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

Ancient Reptiles of New Zealand

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Grab your binoculars and experience New Zealand’s prehistoric reptiles as you’ve never seen them before.

Issue information

In 2010 we celebrated our incredible extinct natural heritage with oversized stamps and five amazing coins. These species disappeared 65 million years ago, but with a little help from New Zealand Post, you can see what it might have been like to meet them face to face.

A hundred million years ago, our land formed the eastern margin of the southern super-continent of Gondwanaland. Separated by ocean, ‘Zealandia’ had its own group of dinosaurs, pterosaurs (flying reptiles) and giant marine reptiles that thrived here for 20 million years.

The Ancient Reptiles of New Zealand stamp and coin issue explored the behaviour and habitats of this exceptional group of animals, as if an explorer has travelled back in time and observed them directly. Illustrations on the stamps and coins were ‘field sketches’ – reconstructions based on the most up-to-date information on animal behaviour, ecology and New Zealand palaeontology.

The Ideal Presentation

These stamps were also displayed on the first day cover and oversized self-adhesive miniature sheet, whch measured 230mm x 200mm. You could discover more about the fascinating creatures featured in this issue through information on the reverse of the miniature sheet. Each miniature sheet also included a set of reptile stickers.

Discover a Lost World

You could learn more about the giant reptiles that lived in New Zealand more than 65 million years ago in a colourful three-panel presentation pack. In-depth information was created in the style of a field researcher’s notebook and accompanied by five gummed stamps, a miniature sheet, a set of stickers, a first day cover and an A2 map tracing their migration over the ancient super-continent of Gondwanaland.

Commemorative Coins

Take a look at the commemorative coins that were also part of this issue. Click here to find out more.

Product Listing for Ancient Reptiles of New Zealand

Image Title Description Price
Single Stamp

Single 50c 'Allosaurus' gummed stamp.

At 12 metres long, Allosaurus was the largest meat eater on land in the region. It was at the top of the food chain and,it has been suggested,had a cooperative social behaviour, hunting in packs, much like lions do today. It was able to open its jaws extremely widely, allowing it to attack large prey.

Single Stamp

Single $1.00 'Anhanguera' gummed stamp.

This pterosaur was the most common flying reptile in Zealandia. Fish eaters with a five-metre wingspan, they formed large coastal nesting colonies, similar to the seabirds of our time. They laid leathery eggs, and the flight centres in the brains of the young developed well before hatching, suggesting that they could fly from birth.

Single Stamp

Single $1.80 'Titanosaurus' gummed stamp.

Titanosaurus was the last descendant of the giant sauropods. It was small for a member of this group of dinosaurs, just 14 metres long, but was still massive and weighed about 13 tonnes. It was tall enough to browse the treetops and large ferns, travelling as part of an extensive herd to protect itself from predators.

Single Stamp

Single $2.30 'Moanasaurus' gummed stamp.

The mosasaurs (including Moanasaurus) were the top predators of the shallow coasts of Zealandia. At 12 metres long, with a 78-centimetre long skull, Moanasaurus would have been a fearsome predator, undulating its snake-like body through the water a little like a crocodile with paddled feet. Although mosasaurs were widespread across the world, Moanasaurus was specific to this region.

Single Stamp

Single $2.80 'Mauisaurus' gummed stamp.

Mauisaurus was a 20-metre marine reptile (plesiosaur), the largest of its kind in the world. It was an ‘elasmosaur’, the type of plesiosaur with a tiny head and very long neck. This meant that, for all its size, its diet was restricted to small fish and squid in the shallow coastal waters in which it lived.

Miniature Sheet Mint, used or cancelled miniature sheet. $8.40
First Day Cover First day cover with stamps affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $8.90
Presentation Pack Presentation Pack in the style of a field researcher's notebook which included set of stamps, a miniature sheet, a set of stickers, a first day cover and an A2 map tracing the reptiles' migration over Gondwanaland. $27.50
Limited Edition Limited edition pack which included a numbered gummed miniature sheet specifically designed for this edition, a signed first day cover, a full set of stamps, colour separations of the $2.80 stamp and insightful commentary by renowned New Zealand geologist and palaeontologist Dr Hamish Campbell. $135.00

Technical information

Date of issue: 3 March 2010
Number of stamps: Five gummed stamps and one self-adhesive miniature sheet
Denominations: 50c, $1.00, $1.80, $2.30, $2.80
Stamps, miniature sheet and first day cover designed by: Eklektus Inc., Wellington, New Zealand
Printer and process: Southern Colour Print Ltd by offset lithography
Number of colours: Four process colours (plus red phosphor tagging on miniature sheet)
Stamp size and format: 52mm x 37.5mm (horizontal)
Miniature sheet: 230mm x 200mm
Paper type: Gummed: Tullis Russell 104gsm red phosphor gummed stamp paper; Self-adhesive: Avery Dennison B100 PS1 Gloss Back Adhesive 210gsm
Number of stamps per sheet: 20
Perforation gauge: Stamp sheets: 14.40 x 14.60; Miniature sheets: die cut
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 close of business 2 March 2011.