New Zealand's first stamp will be auctioned in Wellington next month with a conservative estimate of about $12,500.
Printed in London and issued in 1855, the stamp, procured by rare-goods auctioneers Mowbray Collectables, features a portrait of Queen Victoria.
Mowbray Collectables manager director John Mowbray had come across only about 10 of the one penny stamps during his four decades in the business.
"These stamps are very rare," Mowbray said.
There is a range of historical New Zealand stamps and fiscal stamps at the auction that would be considered classic Kiwiana, such as an 1883 New Zealand Beer Duty stamp, a 1924 hand drawing of the map of New Zealand as a stamp designs draft and 1898 Pigeongram stamps from when racing pigeons delivered mail between Auckland and Great Barrier Island.
Mowbray said most of his customers were male, in the affluent-aged 60-plus group.
"People have been saying for years stamp collecting is dying out but we are selling as much as ever. Our clients are surprisingly modest. The hobby itself is not attractive to people of extravagance, they tend to be very cautious."
The Mowbray auction next month will also feature a range of rare Chinese stamps that Auckland businessman Vic Percival collected on visits there between the 1950s and 1970s.
In the coin side of the auction is a large quantity of gold and silver coins qualifying as bullion, including a 1935 Waitangi Proof Set estimated at $15,000 and a 2003 Lord Of The Rings proof set estimated at $2350 that was bought for about $1800.
Mowbray Collectables auctions of coins and stamps will take place on November 2 and 3 at West Plaza Hotel in Wellington.
STAMP OF STYLE
Vintage New Zealand stamps and coins are featuring heavily in trendy art and design works as examples of Kiwiana, but collecting the originals is a hobby limited to keen traders of an older generation.
New Plymouth design gallery Kina assistant Julianne Lafferty said old New Zealand stamps and coins had been in vogue in arts, crafts and giftware sold during the past three years.
"We have had exhibitions of paintings of stamps, people that have carved wood blocks in the shape of a stamp, we have had screenprints of stamps, we've got the original stamps people are covering in resin and making earrings, pendants, rings, all sorts of stuff. It is still going strong and very popular."
Some of Hutt Valley artist Sam Broad's work is inspired by or a play on old New Zealand stamps. He recently made a mural for Cuba Street cafe Kapai in the shape of a perforated stamp featuring Kiwiana imagery.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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