The Lions returned in 2005 with thousands of their most loyal supporters for another attempt at beating the mighty All Blacks.
The field was set and the fans were ready for the long-awaited clash between two international rugby giants. 12 years after their last visit to New Zealand, the Lions returned with thousands of their most loyal supporters for another attempt at beating the mighty All Blacks.
Worthy opponents, it was an event that would be talked about for generations - and remembered forever through this remarkable souvenir collection.
The heart-swelling pride of representing your country could only be imagined by most of us, but the bond was felt by fans everywhere when they donned the colours of their team to show their support. It is fitting then that this historical tournament was commemorated with a stamp issue that featured nothing more than the jerseys themselves.
2005 All Blacks Jersey
The All Black jersey is one of the most recognised sporting icons in the world. First adopted in 1893, and 'all black' since the early 1900's, the jersey is worn with incredible pride and honour and has become a symbol of excellence across the globe.
Following in the footsteps of so many legendary sportsmen before them, the All Blacks would shoulder the responsibility of living up to their heroes and becoming heroes themselves.
2005 Bristish & Irish Lions Rugby Jersey
Officially established in 1910, the British and Irish Lions earned their fearsome name in the inter-war period, from the emblem on the players' jersey and lapel badges. Their red jersey has changed significantly in both colour and design and continues to change every time they tour.
What didn't change was the 'Sea of Red' that followed them, as thousands of passionate fans travelled the world in loyal support.
First Day Cover
A stunning record of a historic tournament, the first day cover sported all four stamps facing off on a rugby field.
This striking collector's pack included all four of the stamps, the first day cover and a set of the postage-included souvenir cards.
Postage-included Souvenir Cards
Not only did the postage-included souvenir cards allow you to purchase a piece of sporting history, but you could post them to your friends all over the world.
The four designs highlighted the emblems of both the All Blacks and the Lions. Fans united with passionate support under these historic crests, all with a common desire - that their heroes would enjoy the glory of a spetacular win.
A Few Facts About the 2005 Tour
Tickets to the Lions matches were in such hot demand that the New Zealand Rugby Union held a public ballot to allocate them. With approximately 150,000 tickets available, hopeful fans had to register at the end of 2004 and the ballot was drawn in February 2005.
The tour attracted an estimated 15,000 British and Irish fans to New Zealand. They cruised around the country in 150 - 180 tour buses, alongside a fleet of approximately 1,000 - 1,500 campervans. To deal with the massive demand for accommodation a UK travel agent booked a cruise ship, the Pacific Sky, for the duration of the tour. It could accommodate an impressive 1,200 people.
Take a look at the commemorative coins that were also part of this issue. Click here to find out more.
Product Listing for DHL New Zealand Lions Series 2005
Click on image to enlarge.
|Date of issue:||1 June 2005|
|Number of stamps:||Four|
|Denominations and designs:||45c All Blacks, 45c Lions, $1.50 All Blacks, $1.50 Lions|
|Stamps and first day cover designed by:||Saatchi & Saatchi, Wellington|
|Printer and process:||Southern Colour Print, New Zealand by offset lithography|
|Number of colours:||Four process colours|
|Stamp size and format:||40mm x 36mm (vertical)|
|Paper type:||Avery Dennison Non DC Kraft-back PSA|
|Number of stamps per sheet:||24|
|Perforation gauge:||Die cut|
|Special blocks:||Plate/imprint blocks could be obtained by purchasing at least eight stamps from a sheet. Barcode, value blocks and logo blocks could be obtained by purchasing at least four stamps from a sheet. Barcode blocks were available in both A and B format.|
|Period of sale:||These stamps remained on sale until 31 May 2006.|