Are all Queen Victoria Longtypes created equal?

The 1880 Queen Victoria Longtypes are by far the most diverse set of revenue stamps printed in New Zealand. 14 different printings were made over the 51 year history of the issue (even long after Queen Victoria had died!) with different papers, watermarks and perforations evident between each issue. This, combined with the wide range of values, from 4d to 1000 pounds, makes this an exceptionally interesting set to study.

The recent publication of an updated Kiwi Catalogue for New Zealand Revenue stamps has been welcomed by collectors in an area where a steadily rising level of interest is growing.

In this latest catalogue there has been a breakdown of this set of stamps into specialized listings. The subsequent assignment of catalogue values to each printing has permitted discussion on the relative scarcity of the different issues within the set. Campbell Patterson has done this breakdown already in their catalogue; however their listing are limited to values up to 1 Pound, and focuses on either mint or postally used. Also, with the exception of the values 4d – 1/-, Campbell Patterson does not acknowledge the Type 1 printing, presumably as it was produced before these stamps were authorized for postal use.

In the new catalogue there are some significant differences already noted between the catalogue values of stamps between the different printings e.g. 3 pound 10/- Claret Type 2 versus later printings of the same value. There is also recognition of the Wiggins Teape printing being harder to obtain than previous issues. The editor indeed makes note of the fact that the specialized listings are a work in progress, and promises that as time progresses the relative scarcities and updated catalogue values will be assigned.

Its time to initiate the discussion!

Author’s note: These comments are based on my personal observations in collecting revenue stamps over a 15 year period. No research has been done on numbers printed, and my observations are based purely on many hours combing websites, auction catalogues and time spent at the desk sorting many hundreds of these stamps into their respective different printings, and knowing how hard it is to fill certain gaps in the collection! Other collectors may have different experiences and their opinions are indeed welcome.

14 different printings of the 1880 Queen Victoria Longtypes have been identified by the RPSNZ in Volume 6 of The Postage Stamps of New Zealand.

Click here to show the various different printings


It is worth remembering that in previous Revenue Stamp issues, values over 5 pounds command high catalogue values as their use was infrequent and printing numbers low. As the number and value of transactions requiring Government Duty being paid increased over time, the higher value stamps became more commonly used – as can be seen by the introduction of values between 600 and 1000 pounds in 1913. Thus, while in general copies of, for example, the 30 pound stamp may overall seem plentiful, it is much easier to locate an example from the 1925 type 13 printing than it is from the 1895 Type 6 printing. Catalogue values need to reflect this fact.

Type 1

Printed on paper remaining from the 1871 Die II revenues, Watermark NZ appears to be the most difficult issue to obtain. Genuinely Postally used examples are vary scarce (as Robyn Gwynn in a previous “Stamp Collector” article has observed), and good fiscally used examples are also difficult to find.

Type 2

A much more expansive printing and lower value examples are generally easy to find. The catalogue acknowledges the difficulty of the 3 pound 10/- Claret to obtain, however most values over 2 pounds can also prove quite difficult to find, particularly the 7 and 8 pound values.

Type 3, 4 and 5

These 3 Printings have been grouped together in the catalogue as being NZ over Star watermark, perf 12.5 – specialized listing C

As a subset of this listing, The NZ over Star (4mm), CP watermark W5, was only printed in 1890 -1 and in my opinion can be just as difficult to obtain examples of as the Type 1 printing. This could be considered as a separate catalogue listing for the values printed. Campbell Patterson agrees with the difficulty of this printing to locate and their listings are 50% higher as a result.

Generally the lower values of Types 3 and 4 are easy to obtain, however values over 2 pounds are much harder to come by compared with later printings of these same values, especially those of 6, 7, 8 and 9 pounds.

Type 6 and 10

Examples are usually easy to find and most stamps will be from these printings

Type 11

This printing included the values over 500 pounds for the first time – these are not easy to come across, as the catalogue values suggest.

Type 12 and 13

Examples are usually easy to find and most stamps will be from these printings.

Type 14

The Wiggins Teape printing only covered the 4/- and 1 Pound values and is somewhat harder to obtain copies from this printing than in previous issues.


In response to the Kiwi Catalogue’s editor, I propose the following amendments to catalogue values for consideration.

With the exception of the values 4d to 1/- , I suggest the catalogue values of the Type 1 printing be increased to a factor of 5 over their simplified listings values due to their scarcity.

A subset of category C be established for the Type 5 printings, and Catalogue values be increased by a factor of 3 over the simplified listings (excepting perhaps the “small” 50 Pounds)

Values over 2 pounds for Types 2 to 6, especially the 6, 7, 8 and 9 pound values could be adjusted upwards as they are significantly harder to obtain than the later “14.5 x 14” printings.

This is a broad brush-stroke approach and some individual variation will be necessary for individual values to get their CV “looking right”

Otherwise the Catalogue values look very good and an excellent job has been done by the editor, David Smitham and Mowbray Collectables for which we Revenue collectors are most grateful!

Hopefully this will initiate some interesting discussion!

Andrew Spence