Collecting New Zealand Plate Blocks and Imprints is a very interesting pastime, different from just collecting individual stamps.
Each stamp issue generally has an Imprint in the selvedge identifying the printer. The selvedge is the marginal paper around the edges of a complete sheet of stamps. The Imprint is normally collected by having a block of stamps with the selvedge attached that includes the Imprint. In most cases a block of 6 or 8 stamps is required.
On modern stamps, there is very often colour bars or colour markings to guide the printer in his alignment. This also tends to form part of the Imprint.
The Plates that are used to print the stamps usually have a reference number or series of markings to identify the plate. This also appears in the selvedge, sometimes with the Imprint, other times elsewhere on the margin.
Commemorative stamps are usually only printed once, using one plate, which means it doesn't have a plate number, as it is the only one of is kind.
Definitive issues are generally not commemorating any event and are usually around for a number of years. They comprise all the values required for postal rates currently in force. Because of the quantity printed, very often more than one plate is used, thereby requiring the plate numbers. Again because they are around a long time, there can be many reprints. These have been identified using a number of differing methods, from putting a different number of ink dots in the margin, using asterisks and slashes, to using differing numbers of kiwis on later issues.
The idea of collecting one of each of these Imprints and Plate Blocks can be further complicated because there are varieties of the same block with and without watermarks. You can also differentiate between different coloured gums on the reverse. Then there is the difference as to whether the Selvedge is perforated or not.
While I use what has to be regarded as the best specialised stamp catalogue in the world, Campbell Paterson's Loose-Leaf Catalogue Of New Zealand Stamps, there are a number of varieties that I collect that are not listed. It therefore makes it hard to determine if you have all of the varieties. As there appears to be no complete listing available, I have put together these pages listing all the varieties that I have in the hope that if there are others not listed here then I could add them for the help of myself and others who also collect the same.
To understand my terminology when it comes to perforations, I have used the following to illustrate the left margin :-
Perfed Part Perfed UnPerfed
Where the perforation difference is in the bottom margin it is stated as such.
The listings I have included only cover the definitive issues and only the reprints for the non-definitive issues.
The sections and reference numbers I have used are as per the Campbell Paterson Loose Leaf Catalogue which is available at the following website Campbell Paterson.
New Zealand Plates and Imprints