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New Zealand Postal Services 2005 Issue
Designed by Totem Design, Wellington

150 Years of New Zealand Stamps 1855 - 1905

150 Years of New Zealand Stamps 1905 - 1955

New Zealand Postal Service has issued one set of five new stamps with postage values of $0.45, $0.90, $1.35, $1.50, $2.00 named "150 Years of New Zealand Stamps 1855-1905" on the 2nd of March 2005. This is the first of three six stamp sets that are being issued to celebrate New Zealand's 150 years of postal service. The second set of five new stamps in the series will be issued on the 6th of April, 2005 and will depict the stamps issued between 1905 and 1955. The third set of five stamps will be issued in June. This news letter will cover the stamps issued in the first two sets. Each stamp in each set is described below:

First issued set - 1855 to 1905

  • Full Face Queen, Issued 1855, 45 cents - New Zealand first stamp was sent from England and entered circulation on 20 July 1855. The stamp depicts a portrait of Queen Victoria
  • Newspaper, Issued 1873, 90 cents - first stamp issued featuring the Queen's portrait side-view. The stamp was produced specifically to cover the fee for newspaper deliveries.
  • Government Life, Issued 1891, $1.35 - In 1891 a difference of opinion over franking (right to free mail) charges between the Government Life Insurance Department and the Post Office led to New Zealand's longest-lasting unofficial stamps, and one of the first examples of postal advertising. The Government Life stamps-distinctive for their lighthouse image were valid only for that department's postal transactions.
  • Pictorial Mount Cook, Issued 1898, $1.50 - this stamp was selected from a competition of 2400 designers. It was New Zealand's first scenic landmark stamp with a Maori war canoe, a Kea and a Kaka.
  • Universal Postage, Issued 1901, $2.00 the arrival of the universal penny postage (for domestic and international mail) began a new age of letter writing and communication.

Second set to be issued April 6th 2005 - 1905 to 1955

  • The New Zealand Exhibition Christchurch, Issued 1906, 45 cents - printed originally in this color for The New Zealand International Exhibition of Arts and Industries in Christchurch, and later reprinted in vermilion. Only one sheet of these original One Penny Clarets was accidentally made available at the Exhibition. Stamps from that sheet are now highly sought after by collectors.
  • Health-Red Boy, Issued 1931, 90 cents - this is New Zealand's most popular health stamp. It became a symbol of the country's health stamp issues worldwide.
  • Airmail, Issued 1935, $1.35 - this is the second set of airmail stamps issued by New Zealand. It is named "Faith in Australia" and depicts a plane piloted by Lieutenant Ulm, landing at Bell Block Aerodrome in New Plymouth on 12 April 1934 after completing the first official airmail flight between Australia and New Zealand.
  • Peace - Southern Alps from Chapel Window, Issued 1946, $1.50 - this beautiful stamp is part of a set released to celebrate the onset of peace. It represents looking out the window of the Waiho Gorge chapel and viewing the Southern Alps and the Franz Josef Glacier.
  • Queen Elizabeth II, Issued 1955, $2.00 - with the passing of King George VI, New Zealand issued a new definitive set to commemorate the accession of Queen Elizabeth II to the throne. The stamp was the highest value ever to be issued just for postage.

"150 years of New Zealand Stamp Sets" can be purchased in sets of 5 mint or canceled, Miniature Sheets mint or canceled, Sheets of 25, or FDC's. The size of each stamp in each set is 40mm x 30mm with a perforation of 14 x 14. Both sets will be printed by Southern Color Print, New Zealand using Offset lithography four color printing process with Tullis Russell 104 gram meter square paper.

To order these stamps or to learn more go to Use the Universal currency conversion tool at to convert currency.

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