Friday, February 6, 2015

World's First Christmas Stamp

The stamps you see in the images below are the worlds first Christmas stamps. Although the stamps do not have any resemblance to a traditional Christmas stamp, the Canadian Mercator Map stamps of 1898 are considered by most as the world's first Christmas stamps.

In 1898, a number of countries across the British Empire agreed on a uniform penny postage rate across the British Empire, effective from 25th December 1898. To mark the occasion the Canada Post Office planned to issue a 2 cent commemorative stamp on the same day, however due to public pressure it was brought forward to 7th December.

The stamp features Mercator’s map with the British Empire highlighted in red, the inscription ‘Xmas 1898’ and the line “WE HOLD A VASTER EMPIRE THAN HAS BEEN” extracted from “A Song of Empire” composed by Sir Lewis Morris.

There are two main colour varieties - Scott #85 is black, lavender and carmine whereas Scott #86 is black, blue and carmine.

Scott 85
Scott 86
It is fair to say that the issue of the Canadian Christmas stamp did not really have much to do with Christmas. In fact it was a result of then Canadian Postmaster General William Mulock lobbying to standardise postage rates across the Empire at one penny.

There is a very interesting article that was written by Michael O. Nowlan on "How The First Christmas Stamp Came To Be". You can go through it here.

Well, whatever the arguments, disagreements or controversy that may surround these stamps, I am convinced these are the world's first Christmas stamps and now that I have them in my collection I am one happy collector.

Do feel free to add your thoughts, comments or suggestions
NOTE: Please click on the images for a larger view / closer look.

No comments:

Post a Comment