China '96 Exhibition

China '96

        17 May 1996           2 x $1.80 + Souvenir Sheet - $1.80                Mint and CTO     $5.40
                                                                                                               FDC                   $5.90

Technical Details

        Release Date:                    17 May 1996
        Tablet Values:                   2 x $1.80 + Souvenir Sheet - $1.80
        Artist:                                Clive Abbott
        Printer:                              The House of Questa Limited
        Process:                            Lithography
        Paper:                               CA Spiral Watermark
        Stamp Size:                       38.48 x 25.60 mm
        Souvenir Sheet Size:          78 x 80 mm
        Perforation Gauge:             14 per 2 cm
        Pane Format:                     50 (2 x 25)
        Mint and CTO:                  $5.40
        First Day Cover:                $5.90

The China '96 issue was produced to mark the 9th Asian International Philatelic Exhibition held in Beijing from 18 to 24 May 1996.

With 1996 being the Chinese year of the Rat, this issue was an opportunity for us to feature our own Pitcairn or Polynesian rat.  The People's Republic of China graciously gave permission for us to reproduce their 1984 stamp featuring their rat in caricture form.  Clive Abbott skilfully complimented this with the Polynesian rat as a caricature and combined both on the souvenir sheet.  The souvenir sheet features silhouettes of both rats as side borders.

The two stamps are also complimentary, one featuring the Pitcairners' ancestral vessel HMAV Bounty, and the other a traditional Chinese Junk.  The Polynesian rat inhabited all four islands of the Pitcairn group at the time of release of this issue, but it was feared that rats have had a detrimental effect upon bird populations through eating newly hatched birds.

The rat eradication project on Ducie and Oeno Islands during 1997 appears to have been a success.  Unfortunately, results have not been so good on Pitcairn.  Further attempts are being made to totally eradicate the kiore or Polynesian Rat from Pitcairn.