06 November 2012
Philatelic bureaux around the world are turning their attention toward the season of goodwill, as they release their Christmas stamps. ...
Philatelic bureaux around the world are turning their attention toward the season of goodwill, as they release their Christmas stamps.
Royal Mail’s fun Christmas stamps could well be the highlight of this year’s seasonal stamps, but there are many other countries vying for our attention this Christmas.
Jersey have also gone for the illustrated option, with eight values showing scenes from A Christmas Carol.
Ascension Island have also opted for the Dickensian tale with four stamps depicting A Christmas Carol, the £1.25 value complete with a roast turkey and a, for once, happy Ebenezer Scrooge.
New Zealand’s stamps show Nativity scenes, with a pôhutukawa motif framing each design; the pôhutukawa flower is widely recognised as New Zealand’s Christmas tree.
The Isle of Man’s festive offerings showcase the work of Ramsey-born artist and ex-IOM Post Office employee Michael Starkey. ‘I have an image in my mind of that feeling just before the light fades in the winter and the lights in houses start to flicker on and Christmas lights glow in the gloom,’ Michael said when discussing the stamps. ‘At this darkest time of the year this brings hope and comfort to all.’
More heart-warming values come from North America, where Canadians will be treated to Christmas cookies on their stamps. ‘Whether you’re a fan of the festive season or a total bah-humbugger, it’s almost impossible to resist the temptation of fragrant and warm-from-the-oven Christmas cookies,’ says the Canada Post website before warning that licking the stamps might be tempting but isn’t recommended, as they’re self adhesive. Canada’s more traditional stamps show the Madonna and Child as depicted on the 150-year-old stained glass windows at St Mary’s of the Immaculate Concept Cathedral in Kingston, Ontario.
The USA have also issued two sets to cater for both aspects of the holidays, with a single stamp charting ‘the dramatic story of the flight of the Holy Family into Egypt’, complete with little donkey, and a set of four which combine to show Santa Claus on his busiest night of the year.
Finland have issued Christmas stamps with the seasonal themes of a Christmas tree and a stable lantern. The unique Christmas Tree stamp comes in a triangular 20-stamp sheet that can be folded to make a Christmas decoration that stands upright like a miniature Christmas tree!
The seasonal stamps from Italy also celebrate the Christmas tree, with a sparkling value made up of shining stars. Their religious stamp, meanwhile, shows a fifteenth-century painting by Antonio del Massaro, entitled 'The Nativity with Saints John the Baptist and Bartholomew'.
Iceland turn to an old Icelandic folk tale for their festive offerings, as described by the post office staff: According to the story, a girl offered to stay at home on Christmas night. That night a troll came to the window and started reciting verses in praise of the girl’s beauty. She answered immediately, reciting her own verses in return. At sunrise the troll disappeared from the window and a large rock was found in the farmyard. The girl recounted the happenings of the night and it became clear that a night troll had appeared at the window and turned to stone at dawn.
An unusual but intriguing approach to the season of goodwill.
Get in-depth details of the latest new stamps in every issue of Stamp & Coin Mart.