21st November 2023 From Tonga to Togo – Dave Hutchins

On Tuesday November21st 2023, Banbury Stamp Society welcomed Dave Hutchins who gave a presentation titled ‘From Tonga to Togo’.

Dave started with Tonga – a Pacific Island group.  The first stamps issued in 1886 had the head of King George Tupou I, who created the monarchy in 1875. A new issue followed in 1892 and we saw both the original stamps and subsequent overprints and surcharges. George II took the throne in 1893 with a definitive issue and then a long running pictorial issue in 1897.

George II was followed by Queen Salote who had a set of stamps bearing her portrait.  She became well known in Great Britain after she attended the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.  We took a detour to one of the more remote islands, Niuafo’ou.  Lack of mooring for ships meant that mail was dropped off in tin cans and collected by swimmers or canoes.  Mail was endorsed as ‘tin can mail’ and became popular with collectors.

Tonga was an early adopter of self-adhesive stamps, often in unusual shapes and colours – including bananas. Dave then proposed links between Tonga, a Pacific Island, and Togo, a West African country.  One was that Tonga briefly became known as Toga and so there were examples of mail misdirected to both countries.  Togo was a German colony and its first stamps were German issues identified by a Togo postmark, followed by Colonial ‘Yacht’ stamps. Anglo-French occupation in WWI started with ‘Yacht’ overprints and then overprinted British and French stamps.

After WWI, Togo became a French colony with its own issue.  Autonomy in 1955 and independence in 1960 were marked with new stamp issues.

Next presentation: ‘Danzig a Miscellany’. 7:30pm on Tuesday December 12th 2023,  Hanwell Fields Community Centre. The Banbury Stamp Society is on-line at ‘www.banburystampsociety.co.uk’, or contact John Davies on 01295 255831.