In the 1850s, James Alexander Holden set up a saddlery and leather business in Adelaide, which transformed into a thriving car body manufacturing business and eventually became the sole local manufacturer of car bodies for General Motors, USA. General Motors purchased Holden in 1931, rescuing it from financial woes caused by the Great Depression.

In 1944, the Chifley government invited General Motors, USA to collaborate with General Motors-Holden’s to build a family car for Australian conditions. After several years of prototyping and testing, the first car wholly manufactured in Australia was revealed on 29 November 1948, at Fishermans Bend, Victoria. The Holden 48-215, which became known as the “FX”, was an economical yet stylish mid-sized sedan, hard-wearing for Australian conditions and an instant hit with the public. The production of “Australia’s Own Car” was a source of national pride and welcomed as a move away from a dependence on primary industries.

By 1958, Holden had captured what was to be its highest market share – a staggering 50.3 per cent of national car sales. By 1969, despite strong market competition from the Ford Falcon, around two million Holden cars were sold. From 1970s to 2008, another five million vehicles were added to Holden’s production tally. On the race track, Holden cars amassed 34 wins at Mount Panorama and 21 Australian Touring Car (Supercars) championships. Holden cars also have a long history as “workhorses” for various industries, from farming to law enforcement.

Holden ended its Australian manufacturing operations on 20 October 2017, after constructing more than 7.6 million vehicles for Australia and the world. In February 2020, it was announced that the Holden brand would be retired by 2021 and enter a new era as a certified service and parts provider to the 1.6 million Holdens still on the road. This stamp issue presents some iconic car models that helped to make Holden a household name.

Technical specifications

Issue date
22 March 2021
Issue withdrawal date
30 September 2021
$1.10 x 5
Stamp illustrations
The Render Garage
Stamp & product design
SE Products
Paper: gummed
Tullis Russell
Paper: self-adhesive
Tullis Russell S/A
RA Printing
Printing process
Offset lithography
Stamp size (mm)
37.5 x 26
Minisheet size (mm)
170 x 80
13.86 x 14.6
Sheet layout
Modules of 50
FDI Postmark
Port Melbourne Vic 3207
FDI withdrawal date
20 April 2021

Stamps in this issue

$1.10 - 1948 Holden 48-215

Upon seeing that first Holden roll off the assembly line, then prime minister Ben Chifley exclaimed, “she’s a beauty!” The FX became the highest-selling passenger car in Australia by 1950. Featuring the latest in unitary construction techniques, the FX was comfortable to drive, with room for six passengers. It handled perfectly in Australia’s rough and rugged conditions, powered by a Stovebolt six-cylinder OHV engine and a three-speed manual gearbox, with column change. The original sedan was joined by the 50-2106 utility in 1951 and the 48-215-257 Business sedan in 1953. The stamp design includes the FX car badge as well as a photograph of the Holden production line.

$1.10 - 1963 Holden EH Premier

The EH heralded big mechanical changes, in the form of the new “red” engine, which boasted a bigger bore and shorter stroke, plus a higher compression ratio, to boost output to almost double that of 1948’s FX. The Premier variant included a metallic Magic-Mirror finish, narrow-band whitewall tyres, wheel trim rings and front fender chrome wind splits. Inside was luxurious leather upholstery, a white steering wheel, carpet on the floor, a folding rear seat armrest and chrome sill plates. As well as the car badge, the stamp design features a background photograph of an EH in a suburban setting.

$1.10 - 1968 Holden HK Monaro GTS 327

The much-anticipated 1968 HK Monaro GTS 327 – Holden’s first two-door, fastback coupe – instantly appealed to younger buyers and fans of the burgeoning “muscle car” trend in the USA, with its flashy colours and offset stripes, lowered suspension and console-mounted tacho. With a Chevrolet V8 engine, it could reach speeds of 125 miles (201 kilometres) per hour, unimaginable just 18 months earlier. Privateer Bruce McPhee drove a Monaro GTS 327 to victory in the 1968 Bathurst race, the first win for a Holden at Mount Panorama. The HK also became the first Holden to receive the coveted Wheels Car of the Year award. In the stamp background is a photograph of a Monaro at Bathurst, as well as the car model’s badge.

$1.10 - 1971 Holden HQ Kingswood Ute

The 1971 Holden HQ Kingswood Utility, the classic ride for farmers and tradies, was the first Holden ute to feature a full unitary body and full-perimeter chassis. Combined with stronger rear leaf springs and a steel load floor, this was a strong and reliable load-carrying machine. The HQ Kingswood also boasted the safety benefits of strong outer panels and internal padding. The HQ was Holden’s second highest-selling car model series. The background photograph represents the affinity between this car model and country Australia. Also featured is the car badge.

$1.10 - 2006 Holden VE Commodore SS V

Upon its release in 2006, the VE Commodore was lauded, winning Wheels Car of the Year for its design, engineering and sophistication. Dubbed Holden’s “billion-dollar baby”, due to the record level of investment, the VE became the highest-selling Holden car model series and took Holden to its last major milestone before the retirement of the brand – the seven-millionth Holden produced. As well as presenting the car badge, this stamp’s background photograph represents Holden’s emphasis on engineering and design.

Shop our stamp collectables

Set of stamps:

Set of Holden: Australian Icon Gummed Stamps

This set of stamps contains all five stamps from the Holden: Australian Icon stamp issue.

Stamp pack:

Holden: Australian Icon Stamp Pack

The Holden: Australian Icon stamp pack contains all five stamps and minisheet from the stamp issue.


Holden: Australian Icon Minisheet

The Holden: Australian Icon minisheet consists of the five stamps from the issue incorporated into a miniature stamp sheet.

Maxicard set:

Set of Holden: Australian Icon Maxicards

This maxicard set contains the five maxicards from the Holden: Australian Icon stamp issue.

Additional products:

  • Booklet of 10x $1.10 1948 Holden 48-215 Stamps
  • Booklet of 10x $1.10 1963 Holden EH Premier Stamps
  • Booklet of 10x $1.10 1968 Holden HK Monaro GTS 327 Stamps
  • Booklet of 10x $1.10 1971 Holden HQ Kingswood Ute Stamps
  • Booklet of 10x $1.10 2006 Holden VE Commodore SS V Stamps
  • Pictorial Envelope for the Holden: Australian Icon Stamp Issue
  • Gutter Strip of 10x $1.10 1948 Holden 48-215 Stamps
  • Gutter Strip of 10x $1.10 1963 Holden EH Premier Stamps
  • Gutter Strip of 10x $1.10 1968 Holden HK Monaro GTS 327 Stamps
  • Gutter Strip of 10x $1.10 1971 Holden HQ Kingswood Ute Stamps
  • Gutter Strip of 10x $1.10 2006 Holden VE Commodore SS V Stamps
  • Stamp and Medallion 1948 Holden 48-215 Cover

This content was produced at the time of the stamp issue release date and will not be updated.