Occussi-Ambeno's stamps included designs featuring a variety of topical subjects including
ships (seen above), animals, art, butterflies, international events, inventors and royalty.
In Phantom Philately, Frederick John Melville defines his subject as "'stamps' which are not what they seem." He pays tribute to the creators of phantom stamps saying:
The creator of an illusory stamp issue at least has imagination and inventiveness; often he possesses a sense of humour, being more a practical joker than a charlatan. He is often a romancer or a dreamer, who tries to conjure up reality out of his dreams. He has originality which the forger and the faker and the servile substituter lack .... His products may be "Album Weeds" but they are certainly more entertaining "plants" than either forgeries or fakes (5).
This description fits nicely on the issues Occussi-Ambeno and their Auckland, New Zealand based creator.
Although Oecussi-Ambeno is a district of East Timor located on the western part of the island of Timor, the stamps depicted on this page are fantasy issues for the non-existent Sultanate of Occussi-Ambeno, created by New Zealand anarchist, film buff and "artistamp" creator, Bruce Grenville. An Angelfire website outlines the imaginary history and geography of Grenville's sultanate and lists stamp issues from 1968 to 2007. According to an article from the libertarian publication The State Adversary, this hoax induced a European consortium to invest in the production of stamps for the European market and, like so many other small countries, the
"sultanate" does list philatelic sales as a major source of revenue. The Winter-Spring 1989-1990 issue of Atalaya, an English language magazine dedicated to Cinderella stamps included a free stamp from Occussi-Ambeno. Barbara Last illustrated her discussion of phantom stamps in the September 1990 issue of Gibbon's Stamp Monthly with an Occussi-Ambeno issue depicting Chester Carlson, the man who invented the Xerox machine in 1938. This topic is very appropriate because such modern methods of duplication contributed significantly to the production of many fantasy stamp issues.
"Bruce Grenville." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. 15 Nov. 2014
Web. 27 Oct. 2015 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruce_Grenville.
"Bruce Grenville and the Utopian State of Occussi-Ambeno." Radical Tradition Aotearoa / New Zealand.
24 Apr. 2002. Web. 27 Oct. 2015 http://www.takver.com/history/nz/grenville.htm.
Kesultanan Okusi-Ambeno (Sultanate of Okusi-Ambeno). Berita Istana Iskandar. 1995. Web.
27 Oct. 2015 http://okusi1.tripod.com/.
Last, Barbara. "New Collector." Gibbons Stamp Monthly. Sep. 1990: 62.
Melville, Frederick John. Phantom Philately. Worthington, Ohio: Janet van den Berg, 1950.
"Newsdesk." Gibbons Stamp Monthly. Jan. 1990: 9.
"Oecusse District." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. 24 Oct. 2015
Web. 27 Oct. 2015 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oecusse_District.
"The stamps of Occussi-Ambeno." KESULTANAN OKUSI-AMBENO SULTANATE OF
OCCUSSI-AMBENO. Auckland, N.Z.:Occussi-Ambeno Overseas Philatelic Bureau.
n.d. Web. 27 Oct. 2015 http://www.angelfire.com/art/okusi/.
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