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

2002 Year of the Horse - New Zealand's Group One Winners

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New Zealand Post has celebrated the Chinese Lunar Calendar with a stamp issue since 1997. For 2002 Year of the Horse - New Zealand's Group One Winners, we featured six superstars of New Zealand racing.

Issue information

Horse racing begain in New Zealand shortly after Europeans first settled here. Since then it has become an important part of our national life, bringing us success on an international scale. So, what better horses were there to feature in this issue than our champion gallopers and trotters?

The stamps featured six of our most successful racehorses of recent years. Along with Christian Cullen, a household name with all sports fans, the line-up included Lyell Creek, Yulestar, the magnificent mare Sunline, Ethereal and Zabeel - all true champions in every sense of the word. The fantastic action shots on these stamps really captured the grace and beauty of the equine athlete.

Standardbreds and Thoroughbreds

Thoroughbreds first reached New Zealand in 1840 and race meetings were held that year. Since then, they have competed successfully world-wide, particularly in Australia, contributing to a multi-million dollar export trade.

Harness racing, which had its origins in bygone days when buggy drivers travelling in the same direction began competing, was slower to make its debut. However, New Zealand standardbreds have competed successfully on the harness racing international stage.

The Typical Horse Personality

People born in the Year of the Horse (1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990 and 2002) are spirited and independent, cheerful, skilful and perceptive. The Chinese associate the horse with energy, happiness, confidence and success.

Sheets and Gutter Pairs

Bringing these lively and action-packed images together in sheets of 25 created real impact. Horizontal gutter pairs with the striking Year of the Horse image were also available. Highly visual, these sheets and pairs made attractive collectables.

Miniature Sheet

Our miniature sheet incorporated the $1.30 and $1.50 stamp.

Product Listing for 2002 Year of the Horse - New Zealand's Group One Winners

Click on image to enlarge.

Image Title Description Price
Single Stamp

Single 40c 'Christian Cullen' gummed stamp.

With his impressive physique, blinding speed and will to win, he endeared himself to all sports fans; his spectacular winning performances include the New Zealand and Auckland Cups.

Single Stamp

Single 80c 'Lyell Creek' gummed stamp.

The record breaker who completely dominated all of Australasia's trotting races with his winning streak of 20 consecutive victories. He is the first New Zealand trotter to earn $1 million dollars.

Single Stamp

Single 90c 'Yulestar' gummed stamp.

The 'Hawera Hurricane'- a huge horse and great stayer who won most of Australasia's major races including the 2001 Interdominion.

Single Stamp

Single $1.30 'Sunline' gummed stamp.

Australasia's highest-ever stakes earner; Sunline's many victories include the Hong Kong Mile and the Cox Plate (twice). She was voted Australian Champion Racehorse of the Year for two consecutive years.

Single Stamp

Single $1.50 'Ethereal' gummed stamp.

The toast of Melbourne in November 2001 when she became only the third mare in history to win the elusive Caulfield - Melbourne Cup double.

Single Stamp

Single $2.00 'Zabeel' gummed stamp.

New Zealand's champion sire and twice Australian champion sire Zabeel, a multiple Group winner himself, has already sired 18 Group One winners.

Miniature Sheet Mint, used or cancelled miniature sheet. $2.80
First Day Cover First day cover with stamps affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $7.40
Miniature Sheet First Day Cover First day cover with miniature sheet affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $3.30

Technical information

Date of issue: 7 February 2002
Number of stamps: Six
Denominations and designs: 40c Christian Cullen, 80c Lyell Creek, 90c Yulestar, $1.30 Sunline, $1.50 Ethereal, $2.00 Zabeel
Stamps and first day cover designed by: Kevin Dunkely of Wellington
Miniature sheet and first day cover miniature sheet designed by: Kevin Dunkely
Lunar illustration: Lindy Fisher, Auckland
Printer and process: Southern Colour Print, Dunedin by offset lithography
Number of colours: Four process colours plus one special
Stamp size and format: 30mm x 40mm (horizontal)
Paper type: 103gsm red phosphor coated litho stamp paper
Perforation gauge: 14
Number of stamps per sheet: 25 stamps plus one strip of 5 gutter images
Special blocks: Plate/imprint blocks could be obtained by purchasing at least six stamps from a sheet. Barcode, value blocks and logo blocks could be obtained by purchasing at least two stamps from a sheet. Barcode blocks were available in both A and B formats for sheet stamps.
Period of sale: These stamps remained on sale until 6 February 2003.