New Zealand issued its first postage stamps in 1855, featuring a full-face picture of the younger Queen vVictoria in her Coronation robes, engraved from a painting by Challon. The rarest stamp, printed but never issued, is a 1949 threepenny featuring HMS Vanguard. Only three are known to have escaped destruction when King George VI became ill and the issue prepared to mark his Royal Visit to New Zealand was cancelled. A rare misprinted stamp is the ‘Taupo inversion’, a 1904 penny stamp with its scene printed upside-down, which was passed in at auction in 1993 at $155,000.
Excerpts from Kiwiosities, a book by Gordon Ell on the traditions and folklore of New Zealand.