The 1931 red and blue smiling boys are the best known and rarest of all the
health stamp issues. The stamps feature a smiling boy with a New Zealand
lake and mountain landscape in the background. The four stars of the
Southern Cross constellation appear to the left of the Anti Tuberculosis
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Originally intended as the design for the 1930 health stamps,
the issue was beset by problems from the beginning. The 1d plates were
prepared in London by the Royal Mint. When they 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 stamps that were
quite often poorly spaced.
In June 1931 postal rates were doubled.
Letters increased from 1d to 2d and commercial postage from Â½d to 1d. In
light of this, it was decided to issue two health stamps and W.R. Bock was
commissioned to produce a new 2d plate from the original.
was issued at the height of the world-wide financial depression and sales
were small. In all around 75,000 of the red boy and 112,000 of the blue boy
were sold. However, the blue boy is harder to find mint.
This page was last updated on 28 Feb 2021
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