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Official issuer of New Zealand stamps & commemorative coins

2021 Year of the Ox

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To Chinese, the year of their birth is significant in shaping the trajectory of their lives. Those born in the year of the Ox are thought to be dependable, diligent and determined. Their other positive traits are being hardworking, honest and healthy.

Issue information

All these traits may make you feel intimidated if you’re not an Ox. Do not worry. The Chinese Zodiac is built on the principles of yin and yang, meaning that everything must find its natural balance. So people born in the year of the Ox have their flaws too. Primarily, they don’t know how to communicate very well.

2021 was not just the year of the Ox. It was also a metal Ox year. The last time that happened it was a different world. It was 1961, the year that cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first person to escape gravity and float in space above the Earth. In New Zealand it was the year that Waitangi Day became a national holiday. It was the year that the twist got everyone changing up their dance moves. People spent their screen time watching Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s at the cinema. In 1961 the population of people born in China and living in New Zealand was only 4,194 - that’s compared to a total population of 2,461,300. It was the first year that wine could be legally sold in restaurants and the year capital punishment for murder was abolished.

The 2021 Year of the Ox stamps took inspiration from the Chinese Nianhua poster tradition. These posters are created specifically to commemorate the arrival of a new year. For Ying Chu, the designer of the stamps, they evoke a strong sense of nostalgia for Chinese traditions. The style of the posters has its origins in woodblock printing made popular during the Ming dynasty. Back then, various motifs were used, from portraits of immortal gods to illustrations of mythical stories and depictions of beautiful babies. By referencing the Nianhua poster, the stamps created a connection between Chinese New Zealanders and the ancient cultural practices of mainland China.

Presentation pack

You could read more about these festive stamps and the traditions of the Chinese New Year with the presentation pack for this issue. This collectable included a set of four stamps, a miniature sheet and a first day cover.

Pin

The delightful design for this year’s Chinese New Year stamp issue had been channeled into a gorgeous enamel pin. Featuring an ox with two babies in a New Year procession, the pin represented new beginnings celebrating the year ahead, and made a lovely gift for people born in the Year of the Ox.

Gold-plated stamp sheets and 1oz silver gold plated medallion

To go with these bright, festive stamps, there were also a range of gold-foiled products available, as well as a gold-plated 1oz silver medallion. These products made very special gifts for celebrating the Chinese New Year.

Product listing for 2021 Year of the Ox

Image Title Description Price
2021 Year of the Ox $1.40 Single Stamp | NZ Post Collectables Single Stamp

Single $1.40 'Happiness' gummed stamp.

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.

$1.40
2021 Year of the Ox Single $2.70 Stamp | NZ Post Collectables Single Stamp

Single $2.70 'Fortune' gummed stamp.

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.

$2.70
2021 Year of the Ox Single $3.50 Stamp | NZ Post Collectables Single Stamp

Single $3.50 'Freedom' gummed stamp.

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.

$3.50
2021 Year of the Ox Single $4.00 Stamp | NZ Post Collectables Single Stamp

Single $4.00 'Peace' gummed stamp.

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.

$4.00
2021 Year of the Ox Miniature Sheet | NZ Post Collectables Miniature Sheet

Mint, used or cancelled gummed miniature sheet.

$11.60
2021 Year of the Ox First Day Cover | NZ Post Collectables First Day Cover

First day cover with four gummed stamps affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue.

$12.10
2021 Year of the Ox Miniature Sheet First Day Cover Miniature Sheet First Day Cover

First day cover with gummed miniature sheet affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue.

$12.10
2021 Year of the Ox Presentation Pack | NZ Post Collectables Presentation Pack

You could read more about these festive stamps and the traditions of the Chinese New Year with the presentation pack for this issue. This collectable included a set of four stamps, a miniature sheet and a first day cover.

$29.90
2021 Year of the Ox Gold Foiled Miniature Sheet in Perspex Stand | NZ Post Collectables Gold Foiled Miniature Sheet in Perspex Stand

Made from 24-carat 99.9 gold foil, this miniature sheet had been embossed and etched with micro fine detail and was mounted in a Perspex display stand (measuring 18cm x 10cm) - making a great gift for the Year of the Ox.

$188.00
2021 Year of the Ox Framed and Numbered Gold Foiled Miniature Sheet | NZ Post Collectables Framed and Numbered Gold Foiled Miniature Sheet

This large miniature sheet was one of only 66 produced. It had been 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
2021 Year of the Ox Gold Foiled Miniature Sheet with Coloured Stamps in Perspex Stand | NZ Post Collectables Gold Foiled Miniature Sheet with Coloured Stamps in Perspex Stand

Made from 24-carat 99.9 gold foil, this miniature sheet had been embossed and etched with micro fine detail and was mounted in a Perspex display stand (measuring 18cm x 10cm). It featured vibrant coloured stamps and was produced in limited numbers.

$288.00
2021 Year of the Ox Gold Plated Medallion | NZ Post Collectables Gold Plated Medallion

This medallion featured an ox with two babies in a New Year procession. The lotus flower in the baby’s hand is a popular Chinese icon, used to signify purity and a fresh start for the coming year. This medallion was minted from 1oz of 0.999 silver and plated in gold, making it a prestigious gift for anyone born in the Year of the Ox.

$109.00
2021 Year of the Ox Pin | NZ Post Collectables Pin

The delightful design for this year’s Chinese New Year stamp issue has been channeled into a gorgeous enamel pin. Featuring an ox with two babies in a New Year procession, the pin reflects represents new beginnings celebrating the year ahead.

$9.90

Technical information

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 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 1 December 2021. First day covers remained on sale until 27 January 2021.