Official issuer of New Zealand stamps & commemorative coins

2021 Year of the Ox Set of Mint Stamps

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Mint set of four gummed stamps.

Individual stamps included in this set

$1.40 Happiness

Chinese New Year traditions are filled with meaning. For example, if you eat noodles you’ll have a long life and if you clean your house you’ll sweep away the bad luck of the previous year. These stamps are also embedded with significance. The Ox is a symbol of determination and honesty and the smiling infant represents happiness. By depicting the Ox and the infant together, a relationship between these two concepts is created.

$2.70 Fortune

We see the Ox and infants in a New Year procession. Festival parades like this typically centre on a dragon dance, which is believed to bring good fortune and prosperity. As the Ox and infants march together, they represent new beginnings and a celebration of the year ahead. Clasped in one baby’s hand is a lotus flower. The flower appears in all the stamps. It’s a popular Chinese icon used to signify purity and a fresh start for the coming year.

$3.50 Freedom

Here a toddler is seen raising an Ox kite. Kites have a long history in China. Generally, they are considered to represent freedom and good luck. As the kite resembles an ox, it also signifies a year when hard work is rewarded with prosperity. In one Chinese kite tradition, people send kites as high and as far away as possible, then cut them free to drift off into the sky. This symbolises letting go of the past to make way for the year ahead.

$4.00 Peace

The Ox and an infant share an apple; this act of sharing represents peace. Like the other stamps, the image is framed by a box-border. This treatment draws on the visual customs associated with the Chinese lunar calendar. Both the calendar and the stamp feature bold typography, simple colour palettes and a series of boxed-in elements that are divided by thin lines. By referencing the calendar the stamps pay homage to the original purpose of the Chinese Zodiac - a way for the Jade Emperor to track time.

Date of issue: 2 December 2020
Number of stamps: Four gummed
Denominations: $1.40, $2.70, $3.50, $4.00
Stamps, miniature sheet and first day covers designed by: YMC Design, Wellington, New Zealand
Printer and process: Southern Colour Print, New Zealand by offset lithography
Number of colours: Four process colours
Stamp size and format: 30mm x 40mm (vertical)
Miniature sheet size and format: 135mm x 90mm (horizontal)
Paper type: Tullis Russell 104gsm red phosphor gummed stamp paper
Number of stamps per sheet: 25
Perforation gauge: 14
Special blocks: Plate/imprint blocks may be obtained by purchasing at least six stamps from a sheet. Barcode blocks are available in A and B formats.
Period of sale: Unless stocks are exhausted earlier, these stamps will remain on sale until 1 December 2021. First day covers will remain on sale until 27 January 2021.