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

Veteran Vehicles

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In this stamp issue we paid tribute to the cars that changed New Zealand forever - the magnificent machines we call Veteran Vehicles

Issue information

Every now and then, while travelling our country's roads, we come across a truly magnificent sight - a convoy of vintage cars on a social outing, their occupants resplendent in period costumes and clearly enjoying the ride.

The workmanship and elegance of these magnificent machines is a marvel to behold, chugging along at a suitably stately pace in all their highly polished glory - and we can't help but compare them with their modern-day counterparts, sweeping past in a blur of speed and sophistication that the early inventors could have only dreamed of.

A Collector's Must

Our Veteran Vehicles stamp issue also celebrated the 100th birthday of the New Zealand Automobile Association (AA) as the 'voice' of motorists. It all began when seven men, representing the upper crust of Auckland society, gathered at the home of George de Clive Lowe to discuss the potential of an automobile club. 100 years on, the AA represents 900,000 people and has the largest membership of any organisation in New Zealand.

Our stamps illustrated five of the earliest models to grace New Zealand's roads, from the world's first motorcar (the Benz Velo) to the ubiquitous Model T Ford - the car that transformed driving forever. Each of the vehicles tells a fascinating story of innovation, entreprenurial flair and sheer determination in a world where cars were viewed by many with scepticism and suspicion.

Broadening Our Horizons

The car brought a whole new dimension to New Zealander's lives, enabling them to explore further into the countryside than ever before. The Veteran Vehicles first day cover demonstrated the appeal of the 'tourer' as the ideal vehicle for family outings.

The first two cars imported to New Zealand were more an object of anxious apprehension than a welcome entrant to society. You could read more about the reaction to these new-fangled machines in the Veteran Vehicles presentation pack which also included all five stamps and the first day cover.

Product Listing for Veteran Vehicles

Click on image to enlarge.

Image Title Description Price
Single Stamp

Single 40c '1895 Benz Velo' gummed stamp.

Launched in Germany in 1894, the 'Velo' was the world's first inexpensive, mass-produced car. The two-passenger buggy travelled up to 24 kilometres per hour and soon proved a popular choice, with almost 400 built and sold in the first three years of manufacture.

Single Stamp

Single 90c '1903 Oldsmobile' gummed stamp.

American Ransom Eli Olds was one of very few of his countrymen to visualise - and realise - the potential in building automobiles on a large scale. The first Oldsmobile (the 'Curved Dash' runabout) emerged from the company's Detroit-based assembly line in 1900, establishing Oldsmobile as a leader in American car manufacturing.

Single Stamp

Single $1.30 '1911 Wolseley' gummed stamp.

The British Wolseley was invented in secret by Herbert Austin while he was Works Manager for the Wolseley Sheep Shearing Machine Company. Soon the car overtook the sheep shearing machine as the company's flagship product, and Wolseley became recognised as a major British motor designer - a reputation it maintained until manufacturing ceased in 1975.

Single Stamp

Single $1.50 '1915 Talbot' gummed stamp.

The 'Invincible Talbot' proved it deserved its nickname when in 1913 it became the first vehicle to cover more than 160 kilometres in an hour. Originally the 'Clement' of France but renamed by Clement Talbot Ltd, the car achieved more than 100 'first' awards, including the first motor crossing of Australia from Adelaide to Darwin in 1908.

Single Stamp

Single $2.00 '1915 Model T Ford' gummed stamp.

Ford's Model T transformed the world of motoring. This simple, reliable car, available only in black, was able to be priced for the masses; owing to the company's highly efficient assembly line technique. Ford became the biggest car manufacturer in the industry, eventually selling more than 15 million of the ubiquitous 'Tin Lizzies'.

First Day Cover First day cover with stamps affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $6.60
Presentation Pack Presentation pack containing a selection of stamp products from the issue and further information on the theme of the stamps. $16.95
Limited Edition Limited edition collectable containing exclusive stamp products not available anywhere else. $135.00

Technical information

Date of issue: 3 September 2003
Number of stamps: Five
Denominations and designs: 40c 1895 Benz Velo, 90c 1903 Oldsmobile, $1.30 1911 Wolseley, $1.50 1915 Talbot, $2.00 1915 Model T Ford
Stamps and first day cover designed by: Stephen Fuller, Watermark, Wellington
Printer and process: Cartor Security Printing, France by offset lithography
Number of colours: Four process colours
Stamp size and format: 30mm x 40mm (horizontal)
Paper type: 103gsm red phosphor stamp paper
Perforation gauge: 13
Number of stamps per sheet: 25
Special blocks: Plate/imprint blocks could be obtained by purchasing at least six stamps from a sheet. Barcode, value blocks and logo blocks could be obtained by purchasing at least two stamps from a sheet. Barcode blocks were available in both A and B format.
Period of sale: These stamps remained on sale until 2 September 2004.