Wednesday, 6 August 2014

1874 - 1882 The Side - Face Issues.

   Definitive Tour.

     I have never been particularly interested in the two Queen Victoria - Side Face Issues. To me, they never compared in appearance to Queen Victoria - Full-Faced Queens, that preceded them. So, since there is a big gap in this blog where these classic issues should be, we will take the month of August to produce a short series of posts on the three major definitive issues of the late 1800s.

       In this post will feature the final two Queen Victoria stamp issues, the 1874 First Side-Face Queens and the 1882 Second Side-Face Queens. In a second post, I am going to cover the 1898 Pictorial Issue, New Zealand's first pictorial issue. Here we will also be looking at the various additions and reprints of this issue, as well as the 1900 Pictorial Centenary Issue.

         Meanwhile, our other contributor, Mary is going to do a series of three or four smaller posts featuring various subjects from these main issues and from this same time period. I must say here that she has a couple of surprise items to show you, including one of the most expensive stamps in New Zealand.

1874 The First Side-Faced Issue.
         By 1870, the printing plates for the Full Face Queens were very worn and needed replacing. A decision had to be made, either replace the plates or create a completely new design. Since the Full-Faced Queens showed Queen Victoria as a woman of 19, it was decided to issue a new design using a more contemporary portrait of Queen Victoria in her 50s. Designs were submitted by De La Rue & Co which bear a close resemblance to contemporary surface-printed stamps of Great Britain, New South Wales, Dominica etc.
        Printing plates for the 1d, 2d, 3d, 4d, 6d and 1/- stamps were then prepared by De La Rue & Co and shipped to New Zealand where the printing was done by the Government Printer in Wellington. Each stamp featured the same side on the portrait of Queen Victoria with different frame shapes for each denomination.

1d - Lilac.                                                              2d - Rose.
Finding good clear images of this set has proved to be difficult so I have had to include used examples in some cases. The problem with this is that most early stamps have been heavily cancelled.

3d - Brown.                                                      4d - Maroon.
In my opinion the 3d - Brown is the best design of this first set. A very uncluttered appearance that successfully delivers its message, telling us the country name, purpose and value clearly.  

6d - Blue.                                                             1/- Green.
 I do not like these last 2 designs as much since it is harder to read their values although I have to admit that in the case of the 6d - Blue, the designer probably stepped out further, with a bold design using a circle set inside a hexagon.

In 1878, the issue was extended with the addition of the 2/- and 5/- stamps by W.R. Bock. The central portrait was copied from the original stamps, with new frames and values added. It appears he kept the design simple using a design similar to the 2d Rose with a border top and bottom. They were issued on 1 July 1878 and are said to be the first postage stamps to be designed, plates made and printed in New Zealand.
        The new values were intended for parcel post, but this service didn't eventuate during the life of this issue, and the stamps were mostly used fiscally. They were always scarce - only around 47,000 of each were printed. In August 2014 fine mint copies had a catalogue value of $2,600.00. 

2/- Red.                                                                  5/- Grey.
These two additions by a different designer, kept to the same general appearance, using a very similar design to the 2d - Rose above. 

Error on Cover.
First side-face 6d blue with F Flaw in the word pence PENCF
Full cover above & enlargement below.

Usage of the First Side-Face Stamps.
 An 1880 1st Sideface cover bearing a 2d 1st Sideface stamp with X manuscript cancel. There appears to have light Chinese Chop marking on front, just above the 'J.' The letter is addressed to J Solomon Draper in Cromwell, backstamped Cromwell 20/1/1880, probably sent by a Chinese Goldminer around the Cromwell district.

This is an 1876 cover sent Christchurch 9/3/1876 to England, that bears a 6d 1st Sideface stamp. Notice the double strikes, one to cancel the postage stamp and one as a date stamp.

A 1st Sideface cover with the 2d value used 3/4/1878 on yellow illustrated cover, the E de Beer & Co cachet at top left. Again we see double strikes of the cancel and date.

        This issue had a comparatively short life of only eight years before, in 1882, it was replaced with the new issue that we now know as the Second Side-Faced Issue.

1882 The Second Side-Faced Issue.

          The reason this issue appeared so soon after the 1874 First Side Face issue was to combine the payment of postage and 'revenue' - such as government fees and import duties into a single set of stamps. All previous issues of stamps had only been used for postage purposes. Apart from the 'Postage and Revenue' inscription, most of the second side-face stamps were modified designs from the 1874 issue stamps they replaced and are very similar. The key to telling these two issues from one another is the 1874 series carries the word "Postage" while the 1882 series carries the words "Postage & Revenue."

         Initially, the 1d, 2d, 3d, 4d, 6d, 8d and 1/- stamps were produced although it is believed the 6d stamp was not issued until 1884. The 8d stamp was mostly used on registered mail as postage to England via Brindisi but this route became slower and more expensive when a quicker route was used via San Francisco. This stamp is now rarely found on covers from the later period of the issue.

          In 1890 the 2½d and 5d values were added when the Universal Postage Union (UPU) decided that the rate for foreign letters should be 2½d per half ounce. New Zealand was not formally admitted to the UPU until 1st October 1891 but it decided to fall inline with the UPU decision since much of New Zealand's mail went overseas to UPU member countries. The designs were selected from competition entries and they show a much older Queen Victoria than the other stamps issued earlier.

         The ½d stamp was issued in 1895 to replace the 1873 newspaper stamp. It is printed in black and appears to feature Queen Victoria in mourning, even though Prince Albert had died many years earlier in 1861.

        A great many of the low values of these stamps were produced and are available, and they continued to be printed and sold even after the 1898 Pictorials were issued due to shortages of the new stamps - the last printing of the ½d and 2d values was in 1900.

A post looking at the relationship between the 1882 Fiscal Stamps and the 1982 Second Sidefaced stamps.                           

½d - Black (1895).                                      1d - Red.                                         2d - Purple.

2½d - Blue (1890).                                        3d - Yellow.

        4d - Green.                                   5d - Grey (1890).                                 6d - Brown (1884).

8d - Blue.                                       1/- Chestnut.

"O.P.S.O" Overprint.
2½d - Blue - "O.P.S.O" Overprint.
This is a very rare stamp showing the rather crude hand stamped overprint denoting "On Public Service Only." Isn't she a beauty! You must be very careful with this item as there are many fakes to be found in online trading sites such as E Bay. It is recommended that you obtain a certificate stating it as the real deal.  

1897 Queen Victoria 1d. Second Side-Faced. A white mark in the Queen's hair
that appears as a feather or hairclip but is known as the Screwdriver Flaw.

Perforation Error.

 1895 1d rose - Front.                                                          1895 1d rose - Back.

 A block of four stamps (front & back) showing perforation shift producing two very wide and two very narrow stamps.
(Poor quality images)

1d Rose - large flaw on the Queen's face.                                                     5d Grey - double perfs right side.

 ½d - Black - diagonal perfs in selvedge caused by paper fold during printing.

Usage of the Second Side-Face Stamps.
       Below you will find three uses of Second Side-Face stamps. First is the single stamp used for postage, then we have multiple stamps on a Registered Cover. The third use is an example of the stamps being used for Revenue purposes (Stamp duty).

A 1900 2½d blue 2nd Side-Face cover, sent Dunedin to England. Notice the address - Wire Manufacturers England. This is the most common usage of this series, a single stamp.
An 1897 Leeston to Wellington long Registered Cover bearing, 2d pair, 6d & 1d singles, 11d postage rate. This is a good example 2nd Side-Face usage but a cover in very poor condition. The stamps have a brown rust around them, the cover is very creased on the right-hand side and what is all that darker hand-writing all about?

This is a very ornate 1896 Union Bank of Australia Ltd. - Second of Exchange document issued at Christchurch, bearing 4d 2nd Sideface & 2/- Long Type Fiscal. It is a good example showing revenue usage of stamps, (stamp duty has been paid.) The exchange document is for 1,212 pound which was a lot of money in 1896.

Design Proofs used on a postal cover.

A comment made by Mike Smith 2nd Oct below led me to take another look at this cover.

It's a very unusual Registered Cover bearing 2 - 1½d stamps 'Postal Stationery Design Proofs' in both in purple and red, to pay postage. That alone should have been a warning to the Post Office worker excepting the letter for postage. The cover was addressed to H R Rogers of Blenheim and was posted on 6/10/1913 in Wellington. What is also surprising about this cover is that it was dated a long time after the 2nd Side-Face issued had ended and used a value never issued in that set. This throws new light on the cover above, making it either a forgery or a clever example of beating the cost of postage. My theory is that it could be a collector creating a very unusual postal stationery item.

The 1½d - Black, Purple, Red ??
While it appears a design was produced, a 1½d value was never included in the 2nd Side-Faced Issue. An example proof of this design can be seen below. Notice that this and the examples on the cover above, do not even have perforations and are printed on the paper, rather than attached to it. Notice also that at least three different colours were trialled as well. 

Advert Stamps.
        In 1893 the New Zealand Government entered into a contract with Messrs. Truebridge, Miller & Reich, giving them the right to utilise the backs of postage stamps for advertising purposes.  All values in the set then on issue, from 1d to 1s, were made use of and the stamps with advertisements were issued in early 1893.  The arrangement was terminated at the end of a twelve month period, as some fear had been expressed by members of the public about the possible danger through licking these stamps.

1893 2d - 2nd Side-Face.
Sunlight Soap - "For Washing Dogs and Prize Poultry."
(Oh I love that one. Washing the chickens. LOL)

1893 1d - 2nd Side-Face. 
Truebridge, Miller & Reich - the company that arranged this advertising.

1893 2d - 2nd Side-Face.
Kaitangata Coal - "Cheapest & Cleanest." 

1893 1d - 2nd Side-Face.
"...... of all kinds washed" by Sunlight. Soap.

1893 2d - 2nd Side-Face.
S Myers & Co - Dentists, Christchurch. "Nitrous Oxide Gas, Painless Extraction." 
(Painless Extraction, that is good too. Sounds like the first thing this company does is pull your teeth out. LOL)

1893 Misplaced Advert.

Technical Information - First Side-Faced Queens.
Date of issue: 2 January 1874.
Designers: Thomas De La Rue, England.
Printers: Government Printing Office, Wellington.
Stamp size: 21mm x 25mm.
Sheet size: 1d - 1s: 240 stamps per sheet;  2s and 5s: 120 stamps per sheet (Panes of 60 separated by gutters).
Process: Surface printed - Typography.
Perforation gauge: Various.
Paper type: De La Rue, NZ and star watermark and Perkins Bacon large star watermark.

Technical Information - Second Side-Faced Queens.
Date of issue: 1 April 1882.
Designers: W H Norris; F W Sears; A E Cousins; A W Jones and Thomas De La Rue, England.
Printers: Government Printing Office, Wellington.
Stamp size: 22mm x 20mm.
Sheet size: 240 stamps per sheet (4 panes of 60 stamps separated by gutters).
Process: Surface printed - Typography.
Perforation gauge: Various.
Paper type: De La Rue, NZ and star watermark; 1/2d and 2d values were also produced in 1900 on Waterlow paper, double-lined watermark.

Some of the images in this post were used with permission from the illustrated catalogue of StampsNZ
You can visit their website and Online Catalogue at,

Information & images for this post came from.


  1. Another good story.
    I like the way you give a good summary of each stamp set you feature without getting bogged into detail.

  2. Hi Allan & Mary
    This was a good post. I liked those adverts at the end. Washing chickens. LOL Do they actually mean chickens or other poultry? Well I laughed when I saw that. This is going to be a great series of posts. You two make a good team.
    Allan when I first heard you were going to do a blog on postage stamps I thought 'Boring.' But now I come here often to see what new things have appeared.
    Awesome Anne.

    1. Thanks Brian and Anne. Thanks for your feed back.
      I'm glad you both are getting something out of my blog. So pleased its not "boring" Anne.
      Sorry I took so long to reply, I was busy trying to catch my chickens so I could wash them with Sunlight soap. LOL

  3. Hi
    great article, I have never heard of the 'postal stationery cut outs'
    are they rare? collectables or just curiosities....? were they official stamps as they don't appear in a catalogue !

    1. Thanks Mike,
      I completely missed the fact that those stamps were not legal for postage. The are proofs for a value (1½d) never issued. There appears to have been a design produced as I've included an example proof above but like you say, it doesn't appear in a catalogue. See my notes added under the cover.

    2. Hi Mike,
      The stamps are supposed to have been proofs for a stamp never issued. The black example Allan used above I got from I was planning to use it in a future post some time. It is still available for sale when I looked there a few minutes ago. They are asking NZ$200.00 for it. Mary

    3. As you most likely will know, Complete Stamps is a great place to find that unusual item but watch out how he describes things. Accuracy seems to be a bit of a problem. I think you might have fallen into that trap with this cover.
      Anyway, you guys are doing a good job here. A good and growing resource for stamp collectors.

  4. Mary

    The cover you show here has 'cut outs' from postal stationery items stuck on to an envelope. I've seen these offered for sale on more than one occasion. The single black piece is a die proof prepared ahead of the issue of the 1½d lettercard.

    1. Thanks for your comment PW.
      Now concerning this cover do you think someone tried to use the cut out for postage?

      Since this is Allan's page, I've texted him about your comment.