Today in Postal History

Cook Islands to England
June 24, 1907

The eight Cook Islands are about 1600 miles northeast of New Zealand.
The islands were discovered by Captain Cook in 1773-1775.
His modesty caused him to name them the Hervey Islands after the First Lord of the Admiralty.
The group became a British protectorate in April, 1888.
The first stamps were issued May 7, 1892.
Rarotonga was the first, and only, post office until 1903
when Mangaia post office was opened on a neighboring island.

This registered cover was mailed from Rarotonga.
There are four Rarotonga CDS.
Registration involved adding a registry handstamp for
COOK ISLANDS | RAROTONGA and a manuscript serial number.
There is also a straightline REGISTERED handstamp.
Of course, the pencilled blue crosses were added front and back.

The routing was through Auckland, New Zealand,
New Zealand handled all the mail to and from the islands.
There is a registry transit for July 5.
There is a partial strike of another registry mark
but I believe it is a mistrike of the Auckland receiver.

The destination of the cover was Birmingham.
There is a Birmingham REGISTERED receiver dated August 15.
On arrival in England, a new registry serial number was assigned and stamped.

The cover is franked with stamps from the 1902 issue
portraying Queen Makea Takau and the white tern.
There is a 5d olive-black, a 10d green, a 6d purple and a 1s carmine (SG 33, 35, 34, and 36).
These high values are quite valuable in used condition.
Gibbons suggests that on-cover examples warrant a multiplier of 4.
I rather suspect that the addressee was a stamp dealer.


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