So getting in on this topic as I also have acquired a large number of the reds and couple of the blues which I recently read was actually a trial for the penny black reprints? does that sound right? I am rather partial to the red ones... !I am going to scour nz for the aforementioned books. Rod Im happy to scan and share any findings with you being neighbours of course!
Well done. Not sure what you mean by "trial". The 1d black and 2d blue were issued at the same time in 1840. The 1d black was replaced by the 1d red the following year, but the 2d blue, in one form or another, was in use for almost forty years. The trials usually refer to later, surface-printed issues. Show us some pics!
I just found a bunch of penny reds in a little booklet going through my inherited collection. I am really wanting to learn how to indentify them all. It would be fun to start collecting all the plates!