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     Niuafo'ou is a tiny island in the Tonga group (south of Samoa). When Europeans settled there to engage in the copra trade a unique method of exchanging mail was devised. Passing steamships sealed mail for the island in ship's 40-pound biscuit tins and threw them overboard to native swimmers. The swimmers also brought outgoing mail to the ships in the same containers soldered shut to keep the seawater out. The island soon took the name “Tin Can Island” from its unusual method of mail delivery. The tin can mail stopped in 1931 when a swimmer was killed by a shark.
     In 1983 a set of four stamps was issued that used the same design as the first 16 stamps issued by Niuafo'ou showing a map of the island. Only one stamp is shown.

SCN 19-22