New Zealand Post - official issuer of New Zealand stamps & commemorative coins

1903 Express Delivery

(No reviews yet) Write a Review

On 1 January 1901 an express delivery and special messenger service was introduced by the Post and Telegraph Office whereby, on payment of a special fee, the sender of an article could ensure that it would be delivered as soon as possible after receipt at the office of destination.

Issue information

For the first two years the response of the public was not encouraging and, with the purpose of making the service better known, it was decided to provide a distinctive stamp. A special stamp was produced in 1903 to better promote the service.

Although it was expected the service (and stamp) would prove popular the initial print run of 117,840 stamps was enough to last for the next 23 years. Later reprints occurring during 1927 - 36.


New Zealand Post would like to acknowledge the following for their assistance and guidance in bringing together this stamp issue:

Historical information included on this page sourced from The Postage Stamps of New Zealand published by the Royal Philatelic Society of NZ. Their web site offers further information useful to those interested in the stamps and postal history of New Zealand. Link:

Product Listing for 1903 Express Delivery

Click on image to enlarge.

Image Title Description Price
Single Stamp

Single 6d gummed stamp.

This design was based on an American 'special delivery' stamp issue of 1885. The design was suitably adapted with the inclusion of Māori carvings and a large black tree fern (Cyathea medullaris), a typical specimen of the flora of New Zealand. 


Technical information

Date of issue: 9 February 1903
Designers: Government Printer, Wellington
Printers: Government Printing Office, Wellington
Stamp size: 40mm x 25mm
Sheet size: 60 stamps per sheet
Process: Surface printed - Typography
Perforation gauge: 11, 14 x 14.5 and 14 x 15
Paper type: Cowan and Wiggins Teape, NZ and star watermark