Niuafoʻou (Tonga) 1989 "Evolution of the Earth" (I)

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Issue Date 06.06.1989
ID Michel: 139-148 Scott: 115-121 Stanley Gibbons: 124-132 Yvert: 112-115, 120-123 UPU: N/A Category: pR
Designer Mr. Ray Edge, Walsall Security Printers of London, UK
Stamps in set 10
Value 1s - The Earth Surface
2s - The Earth Crust
5s - Volcanic Formations
10s - The Surface Cools
15s - The Seals
20s - The Mountains
32s - The Rivers
42s - Silurian: Sigillaria trunk, Equisetales, and Lycopoda
50s - Cambrian: Olenoides, Waptia, Lancastria, Marrella
57s - Carboniferous: Equisetales
Size (width x height) 30mm x 35mm
Layout Mini-Sheet of 10 stamps, Souvenir-Sheet with 1 stamp
Products FDC x2
Perforation 14.25 x 14.25
Print Technique Offset, multicolor
Printed by Walsall Security Printers of London, UK
Issuing Authority Post office of the Goverment of Tonga
Evolution of the Earth on stamps of Niuafoʻou 1989

On June 6, 1989, the Post office of the Government of Tonga on behalf their Niuafo'ou Island, issued the set of 10 stamps that shows "Evolution of the Earth". These stamps shows ten major scenes of the Earth evoultion until appearance of the early life forms.
(Less than two months later, four more stamps of the same theme were issued.)

If chronological order was intended, the images on the 42s. - Silurian (443.8-419.2 million years ago) and the 50s. - Cambrian (538.8-485.4 million years ago) stamps should be swapped.
The first 7 stamps shows lifeless Earth landscapes.


Tonga did not issue any imperf stamps from this set, the only imperfs known are genuine plate proofs, and come from the Walsall Security Printers archives.
FDC Monochrome Proof [1] Plate Proof [2]
Evolution of the Earth on FDC of Niuafoʻou 1989 Evolution of the Earth on satmp proofs of Niuafoʻou 1989 Evolution of the Earth on satmp proofs of Niuafoʻou 1989
Used Covers Specimens
Evolution of the Earth on stamps of Niuafoʻou 1989 Evolution of the Earth on stamps of Niuafoʻou 1989 Evolution of the Earth on stamps of Niuafoʻou 1989

[1] The Monochrome Proofs were done on thin card and in black and white by Walsall Security Printers of London UK, and were used to check the design. The perforations on the proof are only simulated.
The monochrome proofs were produced, in amount of 20, after the Cromalin one, then sent to Tonga for the officials to check. When accepted, they were sent to stamp magazines to illustrate the upcoming new issues.
[2] The Plate Proofs printed one sheet of plate proofs first, this sheet was taken for checking and approval by Walsall Security Printers company and the officials of Tonga.
After it passed the necessary checks, this imperforated proof sheet was placed in the printers archives and was left imperforated. All other sheets issued were perforated.
The Tongan plate proofs are genuine proofs done by the printers for checking purposes then kept until recently in the printers archives.

  • [R1] Technical details and stamps presentation: stampedout

  • Many thanks to Mr. Greg Jorgensen from Australia, who sells philatelic materials from archive of Walsall Security Printers on the Internet under nickname tonga2, for explanations about their printing process.

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