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Monday, March 22, 2010

Phila-Trivia: New Zealand's Dangerous Teddy Bear

In 1996, New Zealand issued a two Children's Health Semi-postal stamps of the same design, picturing a child sitting in a vehicle holding a Teddy Bear (Scott #B154, B155). Unfortunately, the inclusion of the stuffed animal facing forwards indicated that the infant was improperly buckled in, rendering the stamp "dangerous" because of its potential influence. In New Zealand ,the law states that child car safety seats must face backwards - not forwards. The withdrawn design clearly shows the seat-belted Teddy Bear, hence the child capsule is also pointing forward, contravening New Zealand's child safety rules.

All but approximately 1,000 copies of #B154 and 500 of #B155 (the self-adhesive version) were withdrawn by the New Zealand Post, which then issued a new stamp (Scott #B151), picturing the child properly buckled in, sans Teddy Bear. Scott '10 values the perforated, gummed error stamp at $1,000.00 and the self-adhesive error at $1,750.00, making these not merely the most dangerous and illegal Teddy Bears ever created, but also the most expensive.

Incidentally, I believe these particular stamps will do more than "hold their stuffing" over time as investments. Teddy Bears on stamps have topical appeal, partly on their own and partly as a subgroup of Animal Topical collecting.

New Zealand is a modern, prosperous nation of about 4.3 million people, with a GDP of $115 billion. Over the last 10 years, annual GDP growth has averaged about 3%. The economy was hurt by the recent global financial crisis, and is beginning to recover. In 2005, the World Bank praised New Zealand as being the most business-friendly nation in the world. Stamps of New Zealand are collected both domestically and by British Commonwealth collectors worldwide . The nation has a stamp collecting demographic similar to Great Britain's, and the demand for better material should increase dramatically as population aging accelerates. The percentage of New Zealander's aged 60 and over will rise from 18% in 2009 to 29% in 2050.

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