1999 Last Sunset

The nocturnal, flightless kiwi is one of New Zealand’s best known and loved national symbols. This icon was therefore a fitting image for the last stamp of 1999 – the specially overprinted purple round kiwi stamp.

Issue information

The round kiwi has proven a firm favourite since its first appearance in 1988, printed in olive green. Since then, it had been re-issued three times – in 1991 in red, in 1993 in blue and in 1997 in purple.

To celebrate the turning of the millennium, the purple round kiwi stamp, issued in 1997, was overprinted with a gold sun in the selvedge. The sheet of 36 stamps also included a gutter with the New Zealand post website address, www.nzstamps.co.nz.

The release of this stamp was of particular philatelic significance because this was the last time the purple round kiwi stamp would be available for sale from New Zealand post. A limited number of these special edition stamps were available on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. A 1999 Last Sunset cover was also available, bearing a reference to 20.42 New Zealand Standard Time, the time the last sunset was expected to take place, in Invercargill.

Product Listing for 1999 Last Sunset

Click on image to enlarge.

Image Title Description Price
Single Stamp Single $1.00 ‘Purple Round Kiwi’ gummed stamp. $1.00
First Day Cover First day cover with gummed stamp affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $1.50

Technical information

Date of issue: 31 December 1999
Number of stamps: One
Denomination and design:  Overprinted $1 purple round kiwi stamp first issued on 6 August 1997
Original stamp designed by:  Allan Mitchell, Wellington, New Zealand
Gold overprint and 1999 Last Sunset cover designed by:  Dianne Prosser, Wellington, New Zealand
Printer and process:  Southern Colour Print, Dunedin by lithography
Paper type:  103gsm gummed red phosphor coated stamp paper
Perforation gauge:  14.48
Number of stamps per sheet:  36
Cost of unaddressed 1999 Last Sunset cover:  $1.50
Special blocks:  Plate/imprint blocks could be obtained by purchasing at least six sheet stamps. Barcode and value blocks could be obtained by purchasing at least two sheet stamps. Barcode blocks were available in both A and B formats for sheet stamps.
Gutter pairs:  Gutter pairs could be obtained by purchasing at least two stamps.
Period of sale:  These stamps remained on sale until 30 December 2000.