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Tokelau Islands, .... WHAT ???

 
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cdj1122
Machin Man


Joined: 08 Jul 2007
Posts: 953
Location: Houston, Texas pending eye surgery

PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 2:17 pm    Post subject: Tokelau Islands, .... WHAT ??? Reply with quote

I posted this story on the Stamp Board site and thought I also put it here. Perhaps I did and just cannot find it, in which case I will cancel one of the postings. Or, being forgetful, I may have set it up and forgot to click the "SUBMIT" button, something that has happened to me before.
.
Anyway the topic on Stamp Boards was a question about how one got interested in the hobby. So here goes.
*******************************************************

I am retired, living in Florida on what we call the Nature Coast, a few miles from the Gulf of Mexico. That is the state's West Coast just north of Tampa Bay. This is a somewhat rural area with most homes on acre or larger pieces of property. Quite a few of the families here have farms or ranches. The area is semi-tropical and while not as hot as Miami in the south, it is seldom cold enough to require more than a flannel shirt or sweater.
My wife and I will be celebrating our 42nd wedding anniversary this year. We moved to Florida twenty-three years ago with our six children who are now, finally all grown and some are off on their own. We now have twelve grandchildren aged 13 down to an infant some of whom live with us in what is a moderately large house, with more on the way. The youngsters keep things going for us and provide great pleasure for my wife and me.


I started collecting stamps as a young boy probably at the age of eight or so. My parents collected stamps during the early years of their marriage which was during the Great Depresson (1929-1939) . During World War II they did not have the time to sit and collect things in the evenings but continued to accumulate any stamps that they came upon in the mails. Unlike today almost all the mail bore real stamps which could be saved by a collector.
After the War ended they continued their collection, moving stamps from old pages and binders into a New Scott Blue International Album which they had bought in the late '40s. Believe it or not, that one three inch wide album had spaces just about all the stamps of the world to date.
I think it gave them some time to sit calmly and do something together and involve my brothers and me in a quiet family activity. Even when they were too busy to soak and mount stamps, they continued to accumulate anything that came their way on the corners of envelopes. I remember them also getting bundles of stamps that had been saved by friends and relatives from envelopes that they received. Most were United States stamps but enough were from other countries to make it interesting for a young boy to search a globe and world atlas for their source.
By the time I was about eight years old I had my own small album and often received small packets as a birthday or X-mas gifts. In those days you could buy an inexpensive packet of used worldwide stamps in the very common Woolworths or SS Kresge "Five and Ten Cent Stores" . Sometimes they had a cloth bag on sale with world wide mixtures for probably $0.25, so I am sure that that was where I actually bought stamps myself for the first time.



In those days there were many small stamp dealers with neighborhood stores everywhere. Schools had student stamp clubs as an after school activity. Dealers had boxes of penny stamps that a young collector could spend his allowance on.
Then about age ten or twelve I discovered that girls were for more than pulling ponytails or shooting spitballs at and the stamp albums were eventually put aside, but as my parents had done, I continued to accumulate whatever I found in the mails.
But after college and a four year stint in the US Coast Guard, I joined the Merchant Marine. One rainy afternoon, about 1963-4, I was home for a few days between trips to Germany, the UK and back when I noticed both my old albums and the Blue Scott's International on a nearby shelf. As I idly began to look through the albums and the piles of stamps that had been accumulated in a desk drawer something interesting caught my attention.
There were spaces for three stamps from the Tokelau Islands on one page.
.


Now, few people other than collectors have ever heard of the Tokelau Islands and even less have ever been there. However for about three years I had been stationed on the CGC Buttonwood (WAGL-306) a small 180' long US Coast Guard cutter homeported in Honolulu, Hawaii. Most of the time this vessel sailed the Western and South Pacific on five and six month cruises, visiting many of the Trust Territory Islands, the Philippines, Japan, Hong Kong, Okinawa and even American Samoa as well as many of the other atolls and islands in between.


180' Coast Guard Cutter at sea.
.
On one trip after visiting Pago Pago, American Samoa, for a couple of weeks, the Captain met some missionaries who were desirous of transport to the Tokelau Islands. Apparently there was only an occasional supply ship that would call there and they would have had to wait for several weeks for the next to arrive in Samoa and run that way. When we departed for Honolulu we took them aboard and sailed north to the three atolls bearing that name, stopping for a short time at each one. If I remember correctly the trip to the Tokelaus took about two days as the CG cutter seldom exceeded 12 knots, unless the wind was behind us. These atolls were more or less on the route we were going to follow north anyway, stopping at Tarawa, Howland Island, Baker Island and some other isolated and often unpopulated islands.


A cutter in Apia Harbor
.
The Tokelaus are small atolls about a day or so steaming north of Samoa, so isolated that they are not visible from one another and certainly removed from almost anywhere else. The three stamps each referred to one of the islands and showed some aspect of native life. There was no harbor to speak of so we had to maintain power while the natives came out to the ship with shells and wooden poi bowls to sell or trade. They used small canoe-like boats and many, both children and young adults, male as well as female, were either naked or nearly so. I am sure that the missionaries put an end to that in short order. After a brief stop at each island during which our passengers debarked in our landing craft, we went on our way to other equally remote islands that are seldom in the news.
Looking at the spaces for the Tokelaus got me to delve further into the albums, both the stamps we had accumulated and the intriguining open spaces. A day or so later I went into New York City to rejoin the USNS Geiger for its next trip across the pond and stopped at Macy's Department Store in New York City. Since this was some fifteen or more years after the date of the old blue Scott Album I realized that a new album was needed. I bought a large new H.E. Harris Citation album for the envelopes that were stuffed with the newer stamps that had been aquired by my parents over the previous ten or fifteen years. An envelope of Dennison Hinges and a couple of World Wide packets found their way into my shopping bag also. On the trip back to my parents home on Long Island I kept looking through the things I had bought and the thrill that stamp collectors often feel made the ride an adventure.
.
That Album accompanied me to sea from then on growing into two thick albums as I found stamp stores and dealer all ove the world. I even had an extra lifejacket with a ten foot long lanyard and two sealable plastic bags ready in my compartment for emergencies. Fortunately they were never needed.


Section of the South Pacific

That epipany was about 1964 and I have been an active collector ever since. A few years later at a stamp bourse I met a dealer who had removed just about all the stamps from a 15 volume set of Minkus Supreme Global Stamp albums, so I bought them all for about $35.00. I still use the Minkus set today for my basic world wide albums although I have added four or five more binders to hold more pages, and have eight Scotts binders for a second World Wide collection I started for the duplicates that seemed to grow almost by themselves, too good to throw out, but not better than what I have.
During those years I have never regretted becoming a stamper. I found stamp stores in Istanbul, Beirut, Aden, Calcutta and Bombay, Singapore, Manila and Kaoshung, Guam and Saigon as well as all over Europe and of course the USA ports where my ships stopped. I met even more stamp collectors and maintained a correspondence with some for years after I visited their country.
Today, my child's Worldwide Stamp Album has grown into a room in the house set aside mostly for stamps, albums, shoeboxes, file drawers, stock books, catalogs and informational books about the hobby.
Over the years I have pulled several countries stamps from the World Wide Albums and began to put them on my own pages dedicated to that country.
My interest in Machins came from a deep interest in the earlier Wildings with their graphite lines, phosphor bands and revolving watermarks, then, like Topsey, "dey jes grew an' grew".
On a trip to the Far East I had become friends with another collector who showed me his Gibbons catalog and was able to explain the intricacies of the Wilding series, fortunately just before I tossed a bunch of seeming duplicates overboard. On another trip the ship's Radio Operator had an extensive and quite valueable collection of Newfoundland as well as the classic US Air Mails along with him.
At first the Machins had seemed so plain and potentially boring. I had extensive collections built up of Norse Posthorns, Chinese Junks and Reapers, the Wildings and some other long definitive series. On a long trip to Ceylon and back I accumulated bundles of the Crown Agents Key Plate types from three dealers in Columbo, Beirut and Aden. Then the Machins began to come fast and furious with their seeming infinite variations. Who could resist ?
I have often bought catalogs from other countries as they provide much more information that Scott does. Other books that explore some detailled aspect of philately including an almost complete set of Billigs Handbooks have come my way. There is really no limit to where the hobby can take the collector.
.
Charlie
Lecanto, Florida
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" .... You may think you understood what you thought I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you think you heard is not what I thought I meant. .... "
Charlie Jensen
Lecanto, Florida


Last edited by cdj1122 on Tue Nov 16, 2010 12:00 am; edited 1 time in total
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jugoslavija_post
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2010 3:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are you a member on StampBoards.com?
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cdj1122
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Joined: 08 Jul 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2010 1:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, although I do not get to that site very often.
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Lecanto, Florida
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BCNumismatics
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 11:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Tokelau Islands are one country that does not put out very many stamps,unlike a lot of the Pacific Islands,such as New Zealand.

Aidan.
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Aidan Work.

You can see my postal order photos here; http://www.allnumis.com , http://www.banknotebank.com/collection/BCNumismatics ,& http://www.notebrag.com .

Please let me know what you think.
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cdj1122
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 12:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BCNumismatics wrote:
The Tokelau Islands are one country that does not put out very many stamps,unlike a lot of the Pacific Islands,such as New Zealand.

Aidan.

I doubt that any recent Tokelau stamps ever were on any one of the three atolls. In fact there is probably not even a post office there at all. It seems that all recent stamps from these islands are cancelled in Western Samoa or New Zealand proper.
In over forty yearts I have only one cover that might, accent on might, have been cancelled on one of the Tokelaus.
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Lecanto, Florida
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Gooner
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2010 1:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Apparently there is a post office on at least one of the islands Charlie.
Quote:
Fakaofo is the atoll closest to Samoa. Some 400 people live on tiny 4.5-hectare Fale Island, which is well shaded by breadfruit trees. The two-story administration building on Fale housing the transportation office, police station, post office, and village store was completed in 1989.


Or at least was in 1989.... http://www.tokelau.southpacific.org/islands/fakaofo.html
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cdj1122
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Joined: 08 Jul 2007
Posts: 953
Location: Houston, Texas pending eye surgery

PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2010 12:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You give me hope;
Quote:
" .... The two-story administration building on Fale housing the transportation office, police station, post office, and village store was completed in 1989. ..."


I guess I should start looking for some genuine postally used copies of some Tokelaus stamps again, or even a genuine cover properly stamped and cancelled that perhaps carried a real letter to a real person somewhere.
While I occasionally check different auction sites, I had actually given up hope of finding any truely genuine examples that were not philatelicly inspired and could be jammed into my budget.
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" .... You may think you understood what you thought I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you think you heard is not what I thought I meant. .... "
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Lecanto, Florida
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cdj1122
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 1:53 pm    Post subject: Fishing boat rescues 3 New Zealand teens Reply with quote

It is not every day that the Tokelaus are mentioned in the newspapers, especially with a story interesting enough to attract going onto the Associated press.
But I thought it was interesting enough to tack onto this thread about this extremely remote part of the world.
Quote:
WELLINGTON, New Zealand; AP. -- Three teens who have been missing in the South Pacific for 50 days -- and were already eulogized in a memorial service -- have been found alive by a New Zealand fishing boat.
The boys, two 15-year-olds and a 14-year-old, disappeared while attempting to row between two islands in the New Zealand territory of Tokelau in early October and were given up for dead after an extensive search involving New Zealand's air force.
Their craft had drifted 800 miles to a desolate part of the Pacific northeast of Fiji when the crew of a tuna boat saw them frantically waving for help on Wednesday afternoon.


Quote:
"All they could say was 'Thank you very much for stopping,' " said Tai Fredricsen, first mate of the San Nikuna.
"In a physical sense, they look very physically depleted, but mentally ... very high," he told New Zealand's National Radio on Thursday.
The boys, Samuel Pelesa and Filo Filo, both 15, and Edward Nasau, 14, will be taken to a hospital in the Fiji capital of Suva today.
The rescue came not a moment too soon: Fredricsen said the boys had begun to drink seawater because it hadn't rained in the past few nights.
He said that the boys survived by catching fish and eating a seagull that had landed on their boat.
Fredricsen said the boys were dehydrated, sunburned and thin, but otherwise seemed OK. The tuna boat's crew gave them fruit and fluids.
He said the boat's crew didn't normally travel through that part of the region, but was using the isolated sea route to shorten its return to New Zealand.
Tanu Filo, the father of one boy, said the news was broken by one of the teens' grandmothers after she got a phone call from the fishing boat.
"It's a miracle, it's a miracle. The whole village, the whole village, they were so excited and cried and they sang songs and hugging each other. ... Everybody was yelling and shouting the good news," he told Radio New Zealand International.
The boys come from the atoll of Atafu, one of three that comprises the tiny Tokelau island group where 1,500 people live. Atafu, Nukunonu and Fakaofo, picture-perfect South Pacific islets, lie 300 miles north of Samoa, surrounded by 128 mostly uninhabited coconut palm-covered islets.

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Lecanto, Florida
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