Health Stamps - Part One.




       
       In 1929, New Zealand began what grew to become our longest running series of postage stamps. These are known as Health Stamps, stamps to promote children's health. Each year, a stamp or set of stamps was issued carrying a surcharge for health to raise funds for children's Health Camps. Finally, in 2017, with dropping sales, the funds raised by these issues had become much less than the cost of designing and printing so it was decided to discontinue the Health Stamp Series. 
       I have decided to feature this entire set on my blog, in large pages so the stamps can be seen as a collection. I will also feature certain issues on their own pages and link them to this collection. This is the first part covering the early years from 1929 until 1950.

Fast Links.
1935               1940               1945                1950

        

                                     
1929  Nurse - 1d + 1d.                                                             1930 Nurse - 1d + 1d.

                                Date of Issue:             11 December 1929.
                                Designer:                    LC Mitchell, and Government Printer, Wellington.
                                Printer:                       Government Printing Office, New Zealand.
                                Process:                    Surface printed - Typography.   
                                Quantities:                 529,848. 

                                Date of Issue:             29 October 1930.
                                Designer:                    LC Mitchell, and Government Printer, Wellington.
                                Printer:                       Government Printing Office, New Zealand.
                                Process:                    Surface printed - Typography.   
                                Quantities:                 215,543.

For more on this design & issue see our post - 1929 Health Issue.

         In 1929 the New Zealand Government agreed to the issuing of a special surcharge postage stamp for the promotion of children's health. The first design showed a nurse in uniform, with the date, value and surcharge at the bottom. The nurse's uniform is from the period, including the brooch and star insignia of the New Zealand Registered Nurse Association.
        The 1929 stamp carried a slogan 'Help Stamp Out Tuberculosis' below which is the cross of Lorraine - the emblem of the International Anti-Tuberculosis Societies.  On the 1930 stamp, this slogan was changed to 'Help Promote Health,' since the goal was now raising funds to establish and run children's health camps.
        The 1929 health stamp issue was a big success with 592,848 being sold. Unfortunately, this was not to be repeated in 1930 where the economic slump of the Great Depression caused sales to reduce to only 215,543. This explains why copies of the 1930 stamp always command a premium over the 1929 issue stamps. In early  2014 a mint copy of the 1929  health stamp was valued at $70.00 while the 1930 health stamp was worth over twice that at $150.00.



              
1931 Red Boy - 1d + 1d.                              1931 Blue Boy - 2d + 1d.

                                Date of Issue:             31 October 1931.
                                Designer:                    LC Mitchell, Wellington, Royal Mint, England.
                                Printer:                       Government Printing Office, New Zealand.
                                Process:                    Surface printed - Typography.   
                                Quantities:                 1d - 74,802.
                                                                    2d - 111,929. 

                                For more on this design & issue see our post - 1931 Health Issue.

        The 1931 health stamp issue had 2 values featuring the same smiling boy on each stamp. The post office described him as "a happy, smiling boy radiating health and contentment." The two stamps became known as the "blue boy" and the "red boy." Perhaps they are the most famous health stamps, certainly the most valuable. In 2014, fine mint examples of both these values are now worth $450.00, according to the Campbell Paterson Catalogue.
        The 1d value was designed in England by the Royal mint but when the plates arrived in New Zealand it was discovered that the vertical spacing between stamps did not allow sufficient clearance for the comb perforation machine. The plates were cut and metal spacers were inserted but the end result was that these stamps were quite often poorly spaced.
        In June 1931 postal rates were doubled. Letters increased in postage from 1d to 2d, so the 2d design was added in New Zealand. Since the early 1930s was during the Great Depression not as many were sold, 74,802 of the 1d and 111,929 of the 2d, which explains why good quality 'smiling boys' are now harder to find than other health stamps from this same period.

       In 2017, I have come across a number of forgeries of these stamps, some of which are almost impossible to tell from the originals. Care needs to be taken when purchasing, particularly from trading websites such as E-bay or Trade-me.

Blue Boy - "Accent Flaw."
              
A blue mark like a line in the right-side "Charity" box above the letter "D." Mint and used examples are shown. I don't know how common this mark is but it appears that it may have changed during the printing process. Known as the "Accent Flaw," this flaw is believed to have been caused by a raised spacer in the printing plate that was touching the inking rollers and paper. It changed, becoming worse during the printing process until it was noticed and corrected.



                     
             1932 Hygeia - 1d + 1d  (2 colour shades)                                                       1933 Pathway - 1d + 1d.

                                Date of Issue:             18 November 1932.
                                Designer:                    W J Cooch and R E Tripe.
                                Printer:                       Government Printing Office, New Zealand.
                                Process:                     Recess printed - Intaglio.   
                                Quantities:                 237,504. 

                                Date of Issue:            8 November 1933.
                                Designer:                   J Berry, Wellington.
                                Printer:                       Government Printing Office, New Zealand.
                                Process:                     Recess printed - Intaglio.   
                                Quantities:                 260,883.

         The 1932 Hygeia marked another change in the development of the Health Stamp Series. Where the previous stamps had shown the word "Charity" in the lower right corner, this stamp showed the word "Health" because the purpose of these stamps was not to provide charity but rather to establish and maintain health camps for children. Sales were up for this issue with 237,504 being sold, more than the combined sales of both the 1931 stamps.
        The design showed the Goddess of Health, HYGEIA, reclining gracefully on a pedestal holding the Cup of Health, in the health-giving rays of the rising sun. The snake around her arm is a symbol of health and healing going right back to Roman times. 
        Some did not see the design in this way and it was even said this looked like a 'modern' young woman who after she had 'partied' hard all night, sitting half naked while saluting the sunrise with a last glass of champagne. The effect of previous glasses through the night meant she was already seeing snakes.  

        The 1933 Health Stamp, known as the pathway, shows the 'Pathway to Health' winding through the sandhills towards the beach and the rising sun. Notice how both of these designs recognised the health-giving properties of being outside in the sun. Today we protect children from the danger of too much exposure to the sun. See the 2015 Health Issue.
         I believe that this second design lets down the early health issues in that it is rather hard to see the health theme unless you have it explained to you, as I have just done above. Some have questioned if there is, in fact, a beach beyond those hills, as nothing in the design indicates that there is. It might have been better to have shown the path leading down to the beach with the ocean in the background.



                 
1934 Crusader for Health - 1d + 1d. (2 colour shades)                                     1935 Keyhole - 1d + 1d.

                                Date of Issue:             25 October 1934.
                                Designer:                    J Berry, Wellington.
                                Printer:                       Thomas De La Rue, England.
                                Process:                     Recess printed - Intaglio.   
                                Quantities:                 279,120. 

                                Date of Issue:            30 September 1935.
                                Designer:                   S Hall, Post and Telegraph Department, Wellington.
                                Printer:                       Australian Bank Note and Stamp Printer, Australia.
                                Process:                     Recess printed - Intaglio.   
                                Quantities:                 1.25m.

          The 1934 health stamp shows the 'Crusader for Health', taking the idea of a middle ages crusader and applying it to the campaign to raise funds for Health Camps. Again, this theme is rather hard to see unless you have it explained. The 1934 Health Stamp stands out in the clearness of its design because it was engraved and printed in England, while the previous issues had been produced in Wellington. 

          In 1935 the health camps and Post Office worked together to promote the health stamps to raise more funds for the camps. An official First Day Cover was produced which increased sales with 51,795 stamps being used on these covers. Total sales for this issue were a record 1,275,057 stamps, the first time over a million had been sold. 
         This year the stamp showed a child on the beach, viewed through a keyhole, the 'Keyhole to Health.' The values were moved to the top corners but do not stand out as well because of the background shading.

Two Colour Shades.
          I have two examples of distant colour differences in these early issues. One can be seen above, here in 1934 and the other in further up in 1932. I am not entirely sure that these are real colour differences in the stamps or just image quality problems. My reason for suspecting this is that these two issues were produced in different countries so it's hard to think they could have suffered the same colour fault. (Any feedback on this would be welcome.)

          1935 marked an important change in the Health Stamp series. A special cover was produced for this issue. It is not my intention to include covers in this collection but this is the first time there was an official First Day Cover for the series.




1936 The Lifebuoy - 1d + 1d.
                                Date of Issue:             2 November 1936.
                                Designer:                    J Berry, Wellington.
                                Printer:                        Australian Bank Note and Stamp Printer, Australia.
                                Process:                      Recess printed - Intaglio.   
                                Quantities:                 1.5m. 

         The 1936 Health Stamp shows a child smiling through a lifebuoy with the inscription "Safeguard Health." In the background is a health camp scene with children playing outside. This is the first time in this series that we had a health stamp in a landscape format. It is also the first time an actual Health Camp is shown too. As happened in 1935 there was a major campaign to promote this issue which resulted in another sales record of 1,449,980 stamps.



                                
          1937 Climber - 1d + 1d.                                                1938 Children Playing - 1d + 1d.

                                Date of Issue:             1 October 1937.
                                Designer:                    J Berry, Wellington and G Bull, Wellington.
                                Printer:                        Australian Bank Note and Stamp Printer, Australia.
                                Process:                     Recess printed - Intaglio.   
                                Quantities:                 0.9m. 

                                Date of Issue:             1 October 1938.
                                Designer:                    J Berry, Wellington.
                                Printer:                        Bradbury Wilkinson, England.
                                Process:                     Recess printed - Intaglio.   
                                Quantities:                 1.24m.

         The theme for the 1937 Health Stamp Issue was healthy exercise which of course could include many different activities, in this case tramping and rock climbing. Notice the design has returned to the usual portrait format.  

         The 1938 Health Stamp shows two children outside in the garden playing. The theme behind this stamp is outdoor play where children can get fresh air under the healthy rays of the sun. What is interesting about this picture is that it was made from two photos of the same child with a garden scene placed in the background. Works well, doesn't?


1937 Offset on the back.
When compared with the 1937 stamp above, part of the design can be see printed in reverse, "offset" on the stamps' back.



                                  
1939 Beach Ball Green.                                                   1939 Beach Ball Red.
1d on 1/2d + 1/2d.                                                                2d on 1d + 1d.

                                Date of Issue:             16 October 1939.
                                Designer:                    S Hall, Post and Telegraph Department, Wellington.
                                Printer:                       Australian Bank Note and Stamp Printer, Australia.
                                Overprint:                  Government Printing Office, New Zealand.
                                Process:                    Recess printed - Intaglio.   
                                Quantities:                 1d - 482,746.
                                                                    2d - 516,048. 

          The 1939 Beach Ball issue is another development of the Health Stamp Series where two stamps are issued rather than the usual one. From now on you will notice that health issues will always contain 2 or more values. After the stamps had been printed, an increase in postal rates meant they had to be overprinted with new values as can be seen in the examples above. 
          The picture on the stamps is unusual in that it is actually a mixture of three photos. The first showed the two boys on the left playing with a small ball. See how the middle boy is holding his hands close together. The third boy, who is jumping, was obviously playing with a larger ball as can be seen by his hands being wider apart. The final photo was the background scenery. The ball was then added to complete the picture.

Red Health Stamps.
          It might be useful at this point to explain why most Health Stamps had been printed red up until this time. For many years the Universal Postal Union directed that all postage stamps should be printed certain colours to indicate their primary uses. All internal second-class mail stamps were printed green, internal letters used red stamps, while letters going overseas used blue stamps. Colour coding stamps by their intended use, it was a good idea at first, but with changing postal rates, new values and multicolour designs, this system became impossible to maintain, and it was eventually abandoned.



         
1940 1d Beach Ball.                                   1940 2d Beach Ball.
1d + 1/2d.                                                      2d + 1d.

                                Date of Issue:             1 October 1940.
                                Designer:                    S Hall, Post and Telegraph Department, Wellington.
                                Printer:                       Australian Bank Note and Stamp Printer, Australia.
                                Process:                     Recess printed - Intaglio.   
                                Quantities:                 1d - 284,756.
                                                                    2d - 359,972. 

          Because of war shortages, the 1939 design was used again for 1940, with just the values and colour being changed. To me, this was an improvement on the 1939 issue as the overprints looked kind of messy. I also like the brown they used instead of the red.



                                              
1941 1d Beach Ball - 1d + 1/2d.                                                     1941 2d Beach Ball - 2d + 1d.

                                Date of Issue:             1 October 1941.
                                Designer:                    S Hall, Post and Telegraph Department, Wellington.
                                Printer:                        Australian Bank Note and Stamp Printer, Australia.
                                Overprint:                   Government Printing Office, New Zealand.
                                Process:                     Recess printed - Intaglio.   
                                Quantities:                 1d - 284,756.
                                                                    2d - 359,972. 

          Again the same design was used due to war shortages, but in this case also due to poor sales in 1940. A large number of stamps left unsold were overprinted with the year "1941" and used for this issue. This was a better appearance than 1939 overprinting but not as good as the non-overprint of 1940.
          So how do we tell these three issues apart? The 1939 issue had the values overprinted. The 1940 issue appeared with no overprint. The 1941 issue just above, had the year added as an overprint.


                    
1942 The Swing - 1d + 1/2d.                                1942 The Swing - 2d + 1d.

                                Date of Issue:             1 October 1942.
                                Designer:                    S Hall, Post and Telegraph Department, Wellington.
                                Printer:                        Australian Bank Note and Stamp Printer, Australia.
                                Process:                     Recess printed - Intaglio.   
                                Quantities:                 1d - 720,042.
                                                                    2d - 942,425.

          World War II was still in progress but it was decided that sales would be increased if a new Health Stamp design could be produced. This would be the first new design in three years. The picture is of a girl and a boy sharing a swing in the Botanical Gardens, Wellington. Notice the postal and health values were returned to the bottom of the stamp again.
          What is unusual about this issue is that while the stamps were designed in New Zealand, they were printed in Australia.



 1943 HRH Princess Margaret - 1d + 1/2d.                       1943 HRH Princess Elizabeth - 2d + 1d.

                                Date of Issue:             1 October 1943.
                                Designer:                    J Berry, Wellington.
                                Printer:                        Bradbury Wilkinson, England.
                                Process:                     Recess printed - Intaglio.   
                                Quantities:                 1d - 3,133,111.
                                                                    2d - 3,339,686.

          As early as 1939 health several designs featuring children were submitted with one design featuring a triangular stamp design. The Government Printer opposed triangular stamps as it was thought they would be hard to arrange on a plate. There was also concern that post office workers would have trouble separating the stamps. In late May 1940, the Director-General made a recommendation to the Postmaster-General that portraits of Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret would "prove eminently suitable." This required permission from the King to use their portraits, an assurance that the stamps would be printed in time for the October issue and advice whether perforating the triangular stamps would be possible. In the event things never came together and the idea was put on hold.    
          In 1943 the "triangles" finally appeared. This was a big change for the Health Stamp series, for that matter any New Zealand Post Office stamps, not just in the shape of the stamps but in the fact that the subject was the royal princesses. The stamp design also incorporated an oak spray and a spray of manuka in the lower corners with a crown above each girl's head. The stamps proved very popular with the public, and more were sold on the first day than the entire sales of the 1942 health issue.

Imperforated Pairs.
          These triangular stamps were laid out on full sheets in pairs as shown above. In this case, they are still attached since they missed being perforated. A close look at the straight edges of each block above will reveal they have been hand-cut using scissors.  



       
1944 The Princesses - 1d + 1/2d.                                  1944 The Princesses - 2d + 1d.

                                Date of Issue:             9 October 1944.
                                Designer:                    Dorothy Wilding Portraits, England.
                                Printer:                       Bradbury Wilkinson, England.
                                Process:                     Recess printed - Intaglio.   
                                Quantities:                 1d - 3,045,288.
                                                                    2d - 3,405,260.

          Since the 1943 Princesses had proved to be so popular it was decided to repeat this theme again. This time both girls appeared on each stamp. Princess Elizabeth was shown in the uniform of the Sea Rangers and Princess Margaret in the uniform of the Girl Guides. The flowers in the frame are the native flower, kowhai.
          Again the theme of the Royal Princesses proved very popular with the public, with sales totalling 3,045,288 for the 1d and 3,405,260 for the 2d.


A large ink smear just over Princess Elizabeth's shoulder.






             
1945  Peter Pan - 1d + 1/2d.                       1945 Peter Pan - 2d + 1d.

                                Date of Issue:             1 October 1945.
                                Designer:                    J Berry, Wellington.
                                Printer:                        Bradbury Wilkinson, England.
                                Process:                     Recess printed - Intaglio.   
                                Quantities:                 1d - 4m.
                                                                    2d - 4m.

          We first see two colour stamps for the 1945 Health Issue another development of the Health Stamp Series. The stamp design depicts the statue of Peter Pan in the Kensington Gardens, London. The statue was the work of Sir George Frampton, a renowned sculptor. This subject was from the popular children's story of Peter Pan, chosen because of its symbolic theme of immortal youth.



                 
1946 The Soldier - 1d + 1/2d.                                                    1946 The Soldier - 2d + 1d.

                                Date of Issue:             24 October 1946.
                                Designer:                    J Berry, Wellington.
                                Printer:                       Waterlow and Sons, England.
                                Process:                     Recess printed - Intaglio.   
                                Quantities:                 1d - 4.5m.
                                                                    2d - 5m.

         Again we see a two colour design for the 1946 health issue. With the fighting of World War II over, in 1946 many soldiers were returning to their families again, in some cases, after being away for a number of years. Some were greeted by children who often they had never seen. This design shows a soldier helping a young child and we can see the setting is a peaceful one with trees and parkland, with boats on the harbour in the background. The background scene was not intended to represent any particular location.

 
Ink Splatters & Overrun.
          During the printing process, the operator got too much ink on the rollers of his printing press. This causes surplus ink to be flicked off onto the printed sheets and to build up in darker areas of the design. While these problems can be seen across both stamps. particularly noticeable in the upper left-hand corner.

The diagonal line running across both stamps was caused by a crease in the paper before printing.



                   
 1947 Eros - 1d + 1/2d.                                 1947 Eros - 2d + 1d.

                                Date of Issue:             1 October 1947.
                                Designer:                    J Berry, Wellington.
                                Printer:                       Waterlow and Sons, England.
                                Process:                     Recess printed - Intaglio.   
                                Quantities:                 1d - 5.5m.
                                                                    2d - 6m.

          The statue of Eros on top of the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain, in Piccadilly Circus, London was erected in memory of Anthony Ashley-Copper, the 7th Earl of Shaftesbury,  a great reformer who is remembered particularly for his noble work for the abolition of child labour.  In 1833 he introduced the Factory Act which forbade the employment of young children in factories.
          The 1947 stamps had the inscriptions 'Postage' and 'Revenue' because the 1945 Finance Act authorised Health Stamps could be used to pay the tax on receipts. This was indicated by including the word 'Revenue.' This tax was abolished in 1951, the last year Health Stamps carried the word 'Revenue.'  The health surcharge value was placed up in the bottom right corner of the design picture.

Green drag marks can be seen running across the right-hand stamps.
Don't be confused by the black cancel marks on these used stamps.



 
1948 Health Camp - 1d + 1/2d.                                 1948 Health Camp - 2d + 1d.

                                Date of Issue:             1 October 1948.
                                Designer:                    E Linzell, Bradbury Wilkinson, England.
                                Printer:                       Bradbury Wilkinson, England.
                                Process:                     Recess printed - Intaglio.   
                                Quantities:                 1d - 5.4m.
                                                                    2d - 5.9m.

         So finally we get to see the real purpose of Health Stamps again, the establishing and running of Health Camps. This design shows a young boy sitting watching children playing at the Roxburgh Health Camp. I sort of wonder about why the boy should be sitting at the window while other children are outside playing as it tends to make him out to be a rather lonely figure.

First Day Cover.
          What has attracted me to this cover is the number of stamps included. I am unsure that all of them would have been required for the postage from Symonds Street to Mount Eden, both inner parts of Auckland, but the cover does look impressive covered with so many stamps like that. That is 5 1/2d given to Health Camps.



                                  
1949 The Nurse - 1d + 1/2d.                                          1949 The Nurse - 2d + 1d.

                                Date of Issue:             3 October 1949.
                                Designer:                    J Berry, Wellington.
                                Printer:                        Harrison and Sons, England.
                                Process:                     Collogravure.   
                                Quantities:                 1d - 5.5m.
                                                                    2d - 6m.

          The Health stamps of 1949 marked the 21st issue of the Health stamp series so it was decided to link this issue to the nurse theme of the very first issue in 1929. The new design depicted a nurse in uniform, holding a child who is reaching out towards a branch of apple blossoms. Personally, I rather like the design. It appears pleasing to the eye while presenting an important aspect of child health care. The print quality was much better too since a more modern printing process was used.

Now here is an interesting item. A design proof by the designer James Berry. 
While this appears to be a reversed copy, a close inspection will reveal a number of differences when 
compared with the final design, as issued.


Missing Dot. (Row 1 Stamp 2)
Two pairs with examples, mint and used of this flaw.

         In the pair of stamps above you will notice that the dot for "1d" is missing below the "D" on the right-hand stamp. The first proof sheet from the plates for this stamp showed several faults included a white flaw near the full stop under the 1d on row 1 column 2. This was retouched by hand and in the process, the stop under the 1d disappeared.
        This occurred only once in every sheet making it a 1 in 120 chance of finding one. Campbell Paterson's Catalogue values this at $36.00 mint compared to 50c for a normal copy. So with this premium paid for the single stamp, I wonder how much a First Day Cover, like the example shown below, would be worth?



 Bandaged Finger Flaw. (Row 4 Stamp 1)
          The stamp on this cover shows the famous Bandaged Finger Flaw.  In the enlargement below, look closely at the nurse's hand where she is holding the child and you will notice a white spot on her finger which looks sort of like a bandage. Again this mark only appeared on one stamp out of a sheet of 120.


Wrist Watch Flaw. (Row 6 Stamp 8)
          Here is an example of the famous Wrist Watch Flaw. Look closely at the right-hand stamp of this pair where the nurse is holding the child. Where her hand covers her other wrist you can see a mark which looks like a wristwatch underneath. No, it is not as spectacular as many of the flaws on this page but since it's well known by collectors, I decided to include it.


To much ink has caused darkening and ink covering lighter parts of the design.

                
Two examples of the blue ink offsetting on the back. 



                          
1950 Princess Elizabeth                                          1950 Princess Elizabeth
and Prince Charles - 1d + 1/2d.                                and Prince Charles - 2d + 1d.

                                Date of Issue:             2 October 1950.
                                Designer:                    J Berry, Wellington and R S Phillips, Rangiora.
                                Printer:                       Harrison and Sons, England.
                                Process:                     Photogravure.   
                                Quantities:                 1d - 5.5m.
                                                                    2d - 6.8m.

          A Royal portrait by Marcus Adams Ltd, London, was used as the basis for this design for the 1950 Health stamp issue. Prince Charles Philip Arthur George was born on 14 November 1948, being the eldest son of the then Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) and Prince Philip. Today (2014) Prince Charles is the current heir to the throne of the United Kingdom.
          For this issue, the total sales were 5,521,324 for the 1d and 6,816,448 for the 2d. It is interesting to compare this to the number printed, 6,000,000 for the 1d and 7,000,000 for the 2d. Not that many stamps were withdrawn and destroyed. 





Some of the images and information in this post were used with permission from the illustrated catalogue of StampsNZ
You can visit their website and On-line Catalogue.      http://stampsnz.com/

Some prices of flaws and varieties were quoted from The Campbell Paterson's Loose-leaf Catalogue.
Published by:- Campbell Paterson Ltd.     www.cpnzstamps.co.NZ 

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