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Newspaper Stamp of New Zealand

13 Feb 2019  Wed

A newspaper stamp is a special type of postage stamp used to pay the cost of mailing newspapers and other periodicals.

Inspired by the English 1870 halfpence newspaper stamp, a decision was made in 1872 to reduce the cost of newspaper delivery and to produce a similar stamp in New Zealand.

Originally there was no charge for newspapers forwarded through the post for delivery within New Zealand. However, with the number of newspapers posted frequently dwarfing paid mail, the Post Office decided it had to charge for newspaper delivery. A rate of one penny was imposed in 1864 and dropped again in 1865 due to public pressure, only to be reinstated in 1867.

The stamp was designed by the Government Printer, John Davies based on the English newspaper stamp. A woodblock die was carved in Melbourne, Australia, and electrotypes were produced from it by W.H. Kirk in Wellington making this the first stamp where the design, printing plate preparation and printing plates themselves were completed in New Zealand.

The stamps were printed for 22 years. For 17 of those a special purpose paper watermarked with a six-rayed irregular star was used.

The exact use of newspaper stamps varied; small-value stamps were generally intended to be affixed to newspaper wrappers, in much the fashion of regular mail, but with values usually less than regular stamps. Higher values were used on bundles of newspapers, and later on receipts.

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