Unlike its cousins issued by the United States and the Canal Zone, the Marshall Islands American Indian stamp was unquestionably produced solely for collectors. Purists tend to frown upon such material; nevertheless, these 21st century reproductions were valid for postage, and they represent an important chapter in the 14¢ American Indian stamp’s rich history.
The Marshall Islands’ embassy in Washington, D.C., stated the American Indian stamp was issued “to complement the re-issue of other stamps” the U.S. Postal Service produced for the Washington 2006 World Philatelic Exhibition.1
It is unclear whether any post offices in the Marshall Islands ever sold the stamps; they were issued during the exhibition, and were available for some time after that from the Marshall Islands’ philatelic sales service in the U.S. What is virtually certain is that the stamps never did regular postal duty in their home country.
Artist D. Zoe Seemel is credited as the designer of the 14¢ Marshall Islands stamps, but the only major change from the U.S. stamps is the wording “Marshall Islands” around the vignette.2 The stamps were printed on offset presses, and thus lack the sharp definition of the engraved originals. There are two varieties: perforated and imperforate.
The perf. 13½ stamp comes from a miniature sheet of 20 issued on May 27, 2006. The other stamps in the sheet have face values ranging from ½¢ to 50¢, and like the 14¢ stamp are based on designs from the U.S. fourth Bureau issue.
The imperforate variety is from a souvenir sheet which also went on sale on May 27.3 In addition to the American Indian stamp, the sheet included the 30¢ bison from the same series.
Because the USPS handles Marshall Islands mail, domestic rates apply to letters mailed from that country to the U.S. This arrangement created a strange situation in which—beginning in May 2009, three years after it was issued—the souvenir sheet exactly paid the 44¢ first class letter rate from the Marshall Islands to U.S. addresses.
Next: the non-stamp extras
- Marshall Islands Stamps Unveiled at World Exhibition. Yokwe Online. 3 June 2006. Accessed 31 Aug. 2010.
- Information about Reprise of United States 1922–1925 Regular Series. Unicover Corporation. Accessed 1 Sept. 2010.
- Information about Washington 2006 World Philatelic Exhibition Souvenir Sheet. Unicover Corporation. Accessed 1 Sept. 2010.