2011 Ross Dependency Race to the Pole

2011 marked the centenary of the first successful expedition to the South Pole. It was a journey embarked upon by two separate parties - of which only one could emerge triumphant.

Issue information

The 2011 Ross Dependency stamp issue: Race to the Pole paid tribute to Roald Amundsen of Norway and Robert Scott of Britain – the two explorers who famously led their parties to the yet-unconquered South Pole. Both had polar experience behind them and were intent on achieving success on behalf of their countries.

A Stamp Issue to Remember

Amundsen and Scott deserve to be remembered for their bravery, skill and scientific achievements. The miniature sheet and first day covers in this issue featured all of the five stamps, and were the perfect way to capture an important piece of Antarctic history.

Discover More with the Presentation Pack

The presentation pack contained more information about Amundsen’s and Scott’s expeditions to the South Pole. The pack was written by David L Harrowfield DSc NZAM. David worked at the Canterbury Museum and the International Antarctic Centre and helped establish the Antarctic Heritage Trust. Containing the set of stamps, first day cover and miniature sheet, it was the ultimate collectable of the Race to the Pole stamp issue.

Ross Dependency Postage in New Zealand

Ross Dependency stamps are not valid for postage in New Zealand. Click here to find out more.

Product Listing for 2011 Ross Dependency Race to the Pole

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Image Title Description Price

Single Stamp

Single 60c 'Roald Amundsen' gummed stamp.

A skilled explorer and well known for his meticulous planning, Amundsen set his sights on the South Pole when he heard of Scott’s forthcoming Antarctic expedition. He departed Norway on 9 August 1910 aboard the ship Fram, at which time his destination was known only to his most trusted officers.

$0.60
Single Stamp

Single $1.20 'Amundsen triumphs' gummed stamp.

Amundsen arrived at the Bay of Whales on the Ross Ice Shelf on 14 January 1911, giving him a 97-kilometre advantage over Scott. After spending months preparing depots, he set off with his party on 19 October 1911. They successfully reached the pole on 14 December 1911 and proudly flew the Norwegian flag.

$1.20
Single Stamp

Single $1.90 'Robert Scott' gummed stamp.

Robert Scott announced his venture to the South Pole in 1909 and in 1910 the British Antarctic Expedition left London on the Terra Nova for New Zealand. After a perilous leg from New Zealand to Antarctica, Scott and his crew reached Ross Island in January 1911, where they erected their hut at Cape Evans.

$1.90
Single Stamp

Single $2.40 'The last camp' gummed stamp.

Before setting out, Scott spent time preparing depots along his route and departed towards the South Pole on 1 November 1911. As they ventured further south, the party reduced in size as successive support teams turned back. On 16 January 1912 they sighted a black speck in the distance, and realised that the Norwegians had beaten them to the pole.

$2.40
Single Stamp

Single $2.90 'Great explorers, brave men' gummed stamp.

Amundsen returned to Norway a hero, and in later years successfully flew over the North Pole, making him the first man to visit both poles. Sadly he passed away in 1928 when involved in an airship crash. Scott perished on his return journey from the South Pole, and his body, as well as those of his comrades, was found in November 1912. A cairn with a cross made from skis was erected over his tent, and a second cross was erected at Observation Hill, Ross Island.

$2.90
Miniature Sheet Mint, used or cancelled miniature sheet. $9.00
First Day Cover First day cover with stamps affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $9.50
Miniature Sheet First Day Cover First day cover with miniature sheet affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $9.50
Presentation Pack The presentation pack gave a detailed account of Amundsen’s and Scott’s expeditions to the South Pole. Included inside was the set of five stamps, first day cover and miniature sheet. $27.50

Technical information

Date of issue: 2 November 2011
Number of stamps:  Five gummed stamps
Denominations:  60c, $1.20, $1.90, $2.40, $2.90
Stamps and first day covers designed by:  Vertigo, Wellington, New Zealand
Printer and process:  Southern Colour Print Ltd by offset lithography
Number of colours:  Four process colours
Stamp size and format:  40mm x 30mm (horizontal)
Paper type:  Tullis Russell 104gsm red phosphor gummed stamp paper
Number of stamps per sheet: 25
Perforation gauge:  13.33 x 13.6 (stamps), 14 x 14 (miniature sheet)
Special blocks: Plate/imprint blocks could be obtained by purchasing at least six stamps from a sheet. Barcode blocks were available in A and B formats.
Period of sale:  These stamps remained on sale until 1 November 2012.