Lanarkshire Philatelic Society


"Samoa; Kingdom, Colony to Independence again"


ASPS President, Mr. Alex Walker


Alex in "full flow"


A warm welcome greeted Alex Walker, ASPS President & of the Aberdeen Philatelic Society, who had braved his way from Aberdeen to the Lanarkshire Philatelic Society despite an amber warning of heavy rain on his journey. He then presented his wonderful display of "Samoa; Kingdom, Colony, to Independence again".


Throughout his talk of the postal history of Western Samoa – as it was originally known - the historic, economic and cultural life of Samoa - consisting of two main islands - was humorously presented. 

From mid 19th century Samoa was under strong German influence. Missionaries of the London Missionary Society - sent out in 1830 – and who created the written Samoan language - were the first to send written mail - this was taken by ship to Sydney for further distribution - and examples of such mail were shown. It was in 1877 that the first postage stamps were issued – the Samoa Express Private Post – the stamps showing the word "Express" across the centre – was primarily for the sending of newspapers - many forgeries now exist. This ended in 1881.

In 1886, a private post office using stamps illustrating Palm Trees and bearing the legend "Samoa Postage" was opened to assist the non-German population – and it continued until 1900. 

In 1899 Samoa became a German Colony and in 1900 German stamps bearing the ‘Samoa’ overprint were issued and also, in 1900, stamps  -  with no overprint - showing the Kaiser’s Yacht were issued.

In 1914 New Zealand forces occupied the country and the German "Yacht" stamps were overprinted with G.R.I. (Georgius Rex Imperator) – referring to King George V the current monarch. Through the years following many New Zealand stamps were overprinted with "Samoa". In 1920 Germany issued "mourning stamp labels" – mourning the loss of war, and lost colonies as a result of the Treaty of Versailles.’




In 1920 the League of Nations conferred a Mandate over Samoa to New Zealand and in 1921 & stamps were issued reflecting this. In 1945 the mandate became the Western Samoan Trust Territory. The country remained under civil administration by New Zealand until 1962 when it became the first country in the Pacific to become Independent. With this freedom postage stamps  - issued from 2nd July 1962  - now became more colourful and covered a great variety of subjects. Many of these were viewed.

There was a special display of stamps and postcards relating to Robert Louis Stevenson’s life on Samoa. Views of his arrival on the island in 1890 during his voyages to different islands of the Pacific – views of the house he had built at Vailima, near Apia the capital of Samoa, and  of his grave on the top of Mount Vaea were all displayed.




Terry Woods gave warm thanks for the wonderful presentation of the history and fascinating postal history reflecting the ever changing development of Samoa.



                  Terry Woods proposing the Vote of Thanks                     Alex, with LPS President Bobby Forrest, showing off his certificate of thanks.

Our next meeting in the Caledonian Bowling Club, Motherwell Road, Hamilton, is on Friday, 10th November, 2023, at 1:30pm when members look forward to welcoming Ms. Paula Cleary who will be "Exploring Environmental Issues"

Anyone with an interest in stamps, postal history, postcards etc is very welcome to attend.