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

Christmas 1993

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The Christmas 1993 stamp issue included a montage of different images commonly associated with the festive season. Among them, was the explosively popular Christmas cracker. Whilst no Christmas feast would be complete without the ritual pulling of crackers, not many people know where this unusual tradition came from.

Issue information

In fact, we owe it all to a Victorian confectioner's apprentice called Tom Smith - who, back in 1847, made a trip to Paris to gather ideas and seek out new innovations in the confectionery business. Something that caught his eye, and his imagination, was a display in a small shop window of sugared almonds wrapped in small twists of coloured tissue paper. Tom brought this idea back to Britain, and although the public responded well, demand for his 'bon-bons' declined following the Christmas period. So he decided to give them a seasonal touch. First, he added a little message inside each of the wrappers, and then he had the inspiration (while sitting at home in front of a cracking log fire) to put a 'bang' into his bon-bons! It took Tom two years to develop the friction strip that produced the bang, however he was richly rewarded for his time and effort as the newly invented 'Christmas cracker' became a huge success.

The se-tenant set of stamps in this issue featured presents, christmas crackers, christmas pudding, tree decorations, the pōhutukawa (New Zealand christmas tree), and a summery sea dotted with yachts.

Image Title Desription Price
Single Stamp

Single $1.00 'Cracker' gummed stamp.

This stamp incorporates presents, a Christmas cracker, tree decorations, pine needles, and a sea dotted with yachts.

Single Stamp

Single $1.50 'Gift' gummed stamp.

This stamp incorporates a present, Christmas wreath and a sea dotted with yachts to reflect the warm holiday spirit that prevails during the festive season in New Zealand.

Se-tenant Set Mint, used or cancelled se-tenant set of 4 x 45c stamps.  $1.80
First Day Cover First day cover with se-tenant block of 4 x 45c stamps, 1 x $1.00 and 1 x $1.50 stamps affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $4.55
Gummed Booklet Gummed booklet containing 10 x 45c stamps. $4.50

Technical information

Date of issue: 1 September 1993
Designer: Kristine Cotton, Auckland, NZ
Printer: Leigh-Mardon, Australia
Stamp size: 25mm x 30mm
Sheet size: 100 stamps per sheet; Ten stamps per booklet
Process: Lithography
Perforation gauge: Sheet stamps: 14.3 x 14; Booklet stamp: 12
Paper type: Coated Papers, red phosphor coated, unwatermarked
Period of sale: These stamps remained on sale until 1 September 1994.