Stamp detective: stamps issued for the 1906-07 New Zealand Exhibition


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Stamps issued for the high profile New Zealand Exhibition of 1906-07 can still be found, as our stamp detective explains.

From 1 November 1906 until 15 April 1907, the New Zealand Exhibition was held in Christchurch. It attracted almost two million visitors, not bad for a country with a population of less than a million at the time. The exhibition was the brainchild of New Zealand’s Prime Minister Richard Seddon. Sadly he died just weeks before the event opened.

The exhibition had a fully operational post office which did brisk business. No less than 296,480 letters were dispatched not counting lettercards, postcards and parcels. Many were franked with the commemorative stamps issued for the exhibition.

What stamps are available?

The ½ penny, 1d and 3d stamps were issued on 1 November 1906 and the 6d value on 17 November 1906. The 6d is the key value in the set. 80,000 copies were issued of this value but the printing of the 3d was even smaller or just 60,000.

The stamps featuring the landing of Cook, Maori art, a canoe and the annexation of New Zealand were designed by L.J. Steele and typographed by Government Printer, Wellington. They are quite charming in their simplicity.


The 1d was first printed in claret but deemed unsatisfactory and replaced by a new printing in vermillion. The 1d claret is a great rarity.

The set has a catalogue value of £275 in mint condition. It currently sells for £100 to £150. It is hard to find well centred copies as the stamps were printed close to each other in the sheet. Unmounted mint is uncommon and worth a lot more.


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