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2009 Ross Dependency - 50th Anniversary of the Signing of the Antarctic Treaty

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In 1959, 12 nations active in Antarctica during the 1957-58 International Geophysical Year signed a landmark agreement – the Antarctic Treaty. 

Issue information

Through it, they aimed to ensure ‘in the interests of all mankind that Antarctica shall continue forever to be used exclusively for peaceful purposes and shall not become the scene or object of international discord’.

Fifty years later, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of this remarkable event, which set the scene for member countries to work together in Antarctica for peaceful and scientific purposes. Today, 47 countries are signatories to the Treaty, representing more than 80 per cent of the world’s population. This stamp issue took four key objectives from the Treaty and puts them on official Ross Dependency stamps.

Exploring, Examining, Preserving and Protecting

The five stamps in this issue were all displayed on the first day cover – providing a permanent reminder of the international scientific presence on this frozen continent, and the value and importance of the work undertaken there.

Ross Dependency Postage in New Zealand

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Product Listing for 2009 Ross Dependency - 50th Anniversary of the Signing of the Antarctic Treaty

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Image Title Description Price
Single Stamp

Single 50c '50th Anniversary of the Antarctic Treaty' gummed stamp.

The International Geophysical Year (IGY) marked a worldwide programme of upper atmospheric and polar research. This included a range of globally important scientific research programmes in Antarctica, conducted by the 12 countries that became signatories to the Antarctic Treaty – Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Chile, France, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States and the USSR (now Russia).

Single Stamp

Single $1.00 'Antarctica Shall be Used for Peaceful Purposes Only' gummed stamp.

The Antarctic Treaty, which opened for signature on 1 December 1959 and officially came into force on 23 June 1961, was a diplomatic expression of the operational and scientific co-operation that had been achieved ‘on the ice’ during IGY. One of its key principles is that the area shall be used for peaceful purposes only; all military activities are banned, although military personnel can be used to support scientific programmes.

Single Stamp

Single $1.80 'Freedom of Scientific Investigation in Antarctica' gummed stamp.

Another Treaty principle supports the freedom of scientific investigation – an important concept, as scientific research has been the main activity on the Antarctic continent ever since the Treaty came into force. It has led to a number of scientific breakthroughs, such as the discovery of the ozone hole and the recovery of data on the climate of the past hundreds of thousands of years.

Single Stamp

Single $2.30 'International Co-operation in Scientific Investigation in Antarctica' gummed stamp.

International co-operation is a vital part of Antarctica’s scientific programme, and is seen in recent examples such as the Antarctic Drilling Project, ANDRILL, which involved New Zealand, the United States, Germany and Italy. The rock cores gathered through the Project will provide valuable information on the impact of climate change on Antarctica.

Single Stamp

Single $2.80 'Preservation and Conservation of Living Resources in Antarctica' gummed stamp.

Under the Treaty the original 12 nations undertook to consult on the preservation and conservation of Antarctic living resources. Treaty parties have since developed the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources and the Environmental Protocol, which designates Antarctica a natural reserve, devoted to peace and science.

First Day Cover First day cover with stamps affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $8.90

Technical information

Date of issue: 25 November 2009
Number of stamps: Five gummed stamps
Denominations: 50c, $1.00, $1.80, $2.30, $2.80
Stamps, first day cover designed by: Inhouse Design, Auckland, New Zealand
Printer and process: Southern Colour Print Ltd by offset lithography
Number of colours: Four process colours
Stamp size and format: 30mm x 40mm (vertical)
Paper type: Tullis Russell 104gsm red phosphor gummed stamp paper
Number of stamps per sheet: 25
Perforation gauge: 13.33
Special blocks: Plate/imprint blocks could be obtained by purchasing at least six stamps from a sheet. Barcode blocks were available in both A and B formats.
Period of sale: These stamps remained on sale until 24 November 2010.