Christmas is one of the year’s most special times for people everywhere, as we remember and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem.
The first New Zealand Post Christmas stamp, issued in 1960, started a series of stamps featuring Nativity paintings. This stamp featured a reproduction of one of Rembrandt’s collection entitled The Adoration of the Shepherds. Its success led the New Zealand Post Office to release a second Christmas stamp on 16 October 1961, featuring Albrecht Dürer’s painting of The Adoration of the Magi. The original of this painting is in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. This year marked the 40th year of the New Zealand Post Christmas stamp collection.
The first decade of Christmas stamps built the collection of Nativity paintings including works from Dürer, Sassoferrato, Titian, L. C Mitchell, Murillo, Maratta, Poussin, von Honthorst, Fiori and Corregio. Over the last 40 years, the Nativity theme has been depicted in many artistic ways including stained glass windows of the First Presbyterian Church in Invercargill; a sculpture of Madonna and Child by Ghiberti; ancient stories and the medieval styles used in 500 year-old manuscripts; 15th century tapestries illustrated in the medieval Book of Hours; and illustrations of traditional Christmas carols.
This year, the set of six stamp designs told the Nativity story as it is said to have happened. The designs were based on 16th and 17th century artistic interpretations, renowned for their richness and depth of colour. This was enhanced by the addition of metallic gold to each stamp during the printing process. The designer, Joanne Kreyl, incorporated an arch shape into the background of each stamp - a shape that is frequently seen in Christmas art, especially in church architecture and stained glass windows.
You may be familiar with Joanne Kreyl's detailed illustrative style. This is the first time Joanne had designed New Zealand Post's Christmas stamps. She had also designed three other notable stamp issues: the 1995 Farm Animals booklet; Fly Fishing in 1997; and the 1998 Opening of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.
Every year, the Nativity is remembered in different ways around the world - from wooden models to children's plays. Christmas is a celebration full of long-followed traditions.
Product Listing for Christmas 2000
Click on image to enlarge.
|Date of issue:||6 September 2000|
|Number of stamps:||Seven|
|Denominations and designs:||Self-adhesive: 40c Mary with the Baby Jesus; Gummed: 40c Mary with Baby Jesus, 80c Mary and Joseph on their way to Bethlehem, $1.10 The Baby Jesus in the manger, $1.20 The Archangel visits the shepherds, $1.50 Shepherd minds the sheep by night,and $1.80 The Three Kings arrive from the East|
|Stamps, dispenser and first day cover designed by:||Joanne Kreyl, Wellington, New Zealand|
|Printer and process:||Self-adhesive: Australia Post Sprintpak; Gummed: Southern Colour Print, Dunedin, New Zealand by offset lithography|
|Number of colours:||Four process colours plus metallic gold with overgloss on gold|
|Stamp size and format:||Gummed: 30mm x 40mm (horizontal); Self-adhesive: 25mm x 30mm (horizontal)|
|Paper type:||Gummed: 103gsm red phosphor coated stamp paper; Self-adhesive: phosphor tagged on JAC stock|
|Number of stamps per sheet:||50|
|Number of stamps per dispenser:||100|
|Perforation gauge:||14 x 14|
|Cost of unaddressed first day cover:||$7.70|
|Special blocks:||Plate/imprint blocks could be obtained by purchasing at least six stamps from a sheet. Barcode and value blocks could be obtained by purchasing at least two stamps from a sheet. Barcode blocks were available in both A and B formats for sheet stamps.|
|Period of sale:||These stamps remained on sale un til 5 Sepetmber 2001.|