In search of Samoa's rare stamps

By Talaia Mika 25 May 2023, 11:00AM

A stamp collector from Newcastle in England has flown over 15,000 kilometers to Samoa to prove his theory that Samoa might have the rarest postage stamps in the world.

Paul Woods in an interview with the Samoa Observer said one of the rarest Samoan stamps was used to seal the deal for the Treaty of Berlin in the 1880s when deciding on Samoa's independence which not many Samoans know much about.

"One of the Treaties of Berlin, and this was a Treaty where all three of the big powers guaranteed independence for Samoa in terms of administration but they also issued these stamps," he said.

"I'm hoping when I'm in Samoa to see if I can find some more of these stamps and they would've been very rare, they would've been used for property deals and property deeds.

"I'm not sure if the Samoan government really knows how rare some of the stamps are in Samoa and until I've got a reasonable value as well, but I want to do some research about the Samoan stamps.

"I've written a variety of articles so far and when I was in New Zealand a few weeks ago, I entered a big stamp exhibition and won a gold medal for stamps which included some Samoan stamps as well. The feedback I got was that I needed some more and better Samoan stamps.

"I found some Samoan stamps from 1891 and that was for the new Supreme Court that was established in Samoa."

Another rare Samoan stamp was used on the deed of Robert Louis Stevenson's sale of the house according to the stamp collector.

"Robert Louis Stevenson's house was sold in 1894 and that will have special stamps put on it to ensure that the tax was being paid on the sale of the property so that's a very rare document and should be in your new RLS museum.

"I visited the RLS museum on Saturday but they didn't seem to have the document there so it must be somewhere but if it could be fun, it's quite important.

Mr. Woods is an accountant by profession. He was the city treasurer of Newcastle before he retired a few years ago.

He then developed an interest in stamps which included stamps from New Zealand and recently the ones from Samoa.

He said he plans to do a thorough research on Samoan stamps to find out the first one ever printed to the rarest one.

Mr. Woods anticipates that the Samoa government is aware of the research of the rare stamps in the country.

"They have some value, they're not worth millions of pounds but they have some valued stamps and I don't think the people of Samoa understand or appreciate that they have some values," he added.

Another rare Samoan stamp was bought for the Supreme Court and was about $3,000 tala which he explained was reasonably valuable based on the cheap cost of living at the time.

He is to visit the new Samoan museum to ask them about the stamps.

When he was in Wellington, New Zealand, he found Samoan stamps from the older administration in the 1920s. These are big sheets of stamps and are worth about $30,000 to $40,000 tala.

Mr. Woods will be in Samoa for three weeks.

By Talaia Mika 25 May 2023, 11:00AM
Samoa Observer

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