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Stamp News  October  2011 

                              Woodchip-free Zone 


New Zealand's noble "Queen on Horseback" series

Watching the Rugby World Cup last month, so ably hosted by N.Z., reminded me that I've been intending to feature usage of N.Z. stamps in this column. A serious collector of N.Z. Usage contacted me a few years ago, kindly offering his support should I venture in to featuring his field of expertise. That was an encouraging offer, but I've since been unable to make contact with that gentleman, despite assistance from some Kiwi Trader friends. Nevertheless, I've dived in at the deep end, and made an initial attempt at the subject. Needless to add, I'll be pleased to hear from specialists, with a view to expanding upon the N.Z. theme in future articles (email

N.Z. Usage study and collecting is reasonably popular, particularly for earlier reigns, and I doubt that I can contribute to the reservoir of knowledge which exists for QV, KEVII, and KGV issues, for instance. I've not witnessed great demand, however, for collecting and study of usage of the stamps of KGVI and QEII, particularly Decimal issues of the current reign, and it is for those reigns that I'll focus my attention. This month I've selected James Berry's charming "Queen on Horseback" series, which first appeared in 1954. I loved this series as a kid, and recall it took a long time before I was the proud owner of a used 10/-. In more enlightened times, it took many years to track down a 10/- used on cover, and even used on a parcel tag takes some finding. In my experience, a much scarcer stamp on "entire" than Australia's contemporary 1 Arms. Here, then, is an introduction to usage of the four denominations in the series: 2/6d, 3/-, 5/-, and said 10/-.

             Figure 1. 2/6d solo franking, for those who prefer standard envelopes

My unassisted census places the 2/6d second to the 10/- in scarcity on cover or other entire amongst the quartet. Figure 1 is a neat 13 Nov 1958 airmailed cover registered at Auckland East, where 2/6d solo franking paid 1/9d airmail + 9d registration fee, to London. A pleasing cover for most tastes, I'll wager half a crown. Value: $75 (off cover NZ$8.50). Off cover used prices for the subject stamps are from old friend Len Jury's price list.

                                           Figure 2.
2/6d + 3/- riding side by side

I doubt any collector is fond of adhesive tape stains on their covers, but nonetheless we occasionally have to grin and bear them, particularly when the "offending" item has such an attractive franking as that in Figure 2. Personally, I don't exclude covers such as this from my exhibits; they are part and parcel of securing generally heavier articles, to withstand possible traumas in the postal system. When possible, I remove the remnant tape if it readily responds to that remedy. If the tape is stubborn and wants to stay where it is, or where removal would leave a sticky residual, I let sleeping dogs lie. This 12 Jul 1960 registered at Waipukurau cover to Ontario bears 2/6d and 3/-, the aggregate 5/6d representing triple 1/6d airmail to Canada (4/6d) + 1/- registration fee. The posting date was the day after the corresponding denominations in the Pictorial series had appeared. I'll feature that series in the near future. Value: $40 (off cover NZ$9.50).

                         Figure 3.
Addressee receival markings can add character

Not a postal marking, or at least not a Post Office marking, the Lions International dated receiving marking nevertheless adds just that little something extra to the overall appearance of Figure 3, for my eye that is. I'm not quite as keen on unattractive handwritten notes on front of covers, particularly in magenta ballpoint ink! From Rotorua to Chicago on 20 Apr 1960, arriving two days later, 3/- paid double the 1/6d airmail rate to U.S. The 3/- is the "easiest" of the four denominations on cover, although this solo use is uncommon. Value: $25 (off cover NZ$1).

                        Figure 4. 3/- + 6d from the companion definitive series

I was proposing to feature the entire 16 denominations in the inaugural QEII series, but found I had precious few interesting, less standard usages amongst the d to 1/9d. Given its smaller population, N.Z. is a greater challenge for usage specialists than is Australia. Figure 4 has the original small figures 6d with a 3/- for 4 Feb 1955 double 1/9d airmail rate Auckland to Holland. Value: $10 (off cover NZ$1+).

                                Figure 5. 3/- + 6d again, quite different usage

The 3/- and 6d in Figure 5 represent a distinct usage in comparison with the preceding subject. Firstly, the 6d is from the subsequent large figures series, and the aggregate 3/6d franking on this occasion paid double 1/6d airmail (3/-) + 6d registration fee, Wellington to U.S. on 25 May 1956. The bold oval "U.S. CUSTOMS/PASSED FREE" datestamp is a welcome addition. The cover appears truncated (at right), a personal dislike, but was actually neatly folded by sender (N.Z. Post Office) to reduce dimensions. On the subject of the large figures series, try finding the 8d on cover in a hurry! More on that in a later article. Value: $20 (off cover NZ$1+).

                     Figure 6. 5/- + 3d, from same correspondence as Figure 4

I don't have much depth in my "Queen on Horseback" material; I couldn't field a one-frame (16 pages) exhibit, for instance. Some of the items I have are "related", Figure 6 being from same correspondence as Figure 4, for example. This time, 5/3d was for triple 1/9d airmail rate Auckland to Holland, sent 6 May 1955. Value: $40 (off cover NZ$7.50+).

                              Figure 7. From scenic Queenstown to Rotary in U.S.

I couldn't find a "Queen on Horseback" to Australia for this article; logically they'll need to be multiples of the 6d airmail rate. Solo frankings of the 2/6d or 10/-, for five and 20 times multiples of that rate, respectively, will be very welcome! Does any reader have one or both (!!) of these? Figure 7 continues the usages to other countries, this 20 Sep 1954 earlier use of the 5/- (+ 1/-), Queenstown to Rotary International H.Q. in Illinois, represents quadruple the 1/6d airmail rate. Value: $40 (off cover NZ$7.50+).

                                     Figure 8. 5/- with contemporary companions

9/3d aggregate franking, that in Figure 8, just short of requiring an elusive 10/-! This 11 May 1956 article from Piccadilly Trading Co, Auckland, to Western Germany, has N.Z. Customs label on reverse completed as "Sample of NCV" (no commercial value). Nevertheless, German Customs intercepted the article, and affixed their "calling card". 9/3d represented 1/9d airmail rate x5 (8/9d) + 6d registration fee. Attractive usage item. Value: $50 (off cover NZ$7.50+).

                       Figure 9. Blue the most elusive, and attractive of the series

My first acquired 10/- usage item is Figure 9, a 22 Apr 1955 parcel tag from Christchurch to Belgium, with accompanying 2/- from the previous reign, 12/- being for 1/6d airmail x8. 10/- usage items take some finding, as alluded to in the introduction. This was "found" in a carton of on paper world mix at a major auction house. The philatelic vandal who trashed the balance of the hoard apparently considered a tag small enough not to warrant any further reduction in size. There is a philatelic god. Value: $150 (off cover NZ$50+).

                                  Figure 10. 10/- solo, took around 20 years to find

Not quite the optimal example of a solo franking, but the only one on cover I've so far sighted, Figure 10 took me around 20 years to find, so I don't anticipate being in a position to have the luxury of being too choosy where solo 10/- frankings are concerned. This 12 Jul 1956 cover from Mangakino to Germany, although I'm satisfied of its commercial classification, doesn't quite "fit" rate wise. This was the 1/9d airmail rate era, so it is either an overpayment of quintuple rate (8/9d), or underpayment of sextuple rate (10/6d). Who knows? Who cares? I'm content to own it, comfortable in the knowledge that the rather non philatelic rough opening of the article (fortunately visible largely from back) suggests it's a commercial usage. If the rate conformed my valuation would be double. Value: $200 (off cover NZ$50).

N.Z. KGVI-onwards is a very worthy subject for Usage specialization. For those who prefer getting in to a new collecting field well before the herd, it comes highly recommended.


Rod Perry has been a philatelic trader since 1962. He founded Rodney A Perry Auction Galleries (now Millennium Philatelic Auctions) in 1971. As a collector he has exhibited    nationally and internationally. Rod prefers his used stamps on cover and likens taking a stamp off its original cover to converting a tree to woodchips.