Friday, 5 December 2014

Arms Postal Fiscals - Part One.

The Arms Design.
In 1929 Linley Richardson was commissioned to design a new set of fiscal stamps. His design incorporated his own interpretation of the New Zealand Coat of Arms which varied considerably from the version authorised by Royal Warrant and included the New Zealand flag in place of the Union Jack. Compare this with the old type NZ Arms below.

4/- Red - NZ Arms
An interesting and Detailed Design, often overlooked by collectors.  

 Above are two versions of the official New Zealand Coat of Arms. On the left is the older arms, notice the Union Jack and British Lion in the centre. On the right is a more modern version where the crown has replaced the older British symbols. The rest of the arms design has taken on a more modern appearance as well.

Below we again see the modern New Zealand Coat of Arms. This picture below also explains the different parts of the Arms, their purpose and what they represent. 

 The Purpose of Fiscal Stamps.
 Fiscal stamps were intended primarily for tax gathering by government departments in New Zealand. They were attached to documents and cancelled as proof of payment when taxes, import duties or other legal fees were paid. These were typically large payments and so the stamps have correspondingly high face values. From 1882 these stamps could also be sold by the post office to cover postage costs. These postal cancellations are rare because very few parcels cost such large amounts to send around the country - this is why they are worth considerably more than fiscal cancellations. Fiscally cancelled stamps do have value however and people do collect them.

1931 Arms Postal Fiscals.
 Although all values were authorised for postal use, many values were not typically used for postage. On this page I have shown only those stamps that were postally used on a regular basis. In my next post on the Arms Fiscals I will show every stamp from the original 1931 issue and the 1940 overprint.
1/3 Orange/Yellow. 

The 1/3 stamp was first issued in a pale lemon yellow colour which made the design very hard to see, and so was reissued in a darker orange/yellow. From 1955, black text was added to make the stamp value easier to read. In 1956 this value was accidentally printed in blue ink. This leaves us with four variations of the same stamp as can be seen the group above.

2/6 Brown.                                               4/- Red.                                               5/- Green.

6/- Pink.                                                 7/- Blue.                                                7/6 Grey.                                             8/- Blue.

9/- Orange.                                             10/- Red.                                            12/6 Claret.                                        15/- Olive.

£1  Pink.                                          30/- Brown.                                              £2 Violet.

   £3 Green.                                              £4 Blue.                                                £5 Dark Blue.

1933 Arms Postal Fiscal Officials. 
In 1933 the five shilling fiscal stamp was vertically overprinted 'Official' for government department use. All official stamps were postally used since Government Departments would not normally be expected to pay the taxes and fees Fiscal Stamps were issued to cover.
From December 1938, the stamp was overprinted horizontally. The vertical overprint appears to be rarer and much more valuable with examples fetching a very large premium over the horizontal version. In Dec 2014 a mint vertical is valued at $1,080.00 while the horizontal one mint is only $36.00.  
     5/- Official (Vertical)                               5/- Official (Horizontal)  

1940 Overprinted Arms Postal Fiscals.
With so many similarly coloured stamps with the same design, there were many cases of denominations getting mixed up. To solve this problem, in 1940 some of the Arms stamps were overprinted with their value in black. At the same time the chance was taken to add a number of new values to the series. Although all values were authorised for postal use, I have only included those stamps that were postally used on a regular basis. The others will be shown along with the 1931 stamps in my next post. 

3/6 Green (Overprint).                             5/6 Violet (Overprint).

 11/- Yellow (Overprint).                           22/- Red (Overprint).

1950 / 1964 Arms Provisionals.
1950 - 1½d Provisional.                           1964 - 7d Provisional.

1950 1½d Provisional.
 When standard letter rates increased to 1½d in July 1950, it was realised that stocks of the 1938 King George VI stamp would be inadequate. An urgent order was placed for another printing from England, but to fill the gap until stocks arrived a provisional stamp overprinted on the 1931 Arms Postal Fiscals design was issued.

1964 7d Provisional.
When airmail postage rates increased from 6d to 7d there was no stamp in the 1960 Definitives issue to cover this rate - the 7d Definitive not being issued until 1966. To fill the gap, the 1931 Arms Postal Fiscals die was used with no value printed in the panels at the top and bottom, but with 7d overprinted in black. The 1965 Sir Winston Churchill - Commonwealth Day commemorative also helped span the gap until 1966.
Since this stamp was mainly used for overseas airmail, the bulk of used stamps left the country and so this case the used stamps are than mint ones. In December, 2014, a mint copy would be worth 80c while the same stamp used is worth $1.80.

1967 Decimal Arms Postal Fiscals.
A new set of four decimal postal fiscal stamps were printed in July 1967 to coincide with the introduction of decimal currency. All four values were authorised for and typically used for postage purposes. 

$4 Violet.                                            $6 Green.

$8 Light Blue.                                $10 Dark Blue.

Some of the images and prices in this post were used with permission from the illustrated catalogue of StampsNZ
You can visit their web site and On-line Catalogue at, 

Some information on this post came from the NZ Post Web Site. 

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