Here is my second cover from Tonga. The date is unreadable but I have been reliably informed that is was more than likely the 26 Sep 1934. This canceller was originally used from 1911. Around 34-35 it was used for a short time and is only seen in this deteriorated state with a unreadable dates.
Even though most of these covers a purely philatelic, I find them fascinating with the amount of handstamps.
For those who think 'TIN CAN' is a place.....It isn't. It was a method of delivering mail when the ships couldn't get close enough to the shore to land/berth. The mail was put into tin cans and sealed. Then a canoe would paddle out to collect the can. At the same time, they would leave outgoing mail for the ship to pick up on its next visit.
The marker was the ship I think. It would probably either drop anchor or just float and wait for the swimmers to arrive from the island. I remember reading somewhere that the ship would sound it's siren to alert the islanders.
The reason this was done at Niuafoou Island was that there was no berthing facilities due to the rough coastline.
Most of the covers you will find are purely philatelic in nature, however non philatelic covers exist and quite sought after.
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