Since their first appearance as exotic animal collections for Chinese and Aztec emperors and the pharaohs of ancient Egypt, zoos have continually changed with the times. Today as well as being popular visitor destinations, zoos around the world fulfil an important role as stewards of endangered species.
The New Zealand Zoo Animals stamp issue highlighted five species being bred and nurtured in our zoos. They make a unique and important contribution to the diversity of our planet, yet all are officially listed as endangered.
Linking to the Lunar
A beautifully illustrated miniature sheet - also available with a first day cover - celebrated the stamps' connection with the Chinese Lunar Calendar, and specifically the Year of the Monkey in 2004. The eighth in an annual series of Lunar Calendar sheets, the miniature sheet captured the mischievous nature of these playful creatures.
You could find out how zoos began - and about their contemporary role as guardians of our endangered species - in the New Zealand Zoo Animals presentation pack. The pack included two first day covers, together with a complete set of the stamps and a miniature sheet.
First Day Cover with Stamps
The New Zealand Zoo Animals first day cover came with a complete set of one self-adhesive and five gummed stamps. They were displayed against a bewitching image of a Ring-tailed Lemur and Red Panda, the Panda enjoying its favourite, lazy reclining pastime.
A Collector's Collection
The New Zealand Zoo Animals limited edition was a stylish package containing a wealth of information on the five stamps. It included a special hand-signed first day cover, a unique miniature sheet, a set of five colour sperations and a set of five gutter pairs - the pairs joined by a beautiful illustration highlighting their link to the Chinese Lunar Year of the Monkey in 2004.
Product Listing for 2004 Year of the Monkey - New Zealand Zoo Animals
Click on image to enlarge.
|Date of issue:||28 January 2004|
|Number of stamps:||Five|
|Denominations and designs:||40c Hamadryas Baboon, 90c Malayan Sun Bear, $1.30 Red Panda, $1.50 Ring-tailed Lemur, $2.00 Spider Monkey|
|Stamps and first day cover designed by:||Donna McKenna, Wellington|
|Miniature sheet designed by:||Lindy Fisher, Auckland|
|Printers and process:||Gummed: Cartor Security Printing, France, by offset lithography; Self-adhesive booklet: Australia Post Sprintpak|
|Number of colours:||Four process colours|
|Stamp size and format:||40mm x 30mm (vertical)|
|Paper type:||Gummed: 102gsm red phosphor stamp paper; Self-adhesive stamp: JAC self-adhesive paper|
|Number of stamps per coil:||100|
|Number of stamps per booklet:||10|
|Number of stamps per sheet:||25 stamps per sheet plus one strip of five 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 format.|
|Period of sale:||These stamps remained on sale until 27 January 2005.|