office which sold colony stamps valid for international mail.

Christmas Island Local 5c Christmas Island Local 10c

Christmas Island Local cover
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