CROWNED TONGA KING GRACES COMMEMORATIVE STAMP

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Sales begin on August 1, the day of Tupou V’s coronation

NUKUALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, July 18, 2008) – Tonga Post is releasing a commemorative stamp issue for the Coronation of King George Tupou V, featuring the king in his full coronation regalia.

The two stamps $5, and $1 will go on sale on the day of the Coronation, 1 August 2008.

The stamps were designed by Denise Durkin, of Wellington, New Zealand, and will be available from the Tonga Philatelic Bureau.

According to the Tonga Government Information Service, London tailors have designed the King's ceremonial robes and the uniforms of court officials, and a gold sceptre has been cast for the occasion.

About 1,400 guests, including members some European and Asian Royal families are expected to attend.

The Government has yet to release a full guest list but has confirmed the attendance of Japanese Crown Prince Naruhito, Thai Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn and Britain's Duke and Duchess of Gloucester.

During the Coronation, Tonga will host between 4,000 and 5,000 visitors, the largest number ever to be in the Kingdom at the same time with Tongans living overseas will comprise the biggest section of the visitor influx.

The new King was sworn in on September 11, 2006 following the death of his father, King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV.

Located not far from the Royal Palace Tonga's Post Office is getting a face-lift for the Coronation with a paint job and a new garden. The Coronation commemorative stamp issue will be available from the Philatelic Bureau at the Post Office.

Matangi Tonga Magazine: www.matangitonga.to/home/

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