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

2013 Year of the Snake

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According to the Chinese zodiac, the Year of the Snake began on 10 February 2013. It marked the beginning of Chinese New Year celebrations in New Zealand, China and around the world.

Issue information

The snake is the sixth animal in the Chinese lunar calendar, and those born in the Year of the Snake are thought to be elegant, insightful, motivated and highly intellectual. According to ancient Chinese folklore, snakes are deities in disguise, and a snake entering a house brings good fortune for all who live there.

The 2013 Year of the Snake stamp issue reflected different aspects of Chinese tradition and culture. The four illustrated stamps also celebrated New Zealand's growing Chinese community, and are an essential addition to any lunar stamp collection.

Vibrant Collectables for the Year of the Snake

The four 2013 Year of the Snake stamps were incorporated into a colourful miniature sheet that featured the Chinese characters for each of the 12 animals in the Chinese lunar calendar. The stamps and miniature sheet were also incorporated in two collectable first day covers. The stamp sheets in this issue are unique, with each one containing five gutter pairs.

Product Listing for 2013 Year of the Snake

Image Title Description Price
  Single Stamp

Single 70c 'Chinese Calligraphic Snake' gummed stamp.

The striking Chinese 'snake' character on this stamp was created by Zhao Meng-fu, a scholar, painter and calligrapher from the Yuan Dynasty (1254-1322 AD). Known for his 'revivalist' approach, Zhao rejected the gentle brushwork of his era in favour of the cruder style of the 8th century. 

  Single Stamp

Single $1.40 'Paper-cut Greeting Snake' gummed stamp.

The art of Chinese paper-cutting (jianzhi) can be traced back to the period known as the Northern and Southern Dynasties (386-581 AD). The greeting snake paper-cut on this stamp featured images of the silver fern (Cyathea dealbata) and the pomegranate - a Chinese symbol of luck, fertility, wealth and long life.

  Single Stamp

Single $1.90 'Koru-Snake Lantern' gummed stamp.

New Zealand's links with China are celebrated in this lantern design, which featured a koru-shaped snake. The unfurling fern represents new life, growth and strength, while the rounded lantern symbolises wholeness and harmony. The snake is decorated with the peony, which is widely regarded as China's national flower. 

  Single Stamp

Single $2.40 'Queenstown and Red Lanterns' gummed stamp.

The koru-snake lantern was taken to new heights in the $2.40 stamp, soaring on the Skyline Gondola above Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu. This area is also home to the Winter Festival, and in 2012 the Festival included a lantern parade, with an array of colourful lanterns and a Chinese dragon lighting up the streets. 

  Miniature Sheet Mint, used or cancelled gummed miniature sheet. $6.40
  First Day Cover First day cover with four gummed stamps affixed. $6.90
  Miniature Sheet First Day Cover First day cover with gummed miniature sheet affixed. $6.90
  Presentation Pack Inside, was a selection of stamp products including the four gummed stamps, the miniature sheet and the first day cover. An Intricate Chinese paper-cut snake was beautifully displayed within the pack. $19.90
  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 is mounted in a perspex display stand (measuring 18cm x 10cm). $188.00
  Large Gold Foiled Miniature Sheet in Frame This large miniature sheet was one of only 128 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: 9 January 2013
Number of stamps: Four gummed stamps
Miniature sheet: One sheet with four gummed stamps
Denominations: 70c, $1.40, $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: 106gsm red phosphor gummed stamp paper
Number of stamps per sheet: 25
Perforation gauge: 13.25 x 13
Special blocks: Plate/Imprint blocks were 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 8 January 2014.