Marshall Islands Tropical Flowers Stamps at AmeriStamp

The Marshall Islands will issue a sheet of 10 stamps featuring tropical flowers at the AmeriStamp Expo stamp show in Reno, Nevada.

The first-day ceremony is scheduled for March 3, the first day of the show, at a time to be announced at the Reno Sparks Convention Center.

mi_flowerssheetThe stamps depicted are (top row, from left): plumeria, hibiscus, primrose willow, annona muricata, and globe amaranth; (bottom row, from left) arrowleaf elephants ear, field pumpkin, Asiatic pennywort, fire on the mountain, and Polynesian arrowroot.

blog-reno-2016The show will feature approximately 50 dealers, a dozen societies, 40 meetings and seminars, and exhibits, including the annual World Series of Philately single-frame competition.

For more information, visit stamps.org/stampexpo.

 

Christmas Stamps by Children in Great Britain

Children, of course, are synonymous with Christmas. Great Britain has embraced the holiday joy of youth by sponsoring stamp-design contests resulting in three seasons of Christmas stamps — which are considered “special” stamps by Royal Mail — designed by young people.

4-great-britain-4794-great-britain-478The first contest was held in 1966 resulted in two stamps created by artwork from two 6-year-olds. Eight professional designers judged the 5,000 entries and awarded the honors to Tasveer Shemza and James Berry. Shemza’s design features King Wenceslas, while Berry’s shows a snowman. Nine-year-old Ann Belshaw’s design of Santa Claus on a rooftop by a chimney was used on an official cachet.

4-great-britain-960In 1981, Royal Mail sponsored a second contest, which resulted in five stamps, four of a religious nature and one showing a picture of Santa Claus. A stamp designed by Samantha Brown, 5, shows Santa with a rather charming smile. The contest was sponsored by the BBC and drew 74,000 entries. Artwork for the other stamps was created by Tracy Jenkins, Lucinda Blackmore, Stephen Moore, and Sophie Sharp.

4-molly-2013The third children’s stamp-design competition led to two Christmas stamps in 2013. This time, 239,374 schoolchildren between the ages of 4 and 11 responded visually to the question “What does Christmas mean to you?” The two national winners, whose designs are on first- and second-class stamps, were selected by a panel led by Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, and that included Shemza, one of the winners of the 1966 contest.

The 2013 winners were Father Christmas, designed by Molly Robson, 7, and Singing Angels, by Rosie Hargreaves, 10.

At the time of the contest, news reports quoted Prince Charles as stating: “I am delighted to be helping judge this wonderful competition which gives children from across the United Kingdom the amazing opportunity to share their creativity and have their designs on this year’s Christmas stamps.

The children’s names appear on all the stamps, though the 1966 stamps include just their last names and first initial. The winning designs for all the contests needed the approval the prince’s mum, the queen.

Christmas Found on ATM Stamps From Holy Land

Israel officially is a Jewish state, so it is no real surprise that the nation has never issued a Christmas stamp.

However, Israel recognizes that it is the cradle of Christianity, attracts many Christian visitors and is home to Christian holy sites.

In response, Israel has since 1992 issued Christmas postage vending machine labels that have included images both religious — Mary and the Baby Jesus and angels — and secular, with the likes of decorated Christmas trees, wrapped gifts, and even Santa Claus.

Until 2004, the ATM labels were printed on a German Klussendorf vending machine and some earlier issues and varieties are scarce. An Israel Doarmat machine has been used since. Some of the earliest varieties are scarce. An Israel Doarmat machine has been used since.

Shown philatelic items from Israel are a blank (nondenominated) 2011 label; a 2015 cover canceled on Christmas Eve, and a 2016 ATM stamp.

Animals on Christmas Stamps

It certainly is not unusual to find animals on Christmas stamp, especially considering that Jesus was said to have been born (or at least placed) in a manger. So, it’s common to find a donkey (Mary’s transportation), camels (the Magi’s transportation), and sheep (brought by the shepherds) on religious Christmas stamps.

And, once Santa Claus entered the picture, animals such as reindeer were naturals. But modern designs have given us plenty of other creatures, often as whimsical characters, including dancing woodland creatures – such as rabbits and porcupines — not to mention cap-wearing moose, scarf-robed polar bears, and sea creatures of the South Pacific.

One of our favorite Christmas animals sets is depiction of Santa as a lion and his sled-pullers of other “flying” African animals, including a zebra and a hippo.

The First Christmas Stamps

Christmas is celebrated in many ways throughout the world so it’s no surprise that the philately for the holiday includes thousands of stamps and covers, most created since the mid-20th century. The Christmas theme is among the world’s most popular topical areas to collect. So, in the spirit of Christmas giving, the APS blog team is presenting 10 holiday-themed blog posts. Happy holidays.

First Christmas Stamps
Whenever we talk about “firsts,” a lot of contenders line up to make claims so it’s no surprise that there are a lot of firsts when it comes to Christmas stamps. That said, there’s little doubt that Canada can claim the first Christmas postage stamp connection, even if the stamp was not intended to specifically celebrate the holiday.

The 1898 2-cent stamp features a collage of Queen Victoria’s crown at the top, a Mercator map of the world with the nations and colonies of the British Empire displayed in red, “Xmas 1898” and the phrase, “We hold a vaster empire than has been.”

Two varieties of what many philatelists consider the world’s first Christmas stamp, Canada’s Imperial Penny Postage stamp of 1898.
Two varieties of what many philatelists consider the world’s first Christmas stamp, Canada’s Imperial Penny Postage stamp of 1898.

It was Canada’s first bicolor stamp and has major color varieties involving the colors of the ocean and land (Scott 85–86).

But why does it say “Xmas 1898?” The stamp was issued December 7 and its use went into effect December 25, 1898, the inauguration of the Imperial Penny Postage rate (which was 2 cents in Canadian funds).

There is an oft-repeated story that Canadian Postmaster General William Mulock developed the stamp and proposed that it be issued on November 9  to “honor the prince,” meaning the Prince of Wales. But when Queen Victoria asked “what Prince?” in a displeased manner, Mulock realized the danger, and answered “Why, madam, the Prince of Peace.”

Here are some other Christmas stamp firsts:

Continue reading “The First Christmas Stamps”