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

Christmas Decorations 2003

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In 2003, we celebrated Christmas tree decorations. Each stamp depicted a common Christmas theme, in the rich hues of the season - a gorgeous addition to New Zealand Post's long history of creating innovative Christmas stamps.

Issue information

Tree decorations have been an integral part of the Christmas season for centuries, from the very early candles of the 7th century to the sophisticated, sparkling delights of the 21st. Today, decoration-laden trees are yuletide centrepieces of the family home, much-anticipated venues for the exchanging of gifts on Christmas morning and a spell-binding attraction for children and the young at heart.

The story of tree decorations actually began in Roman times, when trees were festooned with small pieces of metal during the winter festival of Saturnalia. An English monk, St Boniface, is credited with introducing them to the Christian tradition, and since then the practice of decorating indoor trees - and the huge variety of decorations available - has spread around the world.

In 2003, we celebrated these simple delights with six Christmas decoration stamp designs, each depicted a common Christmas theme in the rich hues of the season.

A Stunning Collection

Five gummed stamps were available in sheets in an unusual presentation format. Blocks of four stamps were made using a 90º rotation of each stamp to create a compelling perspective.

First Day Covers with a Difference

The rotational blocks of stamps were available on five first day covers that were sold as a complete collectors set.

You could also order a first day cover that featured one of each of the five gummed stamps, plus a self-adhesive version of the 40c stamp and a self-adhesive $1.00 Christmas stamp.

The Christmas Companion

You could order a dispenser box of 100 x 40c self-adhesive Christmas stamps, or get the 10-stamp 40c self-adhesive booklet.

The $1.00 self-adhesive Christmas stamp had also been included as part of a special New Zealand Post offer for Christmas cards posted around the world between 15 October ad 14 November 2003. This self-adhesive stamp was also available as a booklet.

Product Listing for Christmas Decorations 2003

Click on image to enlarge.

Image Title Description Price
Single Stamp Single 40c 'Christmas Decorations' gummed stamp. $0.40
Single Stamp Single 90c 'Christmas Decorations' gummed stamp. $0.90
Single Stamp Single $1.30 'Christmas Decorations' gummed stamp. $1.30
Single Stamp Single $1.50 'Christmas Decorations' gummed stamp. $1.50
Single Stamp Single $2.00 'Christmas Decorations' gummed stamp. $2.00
Single Stamp Single 40c 'Christmas Decorations' self-adhesive stamp. $0.40
Single Stamp Single $1.00 'Christmas Decorations' self-adhesive stamp. $1.00
First Day Cover First day cover with five gummed stamp and two self-adhesive stamps affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $8.00
Set of First Day Covers Set of five first day covers featuring each of the rotation blocks. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $26.90
Self-adhesive Dispenser Dispenser box containing 100 x 40c self-adhesive stamps. $40.00
Self-adhesive Booklet Booklet containing 10 x 40c self-adhesive stamps. $4.00
Self-adhesive Booklet Booklet containing 8 x $1.00 self-adhesive stamps. $8.00

Technical information

Date of issue: 1 October 2003
Number of stamps: Six
Denominations and Designs: 40c gummed and self-adhesive, 90c, $1.30, $1.50, $2.00
Stamps and first day covers designed by: Lindy Fisher, Auckland
Printer and process: Cartor Security Printing, France by offset lithography; Self-adhesive booklet: Southern Colour Print, Dunedin
Number of colours: Four process colours
Stamp size and format: Gummed: 34mm x 34mm (square); Self-adhesive: 25mm x 30mm
Paper type: 103gsm De la Rue red phosphor stamp paper
Perforation gauge: 13
Number of stamps per sheet: 50
Special blocks: Plate/imprint blocks could be obtained by purchasing at least six stamps from a sheet. Barcode, value blocks and logo blocks could be obtained by purchasing at least two stamps from a sheet. Rotation blocks were available as four stamps in block - each stamp rotated by 90 degrees. Barcode blocks were available in both A and B format.
Period of sale: These stamps remained on sale until 4 November 2004.
Period of sale for the $1.00 self-adhesive Christmas stamp: This stamp remained on sale until 14 October 2004.