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

Queen Victoria Second Sidefaces

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Prior to 1882 'postage' and 'revenue' (or 'duty') stamps could only be used for the particular purpose for which they had been produced. As a consequence of this situation far too many 'revenue' (or 'duty') stamps were printed than could ever be used.

Issue information

Due to this situation it was decided to produce a new set of stamps from 1d to 1s that would serve for both the payment of postage and of small revenue charges. The 2 1/2d and 5d designs were selected from 33 entries in a public competition.

Most of the new designs were based on the Queen Victoria side face issue of 1874, designed by Thomas De La Rue & Co, with the words "Postage and Revenue" added by W H Norris. Three of the stamps did depict new images of the Queen, the 1/2d being designed by F W Sears, the 2 1/2d by A E Cousins and the 5d by A W Jones.

New Zealand was not formally admitted to the Postal Union until 1 October 1891 and was not therefore bound by a decision of the Union in 1890 that set the standard postage rate for foreign letters at 2 1/2d per 1/2 oz.  Nevertheless it was decided to fall in line with the Postal Union decision and the 2 1/2d stamp was issued on 27 December 1890 and a 5d stamp on 1 February 1891.

The engraving of these stamps was completed by W R Bock (the seven original values) and A E Cousins (1/2d, 2 1/2d and 5d values).

In 1893 the New Zealand Government entered into a contract with Messrs. Truebridge, Miller & Reich, giving them the right to utilise the backs of postage stamps for advertising purposes. All values in the set then on issue from 1d to 1s were made use of and the stamps with advertisements were issued in early 1893. The arrangement was terminated at the end of a twelve month period, as some fear was expressed of the possible danger through licking the stamps.


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 Queen Victoria Second Sidefaces

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Image Title Description Price
Single Stamp Single 1/2d 'Black' gummed stamp. 1/2d
Single Stamp Single 1d 'Red' gummed stamp. 1d
Single Stamp Single 2d 'Purple' gummed stamp. 2d
Single Stamp Single 2 1/2d 'Blue' gummed stamp. 2 1/2d
Single Stamp Single 3d 'Yellow' gummed stamp. 3d
Single Stamp Single 4d 'Green' gummed stamp. 4d
Single Stamp Single 5d 'Grey' gummed stamp. 5d
Single Stamp Single 6d 'Brown' gummed stamp. 6d
Single Stamp Single 8d 'Blue' gummed stamp. 8d
Single Stamp Single 1s 'Chestnut' gummed stamp. 1s

Technical information

Date of issue: 1 April 1882
Designers: W H Norris; F W Sears; A E Cousins; A W Jones and Thomas De La Rue, England
Printers: Government Printing Office, Wellington
Stamp size: 22mm x 20mm
Sheet size: 240 stamps per sheet (4 panes of 60 stamps separated by gutters)
Process: Surface printed - Typography
Perforation gauge: Various
Paper type: De La Rue, NZ and star watermark; 1/2d and 2d values were also produced in 1900 on Waterlow paper, double-lined watermark.