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1932 Health

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1932 Health
Cat. Mint Unhinged Mint Hinged Fine Used
1d Hygeia / Hygieia 45a $108.00
$45.00
$49.50
First Day Cover - 18 November 1932 45b $540.00
... 1d (45a)

The 1932 Health stamp shows the symbolic figure of Hygieia, the Greek goddess of health, cleanliness and sanitation. While her father, Asclepius, was more directly associated with healing, Hygieia was associated with the prevention of sickness and the continuation of good health (the word 'hygiene' is derived from her name).

Hygieia is often depicted as a young woman feeding a large snake that is wrapped around her body from a jar that she carries. On the stamp, Hygieia is reclining on a pedestal holding a goblet high against the rays of either the rising or setting sun and the serpent is going hungry.

Unfortunately, all this classical mythology was lost on a writer in the Australian Stamp Monthly who suggested that the stamp depicted a scantily dressed young woman greeting the morning sun with an upraised goblet having been engaged in an all-night hedonistic drinking orgy - so potent that given there are no snakes in New Zealand, she had started to hallucinate about them. The stamp, he noted, is appropriately coloured a rich wine red!

This health stamp was the first to attribute the surcharge to 'health' rather than 'charity' - a more accurate term given that the funds were being used to establish and maintain summer camps for children suffering from malnutrition and low stamina.

The first two sheets printed were presented to the then Governor-General, Lord Bledisloe, on an official visit to the Otaki Health Camp.
Bibliography

The Postage Stamps of New Zealand (Volume I)
    Edited by R. J. G. Collins and H. T. M. Fathers B.A. B.Sc.
    Published 1938 by The Philatelic Society of New Zealand Incorporated
    Pages 409 - 415, 590
The Postage Stamps of New Zealand Volume II
    Edited by R. J. G. Collins FRPSNZ and C. W. Watts FRPSNZ
    Published 1950 by The Royal Philatelic Society of New Zealand Incorporated
    Page 152
The Postage Stamps of New Zealand Volume IV
    Edited by R. J. G. Collins FRPSNZ and C.W. Watts FRPSNZ
    Published 1960 by The Royal Philatelic Society of New Zealand Incorporated
    Page 296
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