1855 Full Face Queens

By 1850 it was considered desirable by the Government of New Zealand to introduce a system of prepayment of postage on letters by means of postage stamps, following the example of Great Britain which had first introduced them in 1840.

Issue information

The selection of the design of the country’s first postage stamps was arranged between the New Zealand Government and the printing company Perkins, Bacon & Co. of London. Because many of the colonists - particularly those who were responsible for the administration of the country - had left Great Britain within a year or two of the coronation of Queen Victoria in 1837, it was quite appropriate that she was depicted on the stamps as they remembered her, even though nearly 20 years had since past.

Queen Victoria became the longest-reigning monarch in English history. Born in Kensington Palace, London, on May 24, 1819, she was the only child of Edward, Duke of Kent the son of George III, and Princess Victoria. She died on 22 January 1901 and was succeeded by her son, Edward VII.

Edward Henry Corbould, R.I., completed a water colour sketch of the head and bust of the Queen based on a portrait by Alfred Edward Chalon which depicted a young Queen Victoria in her State Robes at the time of her coronation. William Humphrys then engraved the stamp image based upon this reference.

The set originally comprised only three stamps - 1d (penny), 2d and 1s (shilling), printed in England by Perkins, Bacon. The other values were added later and these together with all reprints of the original three denominations were printed in New Zealand from plates prepared in England. Colour changes were introduced to several values in 1871, and different printers and a variety of paper types resulted in many colour variations.

The first stamps in this series were not perforated and needed to be hand cut from full sheets. Perforating trials were undertaken in the 1860's, both official and unofficial, using various processes.

Acknowledgments

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: https://www.rpsnz.org.nz/

Product Listing for 1855 Full Face Queens

Click on image to enlarge.

Image Title Description Price
Single Stamp

Single 1d 'Red' gummed stamp.

Queen Victoria (imperforate).

1d
Single Stamp
 

Single 2d 'Blue' gummed stamp.

Queen Victoria (imperforate).

2d
Single Stamp

Single 3d 'Lilac' gummed stamp.

Queen Victoria (imperforate).

3d
Single Stamp

Single 6d 'Yellow/Brown' gummed stamp.

Queen Victoria (imperforate).

6d
Single Stamp

Single 1s 'Green' gummed stamp.

Queen Victoria (imperforate).

1d
Single Stamp

Single 1d 'Red' gummed stamp.

Queen Victoria (perforated).

1d
Single Stamp

Single 1d 'Brown' gummed stamp.

Queen Victoria (perforated).

1d
Single Stamp

Single 2d 'Blue' gummed stamp.

Queen Victoria (perforated).

2d
Single Stamp

Single 2d 'Orange' gummed stamp.

Queen Victoria (perforated).

2d
Single Stamp

Single 3d 'Lilac or mauve' gummed stamp.

Queen Victoria (perforated).

3d
Single Stamp

Single 4d 'Rose' gummed stamp.

Queen Victoria (perforated).

4d
Single Stamp

Single 4d 'Yellow' gummed stamp.

Queen Victoria (perforated).

4d
Single Stamp

Single 6d 'Brown' gummed stamp.

Queen Victoria (perforated).

6d
Single Stamp

Single 6d 'Blue' gummed stamp.

Queen Victoria (perforated).

6d
Single Stamp

Single 1s 'Green' gummed stamp.

Queen Victoria (perforated).

1s

Technical information

Date of issue: 18 July 1855
Designer: William Humphrys
Printers: Perkins, Bacon, England; J Richardson, Auckland, New Zealand; J Davies, Office of the Postmaster-General, Auckland, New Zealand and Government Printing Office, New Zealand
Stamp size: 21mm x 28mm
Sheet size: 240 stamps per sheet
Process: Recess printed - Intaglio
Perforation gauge: The first stamps in this series were not perforated. Trials were under taken in the 1860s, both official and unofficial, using various processes.
Paper type: Various paper types