The New Caledonia Agency 1903 - 1908
Used single stamps

Pre Condominium


On 20 March 1903, the New Caledonian authorities issued a decree, establishing a postal agent on board the vessel which operated between New Caledonia and various ports in the New Hebrides. That agent was provided with the "Port Vila" cds. By further decree on 14 December 1904 a postal agency was established in Vila. Shortly afterwards in early 1905 the "Port Sandwich" cds came into common usage and the "Port Vila" cds rarely used until March 1908.
With the exception of the two FM covers all of the Vila cds from this period coincide with Burns Philps ships arriving at Vila. Conversely all of the "Port Sandwich" cancels coincide with Messageries Maritimes "Pacifique" being in New Hebrides. Many of these cancels do NOT coincide with the "Pacifique" being at Vila, but when she was in other parts of the islands.
There is no usage of the Sandwich cds in the one or two months of each year when the "Pacifique" was absent from the New Hebrides to avoid cyclones. Initially, the agencies were stocked with the New Caledonia 1892 definitive series, with 5 centimes being the standard rate to Nouméa. Later, a stock of the 1905 "Cagou" series was also provided. Officially the agencies closed on 30 October 1908, with the advent of the Condominium post office, however used copies of New Caledonian stamps can be found cancelled well after the official closure.

7 January 1903

To this day the first recorded date of this cancel: 7 JANV 03 (Millet coll.)

Port Vila Type 5

A sample of the French Port Vila Type 5 cancel

7 JANV 03
PCH Tye 5
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