When Great Grandpa Pete passed away, I inherited his collection of Samoan stamps. He was an avid stamp collector who like many collectors came to fetishise these objects. This collection is in many ways an heirloom of personal histories, for myself, my family and the people who once used the stamps. Retracing of Grandpa Pete’s stamps is one way to make sense of the cultural history of Samoa. More broadly, it offers a way of tracking the colonial history of this island homeland. These nearly obsolete objects at one time represented the perceived ideals of the country as a whole.