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

Postage Dues

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Postage Due stamps were produced for the collection of unpaid or insufficiently paid postage on all classes of mail.

Issue information

From the establishment of a recognised postage service in New Zealand until 1862, when the use of stamps to prepay postage became obligatory, the post-master at the office of despatch was required to indicate the sum to be collected before delivery was made of an unpaid package. The amount had to be marked in clear figures on the face of the envelope or other form of wrapper and there was legislative authority for the collection of the postage.

The despatching postmaster was required to keep a record of the address of each letter on which the postage paid was insufficient and to submit a monthly return to Head Office. The postmasters at the various offices of receipt were debited with the amount that they were required to collect. In cases where the addressee could not be found or where the acceptance of an insufficiently paid letter was refused, the receiving postmaster forwarded it to Head Office together with a form upon which he claimed credit for the amount charged against him.

On the 1 April 1878 a new docket system was put in place. The docket was in two parts – the docket proper and the advice. Particulars of the office of despatch, the office which the charge was to be collected, and that amount of the charge were entered on both parts of the form and the advice was sent to the General Post Office Accountant in Wellington. The docket was affixed to the letter, and the postmaster at the receiving office, after collecting the charge, removed the docket, affixed postage stamps to the amount of the charge to the back of the docket, cancelled the stamps by writing his name across them and then forwarded the docket to Wellington.

The Labour involved in systematically pairing the dockets and advices had become altogether too onerous and the value of the check was out of proportion to the labour involved. Attention was drawn to the simple and convenient method then in use in the United States of America of collection postage due by means of distinctive stamps. The new system was to commence from 1 December 1899. The stamps were applied by the post office delivering the mail. 

Because of the utilitarian nature of postage due stamps, it was not considered necessary to spend a lot on each stamp to get a special design produced. The Government Printer was therefore instructed to prepare a simple single design for the whole issue.


New Zealand Post would like to acknowledge the following for their assistance and guidance in bringing together this stamp issue:

Historical information included on this page sourced from The Postage Stamps of New Zealand published by the Royal Philatelic Society of NZ. Their web site offers further information useful to those interested in the stamps and postal history of New Zealand. Link:

Product Listing for Postage Dues

Image Title Description Price
Single Stamp Single 1/2d 'Postage Dues' gummed stamp. 1/2d
Single Stamp Single 1d 'Postage Dues' gummed stamp. 1d
Single Stamp Single 2d 'Postage Dues' gummed stamp. 2d
Single Stamp Single 3d 'Postage Dues' gummed stamp. 3d
Single Stamp Single 4d 'Postage Dues' gummed stamp. 4d
Single Stamp Single 5d 'Postage Dues' gummed stamp. 5d
Single Stamp Single 6d 'Postage Dues' gummed stamp. 6d
Single Stamp Single 8d 'Postage Dues' gummed stamp. 8d
Single Stamp Single 10d 'Postage Dues' gummed stamp. 10d
Single Stamp Single 1s 'Postage Dues' gummed stamp. 1s
Single Stamp Single 2s 'Postage Dues' gummed stamp. 2s

Technical information

Date of issue: 1 December 1899
Designers: Government Printer, Wellington
Printers: Government Printing Office, Wellington
Stamp size: 25mm x 20mm
Sheet size: 120 stamps per sheet (2 panes of 60)
Process: Surface printed - Typography
Perforation gauge: 11
Paper type: De La Rue, NZ and star watermark