Modern Surcharges

Briefmarke Papua Neuguinea Überdruck Michel 706
Briefmarke Papua Neuguinea Überdruck Michel 707

Surcharges have a long tradition in the collecting area of Papua and New Guinea.

Since the mid-1990s a regular flood of these surcharges has appeared. Unlike a lot of postal administrations the background to these stamps is not to extract money from the collector, instead it is a desire to use up unsold remainders. Proof for this reality is that nearly all provisional surcharges have a value less than the original stamp. Large quantities of the remainders were available.

There are a number of reasons why these provisonal stamps were necessary:

  •  a massive devaluation of the country's currency
  •  the related rise in postal charges due to this devaluation.
  •  the end of the issue of definitive stamps
  •  difficulty in achieving prompt delivery of new issues
  •  and the change of security printers


SG 708 and 709 (MiNr. 706 and 707) began the process of surcharging on March 23, 1994.

In the following months, August, October and Novemeber, a further eleven stamps were locally surcharged. In the Stanley Gibbons Catalogue you will find them listed as numbers 730-740 (Michel lists them as 714-724).

Briefmarke Papua Neuguinea Überdruck Michel 715
Briefmarke Papua Neuguinea Überdruck Michel 724
Briefmarke Papua Neuguinea Überdruck Michel 723
Briefmarke Papua Neuguinea Überdruck Michel 722
Briefmarke Papua Neuguinea Überdruck Michel 721
Briefmarke Papua Neuguinea Überdruck Michel 720
Briefmarke Papua Neuguinea Überdruck Michel 719
Briefmarke Papua Neuguinea Überdruck Michel 718
Briefmarke Papua Neuguinea Überdruck Michel 717
Briefmarke Papua Neuguinea Überdruck Michel 716
SG 734 FDC

In their eagerness to produce the surcharged stamps, the post office forgot about the collector. Nearly all surcharged stamps were distributed to the post offices. As the collectors became irritated it was realized that the surcharged stamps were not available from the Philatelic Bureau. Even the agents and subscribers did not receive these issues.

The usual official FDC were not available for these issues. With luck one is able to find first day letters in the normal postal traffic.

On January 11, 1995 two special issues were released. Because of the increased overseas rates, it became necessary to surcharge the issue prior to release.


SG 747-754
Briefmarken  Papua Neuguinea Überdruck Michel 733 bis 740

Interesting is the setenant strip Peter To Rot - Pope John Paul II, because with this combination the 21 toea stamps was also surcharged in December 2001.


Briefmarke Papua Neuguinea Überdruck Michel 741 - 742 Pabst
Briefmarke Papua Neuguinea Überdruck Michel 905 - 742 Pabst

In March 1995, it was noticed that the stock of domestic rate stamps was once again diminished, and the order for new definitive stamps had still not arrived. So once again it was decided to surcharge old stock.

Remainders of the "Birds of Paradise" definitive issue were called upon. Altogether one can identify ten varieties in the Bird of Paradise surcharges -- four thin lettering and six bold lettering

The Thin Surcharges (short t)

Briefmarke Papua Neuguinea Paradiesvogel Überdruck Michel 743 I - I
Briefmarke Papua Neuguinea Paradiesvogel Überdruck Michel 743 II - I
Briefmarke Papua Neuguinea Paradiesvogel Überdruck Michel 746 I - I
Briefmarke Papua Neuguinea Paradiesvogel Überdruck Michel 746 II - I

Suddenly it was realized at the Philatelic Bureau that insufficient quantities of the Bird of Paradise surcharges were available for the Yearly Collections and the Yearbooks. It was decided in August 1995 to once again surcharge Bird of Paradise definitive stamps. That these -- now known as the Bold Surcharges -- turned out very differently when compared to the Thin Surcharges, can be attributed to inexperienced local personnel. With the issue of a few thousand stamps there are apparently a few collectors and agencies that received minimum quantities. Interesting in this connection is the reality that in Yearbooks and Year Collections there is still the possibility of finding the earlier Thin Surcharges.

The Bold Surcharges (large t)

SG 756b
SG 758b
SG 755b
SG 757b

In the Safe Deposits of the post office remained the balance of the Bird of Paradise stamps including a few sheets of the first issue. These are differentiated only by the small date (1992) in the bottom margin when compared to the reprinted issue (JULY 1993). From the first printing only a few more than 1000 were surcharged.


As a help in identifying the ten varieties of the Bird of Paradise surcharges we refer you to the KAPUL catalogue.

The monthly requirements of 1 million stamps for the domestic rate made the surcharging of more stamps necessary.

On June 20, 1995 appeared the surcharged Freshwater Fish issue.

SG 759
Briefmarke Papua Neuguinea Fisch Überdruck Michel 747
SG 760
Briefmarke Papua Neuguinea Fisch Überdruck Michel 748
SG 761
Briefmarke Papua Neuguinea Fisch Überdruck Michel 749

Because of the many increases in postal rates, remainders of stamp issues were and will be surcharged and adapted to actual postal rates.

We remember ...

Here an article by Wolfgang Hölzl from Michel-Rundschau 7/2016 is reprinted. This article gives information about the recent overprints of PNG.

To keep the information up to date, new pieces of information are added in italics.




We remember:

In 1994 PNG Post had forgotten collectors when issuing overprinted stamps. Now, 20 years later, we have a deja-vu.

Obviously end of october 2014 there were not enough stamps for domestic letters at several of the PNG post offices.

So it was decided to use up stocks of 1,20 K stamps that had no use any more by overprinting them with 1,30 K. There was no press-release about the overprinting.


As domestic mail from Papua New Guinea comes to the philatelic market only with considerable delay, it took quite a while before collectors took notice of the new overprints.

It looks like 8 different stamps were overprinted. To date not all of them could be found, which is not surpising as only 1250 each were overprinted.

Only by accident in fall of 2015 I found a domestic letter that had been posed beginning of 2015. Besides a 1,30 K stamp of 2014 a mark up value of 5 T was on teh cover, which I had never seen before. Such a stamp was never announced by the Philatelic Bureau and never sent to collectors having a standing order.


Das Inlandsporto war ja mit der Jahreswende um 5 Toea von 1,30 Kina auf 1,35 Kina angehoben worden. Firmen und Behörden, die noch über eine Menge an alten 1,30 K Marken verfügten sollte damit die Gelegenheit geboten werden ihre Restbestände aufzubrauchen.


Philatelistische Information aus Papua Neuguinea zu bekommen ist wirklich nicht leicht, manchmal dauert es Monate bis das endlich klappt. Letztendlich stellte sich heraus, dass zwei im Format verschiedene Typen dieser 5 Toea Marken vorkommen.


Jeweils sechs Marken im grösseren und ebenfalls sechs im kleineren Format. Dabei zeigen vier eine nahezu identische Abbildung. Bei den beiden restlichen Werten wurden unterschiedliche Motive gewählt.

  • The slightly bigger stamps are from sheets of 20, the smaller stamps are personalized 5 T stamps, which were printed in sheets of 40.

A smaller part of the printing was done in sheets of 40 with 20 stamps and se-tenant decorative fields.

Printings seem to have been rather small:

  • 5 Toea: Stamps in sheets of 20 - Only 2500 printed

  • 5 Toea: Stamps in sheets of 40

  • 5 Toea: Sheets of 20 stamps and 20 se-tenant decorative fields

The latter two stamp types were reprinted according to postal needs.

There are further mark up values of 20 T in two different designs. The printing of both was 2000 pieces respectively.

Most likely this was only the first printing. We have to assume that there were reprints.


It has to be assumed that the reason for these stamps was that the international letter rate was raised from 6,00 Kina to 6,20 Kina at the beginning of the year.

All of these mark-up values could be ordered by postmasters from Port Moresby. But not all postmasters ordered these stamps.


The question is how should we classify these stamps - especially the personalized stamps. They could be purchased at post offices by all clients. Are these official stamps that should be listed by the catalogues? Or are these "ordinary" personalized stamps that do not belong into a general stamp catalogue and rather should be treated by a specialized catalogue?

Meanwhile these stamps are listed by the Michel catalogue.

But this is just the beginning of the story. I was very surprised, when I found the following piece in kiloware, which is postmarked Wewak 7 January 2015.

Foreign mail rates as of 1 January 2015 were:


up to 50 g    6,20 K
up to 150 g    15 K
up to 250 g    25 K
up to 500 g    40 K
up to 1000 g    90 K

For internal mail from 251 -500 grams 15 Kina had to be paid, from 501 - 1000 grams 40 Kina.

Again it took several months until I got information that at the beginning of 2015 stamps had been overprinted.


With the available "normal" stamps and the odd denominations of stamps it is only to possible to frank heavy mail items with a lot of calculating. I had asked for a heavy letter (with a newspaper from PNG in it) to be franked with 4 pieces of 20 Kina stamps. When asking, I did not know of any overprints. But as it happened, at the post office there were only 2 pieces of 20 Kina stamps left. So the rest of the postage had to be made up with whatever was at hand. The result is this impressive franking, which also shows how useful the 20 Toea stamps were to make up 90 Kina postage.

Therefore the high value overprints are very useful for postal purposes.

Most likely there were 12 different overprints:

There are two different types of the 90 K overprint Michel 2027.

It should be quite difficult to trace down commercial mail items as only 500 each were printed of the overprints.

Also in this case only postmasters of bigger post offices cared to order these stamps from Port Moresby.

None of the stamps covered in this article were delivered to collectors with standing orders. Michel has seen these stamps meanwhile, so they are listed now and the whole catalogue listing since end of 2014 had to be redone. This situation is quite annoying for collectors. But assembling stamps out of standing orders, putting them into an album and to have a complete collection can't be exciting for a collector either. My collecting area is the postal history of PNG: now I have to hunt for new covers. Given the low printing numbers it should be very challenging to find covers. But that is what makes it so exciting to collect PNG.

End of the article by Wolfgang Hölzl in the Michel-Rundschau

...the story goes on:

...the story goes on:

Two more mark-up stamps as well as two new high value overprints were issued mid-2016.

Obviously there were not enough stamps for domestic and international letters. Therefore personalized stamps of 1,45 and 6,60 Kina were printed and delivered to post offices.

The 1,45 K stamps in slightly different design also exists with a pretty tab.

In Rabaul these stamps were specifically sold to passengers of cruise ships landing there. Rests of this stock were later sold to postal customers in Boroko.

At the beginning of 2017 letter rates for letters up to 50 grams, domestic and international, were raised.

To fulfill the demand for these new values personalized stamps were printed again in the values of 1,50 K and 6,80 K and distributed to post offices.

Both stamps exist with se-tenant tab.

Only when looking closer on can see that on both 1,50 K stamps - with and without se-tenant tab - the colors red and black on the country name and denomination were mixed-up.