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

2012 Year of the Dragon

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The 2012 Year of the Dragon stamp issue was certainly one to celebrate. The powerful dragon is the most vibrant of all 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac and when the Year of the Dragon began on 23 January 2012, it brought with it health, wealth, prosperity and success.

Issue information

The dragon is an important ancient symbol for the Chinese people, and it is believed to ward off evil spirits. Everything connected with the dragon is thought to be blessed, which made this lunar stamp issue particularly special. Not only do the stamps portray the dragon through different aspects of Chinese culture they also celebrate the growing multicultural society in New Zealand.

Product Listing for 2012 Year of the Dragon

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Image Title Description Price
Single Stamp

Single 60c 'Year of the Dragon' gummed stamp.

Calligraphy is a traditional Chinese art form, and the Chinese character for 'dragon' expressed on the 60c stamp is from the Xi Xia Song stone monument. Carved in the 'Lishu' calligraphy style, the character has an authoritative feel that reflects the strength and confidence of those born in the year of the dragon.


Single Stamp

Single $1.20 'Paper-cut Dragon' gummed stamp.

Paper-cutting is a much-loved Chinese folk art that became popular shortly after paper was invented. It is used for many Chinese weddings, ceremonies and festivals, and the skilfully crafted paper-cut dragon in the $1.20 stamp indicates prosperity, amiability and celebration.

Single Stamp

Single $1.90 'Dragon Lantern' gummed stamp.

Chinese lanterns are an important part of Chinese New Year, and the Chinese Lantern Festival marks the end of the 15-day Chinese New Year celebrations. The dragon lantern featured on the $1.90 stamp was used in the Auckland Lantern Festival, which annually celebrates New Zealand's multicultural society.

Single Stamp

Single $2.40 'New Zealand Icon - Dunedin Railway Station' gummed stamp.

Situated in the South Island, Dunedin was one of the earliest settlements for Chinese immigrants in New Zealand. Over the centuries New Zealand has welcomed many different cultures and this is depicted by the pair of swallows on the $2.40 stamp, which in the Chinese culture symbolise hope, blessings and happiness in the land.

Miniature Sheet Mint, used or cancelled gummed miniature sheet. $6.10
First Day Cover First day cover with four gummed stamps affixed. $6.60
Miniature Sheet First Day Cover First day cover with gummed miniature sheet affixed. $6.60
Presentation Pack Presentation pack featuring four gummed stamps, the miniature sheet and the first day cover. In addition, displayed within the pack was an intricate Chinese paper-cut dragon. It also contained detailed information on the Year of the Dragon. $19.90
Limited Edition The premium collectable in the Year of the Dragon stamp was the limited edition. The booklet included within was written by Tony Fan, and contained a set of plate blocks for each stamp. The limited edition also contained an imperforate, individually numbered miniature sheet featuring gold foiling; a limited edition first day cover signed by Tony Fan; gutter pairs of each stamp; and colour separations of the $2.40 stamp. Only 2,000 limited editions were produced. $135.00
Gold Foiled Miniature Sheet in Perspex Stand Made from 24-carat 99.9 gold foil, this miniature sheet was embossed and etched with micro fine detail and was mounted in a perspex display stand. $188.00
Framed and Numbered Gold Foiled Miniature Sheet There were only 128 large miniature sheets produced. It was embossed and etched with micro fine detail from 24-carat 99.9 gold foil, and was presented within an individually numbered frame (measuring 39cm x 27cm). $560.00

Technical information

Date of issue: 5 January 2012
Number of stamps: Four gummed stamps
Miniature sheet: One sheet with four gummed stamps
Denominations: 60c, $1.20, $1.90 and $2.40
Stamps, miniature sheet, first day covers and presentation pack designed by: Bananaworks, Auckland, New Zealand
Printer and process: Cartor Security Printing, France by offset lithography
Number of colours: Four process colours
Stamp size and format: 30mm x 40mm (vertical)
Paper type: 103gsm red phosphor gummed stamp paper
Number of stamps per sheet: 25
Perforation gauge: 13.25 x 13
Special blocks: Plate/Imprint blocks could be obtained by purchasing at least six stamps from a sheet. Barcode blocks were available in A and B formats.
Period of sale: These stamps remained on sale until 4 January 2013.