Seasons Greetings from A Stamp A Day! It’s only five days until Christmas and, although I live in a predominately-Buddhist country where the day is not an official holiday, it’s still a festive time of the year and I do my best to feel that Christmas spirit. The teaching agency that I work for has its offices in a large shopping mall on the southern Thailand island of Phuket which is visited by tourists from many parts of the world. Each year, the Christmas decorations become more elaborate and, until I venture outside into the heat, the atmosphere inside of the mall does put me into the proper mood.
In this final run-up to Christmas, ASAD will feature a few Christmas stamps from my collection. At the moment, I don’t plan to write much — if anything — about the stamps or the themes they portray as I am very busy with work and other activities but that may change on one or two occasions, dependent upon the individual stamps (I have yet to choose any beyond this first entry).
For today’s entry, I chose what is considered to be the first Christmas stamp ever issued, although the Yuletide connection is tenuous at best. Canada released 2-cent stamps on December 7, 1898, to mark the inauguration of the Imperial Penny Post and featured a Mercator projection of the globe with the inscription XMAS 1898. The countries and colonies of the British Empire at the time were marked in carmine-colored ink. Designed by R. Weir Crouch, A.H. Howard, and R. Holmes with the engraving done by C. Skinner, the stamps were printed by recess engraving and the colors added by typography. There are two major varieties, each receiving a major number in the Scott Postage Stamp Catalogue. Scott #85 has the oceans colored in a very light lavender ink while Scott #86 is a more visible blue. The Stanley Gibbons lists a third major color with its own catalogue number (SG #167), greenish blue, and I am sure there are many different shades as well (the entire set is Stanley Gibbons #166-168). The frames and lettering are in black. Perforated 12, the stamps also exist imperforate believed to have come from imprimatur sheets removed from the Canadian Post Office archives.
I wrote a short history of Christmas stamps a few years ago for one of my other blogs. Have a look, if you are interested. The stamps illustrating that article, however, were all downloaded from the Internet rather than coming from my own collection.