Today in Postal History


Fiji to New Caledonia
November 16, 1898

This cover was postmarked with three CDS of the G.P.O. in Suva, the capital of Fiji.
Suva is on the southeastern side of Viti Levu, the largest island in Fiji,
at 18° 8' S and 178° 25' E about 2,000 km north of New Zealand.

The cover is neatly addressed to Monsieur Auguste Benoit in Nouméa, Nouvelle Caledonia.
Nouméa is the capital on the southwest coast of the island of
New Caledonia at 22° 16' S and 166° 27 E 1000 km or so west of Suva.

There are no other markings on the front.

I have no scan of the rear to tell whether there are arrival marks there or not.

A Consular Post Office was established in 1858.
The first Fijian stamps were typeset and printed by the Fiji Times in 1870.

In 1871, King Cakobau established a formal government
for Fiji and issued stamps for the royal post office.
In 1874, Great Britain finally accepted King Cakobau's
offer to cede Fiji and Fiji became a Crown Colony.
Existing stamps were overprinted with V. R.
and were in use until new issues were printed in 1878.

The cover is franked with an 1892 ½d slate gray and a 1891 2+d chocolate (SG 76 and 79).

I'm not satisfied with those choices for the colors but Gibbons lists slate grey,
pale grey, and greenish slate for the ½d while Scott uses greenish black.
The 2½d color choices are chocolate, brown, yellowish brown,
ultramarine (an error), and yellow brown, while Scott is content with red brown.
The selected colors are the ones my color consultant chose when given the alternatives.

To compound the problem, the Gibbons color choices have
different perforations which I cannot determine from the scan.
Gibbons uses the term "nearly 12" to describe one of the perforations.
I don't recall that being used elsewhere.


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