50th Anniversary of Scott Base 1957 - 2007

Officially opened on 20 January 1957, Scott Base is New Zealand’s permanent research support station in Antarctica. It was originally designed to last just a year or two, but its enormous value as a centre for scientific research has seen it grow and flourish.

Issue information

It may be many thousands of kilometres from our shores, but for the past 50 years Antarctica has been ‘home’ to hundreds of New Zealanders. Living and working at Scott Base, these hardy souls have made a magnificent contribution to our understanding of the continent, as have the many visitors who’ve become ambassadors for Antarctica’s environmental protection and preservation.

The idea of building a New Zealand base in Antarctica was first suggested in 1953, following the announcement of the International Geophysical Year Programme and the British plan to cross the Antarctic continent.

New Zealand became officially involved in 1955 when Prime Minister Sidney Holland announced that the government would support New Zealand’s involvement in the Trans-Antarctic Expedition.

Officially opened on 20 January 1957, Scott Base is New Zealand’s permanent research support station in Antarctica. It was originally designed to last just a year or two, but its enormous value as a centre for scientific research has seen it grow and flourish. Today, the Base can accommodate up to 85 people, and during each Antarctic season (from October to February) nearly 400 representatives of New Zealand and international research institutes and other agencies pass through.

Miniature Sheets and Miniature Sheet First Day Cover

The five miniature sheets and miniature sheet first day covers featured the full photos of what is depicted on each stamp and provided even more detail of the different stages that Scott Base has progressed through from 1957 to now.

Limited Edition

Available in only limited quantities – just 2,000 worldwide – this prestigious and unique, individually numbered and authenticated collectable was a treasure to behold. In this limited edition you learned about the fascinating world of Scott Base, New Zealand’s place in Antarctica, the famous expeditions to the continent, the TAE and IGY and the enormous challenges facing those who constructed the first buildings, and the opening ceremony by Sir Edmund Hillary himself. You also read about how far the Base has come in the past 50 years – so that today “all who have enjoyed time at Scott Base long to return”.

Each limited edition contained a first day cover that had been certified as mail posted from Scott Base on 20 January 2007. The first day cover was personally signed by Lou Sanson, CEO, Antarctica New Zealand. The limited edition also contained five miniature sheets with a gold foiled 50th Anniversary official logo, colour separations of the $2 stamp and plate blocks from all five stamp sheets.

Unique First Day Covers Signed by Sir Edmund Hilary

To celebrate this very special occasion for Scott Base and for New Zealand, New Zealand Post offered the chance to win a very special first day cover, signed by Sir Edmund Hilary and certified as mail posted from Scott Base on 20 January 2007 - the anniversary date.

If your presentation pack that you purchased from this issue contained a gold voucher, you received one of these 100 unique first day covers.

Commemorative Coins

Take a look at the commemorative coins that were also part of this issue. Click here to find out more.
 

Product Listing for 50th Anniversary of Scott Base 1957 - 2007

Click on image to enlarge.

Image Title Description Price
Single Stamp

Single 45c 'Scott Base - 1957 Opening Ceremony' gummed stamp.

Scott Base was designed, built, transported to and established in Antarctica within just 10 months, an astonishing feat given the logistics of the project and the climatic and operational conditions the building was required to withstand. However, the deadline had been set by Prime Minister Sidney Holland, who had committed New Zealand’s support to the 1957 Trans-Antarctic Expedition (TAE) and the 1957-58 International Geophysical Year (IGY).

$0.45
Single Stamp

Single 90c 'Scott Base - 1990' gummed stamp.

Scott Base – named after the great explorer Sir Robert Falcon Scott – became a permanent New Zealand station in 1962, maintained by the New Zealand Antarctic Research Programme under the auspices of the (then) Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR). Since then, it has undergone a number of major redevelopment programmes, with new science facilities, equipment and accommodation blocks.

Once a mixture of orange, red and yellow buildings, Scott Base is now a uniform green - a decision made in 1976 by the Director of the DSIR's Anterctic Division, Robert Baden Thomas. He suggested it would reflect the colours of New Zealand’s pasture and bush, but rumour has it that it reminded him of a trip to Ireland. Today, the colour is referred to as RBT Green, although it’s actually ‘Chelsea cucumber’!

$0.90
Single Stamp

Single $1.35 'Scott Base - 2000' gummed stamp.

Of the original six Scott Base buildings, only three remain – the G and Y huts, and the A Hut, which in 2001 was renamed the TAE/IGY Hut to recognise its original purpose and to reflect its importance as the social and political hub for the two events. Today, the Hut is preserved as an historic monument and provides a quiet haven for Scott Base staff taking a break from communal base living.

$1.35
Single Stamp

Single $1.50 'Scott Base - 2003/04' gummed stamp.

Scott Base - named after the great explorer Sir Robert Falcon Scott - became a permanent New Zealand station in 1962, maintained by the New Zealand Antarctic Research Programme under the auspices of the (then) Department of Scientific and Industrial Research.

$1.50
Single Stamp

Single $2.00 'Scott Base - 2005' gummed stamp.

Scott Base’s first 50 years have been a remarkable period in history. Tens of thousands of science days have been spent on and around Ross Island and the Ross Sea region, and around 10,000 people have visited the Base since it opened. Its facilities have also continued to improve, with the latest being the Hillary Field Centre – a heated all-weather storage facility named after Sir Edmund Hillary, which was commissioned in 2005.

$2.00
Set of Miniature Sheets Set of five mint, used or cancelled miniature sheets. $8.70
First Day Cover First day cover with stamps affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $6.70
Set of Miniature Sheet First Day Covers Set of five first day covers with miniature sheets affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $8.70
Presentation Pack You could learn more about Scott Base with the presentation pack. Each pack contained a set of stamps, a first day cover and a set of five miniature sheets. $24.95
Limited Edition Limited edition collectable containing exclusive stamp products not available anywhere else. $135.00

Technical information

Date of issue: 20 January 2007
Number of stamps: Five gummed stamps
Denominations and designs: 45c, 90c, $1.35, $1.50, $2.00
Stamps and first day cover designed by: Alan Hollows, Stamps Business, New Zealand Post, Wellington
Printer and process: Southern Colour Print, New Zealand by offset lithography
Number of colours: Four process colours
Stamp size and format: 45.14mm x 30mm (horizontal)
Paper type: Tullis Russell 104gsm red phosphor gummed stamp paper
Number of stamps per sheet: 25
Perforation gauge: 14
Special blocks: Plate/imprint blocks could be obtained by purchasing at least six stamps from a sheet. Barcode blocks were available in both A and B formats.
Period of sale: These stamps remained on sale until 19 January 2008.