Official issuer of New Zealand stamps & commemorative coins
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Christmas 1986

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The first three verses of the popular carol, 'The Twelve Days of Christmas' were illustrated on the 1986 Christmas stamps.

Issue information

In the middle ages, 'counting songs' were very popular.  Although almost nursery rhymes, they were meant more as a teaching aid than as mere entertainment.  The 'Twelve days of Christmas' is an anonymous reminder of this form of song and is unique among Christmas carols, being entirely about receiving gifts without having anything to say about the season.

Stamp Bulletin

This stamp issue first appeared in New Zealand Post Stamp Bulletin No. 36 in September 1986.

Acknowledgments: Bulletin scanned and provided by John Biddlecombe of the New Zealand Society of Great Britain. Their web site offers further information useful to those interested in the stamps and postal history of New Zealand. Link:

Product Listing for Christmas 1986

Image Title Description Price
  Single Stamp

Single 25c gummed stamp.

"On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me, a partridge in a pear tree."


  Single Stamp

Single 55c gummed stamp.

"On the second day of Christmas my true love sent to me, two turtledoves."

  Single Stamp

Single 65c gummed stamp.

"On the third day of Christmas my true love sent to me, three french hens."

  First Day Cover First day cover with stamps affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $1.59

Technical information

Date of issue: 17 September 1986
Denominations: 25c, 55c, 65c
Designer: Margaret Halcrow-Cross, Christchurch
Printer and process: Heraclio Fournier SA, Spain by Photogravure
Stamp size and format: 35mm x 28mm (Vertical)
Number of stamps per sheet: 100 (10 rows of 10 stamps)
Period of sale: These stamps remained on sale until 30 June 1987.
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