Banana Shaped Stamp of Tonga

21 Jun 2021  Mon

The usual shape of a postage stamp is a rectangle! But, Tonga made a stamp in the shape of Banana - the staple food of the country. Tonga was the world’s first country to issue self-adhesive stamps and is the leading country to produce stamps with bizarre shapes.

The beginnings of the postal history of Tonga can be traced to the Wesleyan missionaries, who landed in the islands in 1826 and sent regular communications back to London and Sydney from the day of their arrival. The Tongan Post Office was established in 1887, but even before then postage stamps featuring the image of King George Tupou I were produced in New Zealand.

In 1972, Tonga Post issued banana-shaped stamps from 1969 to 1985. Banana, being the staple food of the Tonga People, has probably acquired the place on stamp designing. The stamps were issued with the denominations of 1 Tongan seniti to 5 Tongan seniti and feature the name of the country, denomination, and the message “The Friendly Islands” and “Best in Pacific”.

Subsequent philatelic issues of Tonga employed other off-beat designs – including stamps shaped like hearts, birds, and fruit and, hence, have become popular with philatelists around the world.

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