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

Stamp Anniversary Miniature Sheet

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1990 was a landmark year - it marked the 150th anniversary of the first official adhesive postage stamp; now perhaps the most famous stamp of all time, the Penny Black. In honour of this special event, a miniature sheet was issued. This issue coincided with the World Stamp Exhibition 'New Zealand 1990' - held in Auckland.

Issue information

The introduction of the adhesive postage stamp back in 1840 vastly changed the method of paying for mail delivery in Britain. Initiated by the English schoolmaster Rowland Hill, pre-paid postage replaced the previous system of recipients having to pay upon delivery of their mail.  An adhesive stamp was introduced as the receipt for pre-payment and complex and expensive postage rates were replaced by a flat rate of one penny for letters weighing up to half an ounce. The British Post Office did not initially approve of Rowland Hill's proposal - but public demand was in his favour.

Subsequently, an Act for the Penny Post was passed in the British Parliament, and on 1 May 1840, the now famous and coveted Penny Black became legal tender for postage in Great Britain.  In New Zealand, the first official adhesive postage stamps were not introduced until some years later, in 1855, and depicted a full face portrait of Queen Victoria taken from a coronation portrait painted by Alfred Edward Chalon.

Appropriately, the subjects of the six 40c stamps featured on the miniature sheet to commemorate the anniversary were British Monarchs who reigned during the 150 year history of postage stamps.  All these monarchs have appeared at some stage over the past 150 years on New Zealand postage stamps.

The miniature sheet design was engraved by British American Banknotes Inc, of Canada.

Miniature Sheet - $2.40

Within a border of a Maori rafter patterns, six stamps depict the British Monarchs, Victoria, Edward VII, George V, Edward VIII, George VI and Elizabeth II.

Product listing for Stamp Anniversary Miniature Sheet

Click on image to enlarge.

Image Title Description Price
Miniature Sheet Mint, used or cancelled miniature sheet. $2.40
Miniature Sheet First Day Cover First day cover with miniature sheet affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $2.65

Technical information

Date of issue: 29 August 1990
Designers: A G Mitchell, Wellington
Printers: Leigh-Mardon, Australia
Stamp size: 25mm x 30mm
Sheet size: 6 stamps included
Process: Lithography
Perforation gauge: 14.2 x 14
Paper type: Harrison and Sons, red phosphor coated, unwatermarked
Period of sale: These stamps remained on sale until 29 August1991.