The colourful world of stamps

Tuesday 18 December 2018

Canterbury Museum is home to the impressive stamp collection of Sir Robert Heaton Rhodes. 

Stamp Spectrum2

This selection of the stamps from the Robert Heaton Rhodes collection shows the range of colours used on stamps.

Rhodes (1861–1956) began collecting stamps as a child, but was able to truly indulge his passion for philately (the collection and study of postage stamps) when he was appointed Postmaster General in 1912. He assembled the most complete collection of New Zealand stamps anywhere in the world, starting with stamps from as early as the 1850s.

The Museum's Inventory Project Team has already photographed more than 5,000 of Rhodes' stamps, and there are plenty more to go.

Stamps are usually printed in different colours to represent different denominations so that postal workers can quickly tell the value of a stamp. The actual tone of the colour can vary due to different printers with different kinds of inks, different batches of ink from the same printer, age, light exposure, and chemical reactions. Stamps with rare colour variations are much sought after by collectors.

These stamps are not currently on display in the Museum.


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