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

2002 Ross Dependency - The Discovery Expedition 1901-1904

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New Zealand Post marked the centenary of Scott's Discovery Expedition to Antarctica with this stamp issue that featured original black and white photographs illustrating the stark reality of this arduous journey.

Issue information

On the list of the world's great explorers, Captain Robert Falcon Scott ranks high. His determination to be the first person to reach the South Pole, and his untimely and tragic death in the frozen wastes of Antarctica, made him a true hero of the British people.

The Discovery Expedition was the first of Scott's attempts at the Pole. These six stamps marking the 100th anniversary of the Expedition featured original black and white photographs that illustrated the stark reality of a journey that was to prove as arduous as it was exhilarating - a triumph of the human spirit.

The Spirit of Discovery

The 2002 Ross Dependency - The Discovery Expedition 1901-1904 first day cover depicted the expedition as it is best remembered - a courageous and determined search for new territory and new scientific discoveries in a place where few men had ever set foot.

The Story of Scott

To find out more about the story of the Discovery Expedition and the man behind the journey, you could order the presentation pack. The pack also included the first day cover and all six stamps.

Ross Dependency Postage in New Zealand

Ross Dependency stamps are not valid for postage in New Zealand. Click here to find out more.

Product Listing for 2002 Ross Dependency - The Discovery Expedition 1901-1904

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Image Title Description Price
Single Stamp

Single 40c  'The three-man team' gummed stamp.

The 'British National Antarctic Expedition' began in 1896 as a determined goal for Royal Geographical Society President Sir Clements Markham. Five years and £50,000 later, it became a reality, 6 August 1901, the HMS Discovery and her crew of 47 scientists and sailors left Britain, commanded by naval officer Captain Robert Falcon Scott.

Single Stamp

Single 80c 'HMS Discovery at anchor' gummed stamp.

The HMS Discovery arrived in Antarctica in early 1902, approaching the continent by the Ross Sea and anchoring at McMurdo Sound. Built in Dundee and the first British ship to be specifically designed and built for scientific work, the HMS Discovery soon proved inadequate for her task despite her stout constitution, developing leaks and struggling in the heavy seas.

Single Stamp

Single 90c 'The HMS Discovery frozen into icy terrain' gummed stamp.

The HMS Discovery and her crew were to remain in Antarctica for the next two years, frozen in the grips of sea ice. During this time, the research scientists made many discoveries and Scott explored to the east of the Ross ice shelf. He also made the first hot air balloon flight in Antarctica, rising 244 metres above its surface.

Single Stamp

Single $1.30 'Sledges and Tents' gummed stamp.

In the first summer, Scott and two companions - Edward Wilson and Ernest Shackleton - began their first significant journey south, accompanied by dogs and sledges. Not familiar with the terrain or managing the dogs, the men's dream of reaching the South Pole soon evaporated. Three months later a much depleted team returned to the HMS Discovery, thwarted but undaunted.

Single Stamp

Single $1.50 'The crew of the HMS Discovery' gummed stamp.

On 14 February 1904 the ice finally and dramatically released the HMS Discovery, and the expedition left McMurdo Sound five days later. They left behind the body of George Vince, a young sailor who had died in a severe snowstorm. A final emotional ceremony was held on the ice and a wooden cross was erected to mark his grave.

Single Stamp

Single $2.00 'Discovery Hut at Hut Point' gummed stamp.

Preferring to use the ship as his quarters, Scott built a base hut on shore, used mainly as a storehouse and cooking shed. The hut still stands today, stocked with many of the things the expedition left behind. Maintained by New Zealand and protected by the Antarctic Treaty, it is a testament to the courage and commitment of the men who built it.

First Day Cover First day cover with stamps affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $7.40
Presentation Pack Presentation pack containing a selection of products from the issue and further information on the theme of the stamps. $19.95

Technical information

Date of issue: 6 November 2002
Number of stamps: Six
Deniminations and designs: 40c The three-man team, 80c HMS Discovery at anchor, 90c The HMS Discovery frozen into the icy terrain, $1.30 Sledges and Tents, $1.50 The crew of the HMS Discovery, $2.00 Discovery Hut at Hut Point 
Stamps and first day cover designed by: emdesign, Wellington, New Zealand
Number of colours: Three
First day cover size: 120mm x 206mm
Stamp size and format: 30mm x 40mm (horizontal)
Printer and process: Southern Colour Print, Dunedin, New Zealand by offset lithography
Paper type: De La Rue 103gsm red phosphor stamp paper
Perforation gauge: 14
Number of stamps per sheet: 50
Special blocks: Plate/imprint blocks could be obtained by purchasing at least six stamps from a sheet. Barcode, value and logo blocks could be obtained by purchasing at least two stamps from a sheet. Barcode blocks were availabe in A and B format.
Period of sale: These stamps remained on sale until 5 November 2003.