Conus Shells

       14 March 2003                         40c, 80c, $1.00, $1.20, $3.00                     Mint and CTO           $6.40
                                                                                                                                          FDC           $7.40

Technical Details

Release Date :          14 March 2003
Denominations :        40c, 80c, $1.00, $1.20, $3.00
Stamp Design :         Sue Williams, Kent, United Kingsom
Printer :                    Joh Enschede, The Netherlands
Process   :                Offset Lithography
Paper :                     Sopal Satimat 110gsm
Stamp Size :             45 x 24.65mm 5 oblong stamps
Perforation Gauge :   13.25 x 13.75
First Day Cover  :     $7.40

Our Shells Part II – Conus Shells issue follows on from the very popular Cowrie Shells issue released on 6 December 2001.As with Shells Part I – Cowrie Shells, the artist for this new issue is again Mrs Sue Williams, wife of the former Governor of Pitcairn, Martin Williams.

This issue comprises five stamps each featuring a Conus Shell found throughout the Pitcairn Groups but most commonly on Henderson Island.

These marine invertebrates belong to the Family: Conidae and genus: Conus.  There are in fact some 1500 species of named cones divided into some 30 subgenera.  Found throughout several Pacific archipelagos and in the Indo West Pacific, the cones are carnivorous and live mainly in the inter-tidal area.  They use a powerful sting to kill prey, a sting that has been known in some cases to prove fatal to human beings.

The 40c stamp features Conus geographus, a thin-shelled species which grows to 150mm and is distinguished by the background brown colour clouded with white marks and darker brown broken band on the body whorl.  This species is well known for its sting.

White and yellow marking adorn Conus textile, shown on the 80c stamp.  Growing to between 40 and 110mm, it has a thick shell, a short spire and pointed apex.

Conus striatus, featured on the $1.00 stamp, is whitish-pink in colour with blotches of purple, grey or brown.  Fine body spiral threads cover the body whorl of this shell which grows to between 70 and 120mm in length.

The $1.20 stamp shows Conus marmoreus, a dark chocolate brown shell with white patches.  This less common shell grows to 100mm and has a thick, broad cone and a rather flat spire.

Conus litoglyphus, a striking, glossy, brownish-orange cone, grows up to 65mm.  The cone is thick, the spire depressed and the apex pointed.