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

New Zealand Native Seashells

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New Zealand’s diversity of seashell fauna can be attributed to our isolation and geological history, allowing for over 2000 native seashell species to thrive in our waters. We take a look at just five of these species in the New Zealand Native Seashells stamp issue. 

Issue information

As a nation surrounded by water, seashells are a common sight along our shorelines. Though for most New Zealanders their interactions with seashells are limited to those they find on the beach and the occasional shellfish meal, collecting seashells is a pastime enjoyed in the coastal regions of New Zealand, with three shell clubs based in Wellington, Auckland and Whangarei.

In this oceanic stamp issue, we looked at a range of seashells species found only in New Zealand, ranging from the common silver paua to the prized deep-water golden volute.

Collectables Celebrating our Marine Diversity

Included in this gorgeous issue was a first day cover, a miniature sheet and a miniature sheet first day cover. These collectables made a perfect addition to any New Zealand marine.

Product Listing for New Zealand Native Seashells

Click on image to enlarge.

Image Title Description Price
Single Stamp

Single 80c 'Silver paua (Haliotis australis)' gummed stamp.

The silver paua lives in the lowtide and shallow sub-tidal zones on rocky shores throughout the country where it grazes on kelps and other algae. The genus name Haliotis is Latin for sea-ear, reflecting their distinctive shell shape.

Single Stamp

Single $1.40 'Scott’s Murex (Rolandiella scotti)' gummed stamp.

As Scott’s Murex lives on rocks sub-tidally it can be quite a challenge to find a living specimen. The spines on the shell provide adhesion for camouflage providing organisms like bryozoans and coralline algae giving the shell a pebblelike appearance.

Single Stamp

Single $2.00 'Golden volute (Provocator mirabilis)' gummed stamp.

Golden volutes were once considered by many to be ‘New Zealand’s rarest shell’ as they inhabit depths of 400-1000 metres which is well beyond the reach of most shell collectors. It is rarely found in shell collections and is highly prized for its attractive curves and colouration.

Single Stamp

Single $2.50 'Fan shell (Talochlamys gemmulata)' gummed stamp.

Talochlamys gemmulata is one of two common shallow-water scallops referred to as fan shells in New Zealand. This particular specimen was collected from the Wahine wreck in Wellington harbour and is held in Te Papa Tongarewa’s collection.

Single Stamp

Single $3.00 'Opal top shell (Cantharidus opalus)' gummed stamp.

The opal top shell is a common and attractive species living on rocky shores throughout New Zealand at and below low-tide. Remarkably, the opal top shell was the first New Zealand animal to be scientifically recorded and illustrated.

Miniature Sheet Mint, used or cancelled gummed miniature sheet. $9.70
First Day Cover First day cover with five gummed stamps affixed. $10.20
Miniature Sheet First Day Cover First day cover with gummed miniature sheet affixed. $10.20
Presentation Pack

Included in the pack was five gummed stamps, plus the first day cover and miniature sheet. This pack contained in-depth information about the seashells included in this issue, as well as facts about seashells and their importance in the marine ecosystem.

Still available for purchase. Click here.

Limited Edition

Produced in limited numbers, the limited edition was the premium collectable in this issue and contained exclusive stamp products unique to this issue. In the booklet was more information about these diverse seashells, written by Kerry Walton. Included in this collectable was plate blocks of the five stamps, a unique numbered imperforate miniature sheet, colour separations of the $3.00 stamp and a specially designed first day cover signed by Kerry Walton.

Still available for purchase. Click here.


Technical information

Date of issue: 6 May 2015
Number of stamps: 5 gummed stamps
Stamps and first day covers designed by: Stamps and Collectables, New Zealand Post, Wellington, New Zealand
Denominations: 80c, $1.40, $2.00, $2.50 and $3.00
Printer and process: Southern Colour Print Ltd by offset lithography
Number of colours: Four process colours
Stamp size and format: 40mm x 30mm (vertical)
Paper type: Tullis Russell 104gsm red phosphor gummed stamp paper
Number of stamps per sheet: 25
Perforation gauge: 14
Period of sale: These stamps remained on sale until 5 May 2016.  First day covers remained on sale until 7 July 2015.