New Zealand Post - official issuer of New Zealand stamps & commemorative coins

Christmas 2005

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One of the world’s great stories – a 2,000-year-old tale of wonder.

Issue information

Most of the world’s important festivals and celebrations are based on stories – from tales of triumph over adversity to those of miracles amidst the mundane. For many the Christian Nativity is among the most powerful; the story of the humble birth of a baby boy destined to become one of the world’s most well known and influential human beings.

The story of the Nativity, which took place in Bethlehem more than 2,000 years ago, has all the ingredients of greatness – visits from angels bearing extraordinary news; a young couple driven from their home, and their desperate search for a bed; the lowly stable where the baby Jesus is born; and the star in the sky that leads worshippers to the spot where he lies. Jesus’ birth, and the events that surround it, are the reasons for Christmas.

To complement the five exquisite stamp images, which together made up a Nativity scene, the Christmas 2005 first day cover offered a humble shepherd witnessing the awesome presence of three angels on high.

The 45c stamp - most commonly used for sending Christmas cards - was also available in a handy box dispenser containing 100 self-adhesive stamps. And for stamps on-the-go, the booklet of 10 self-adhesive stamps was ideal for wallets, pockets and purses.

Product Listing for Christmas 2005

Click on image to enlarge.

Image Title Description Price
Single Stamp

Single 45c 'Baby Jesus' gummed stamp.

Beautifully captured in the reds and golds that epitomise Christmas, the infant Jesus lies in his straw-lined crib – a simple manger in an innkeeper’s stable. This spartan accommodation was the only available in the town of Bethlehem, to which Jesus’ parents, Mary and Joseph, had gone to fulfil the requirements of a census ordered by the Emperor Augustus.

Single Stamp

Single 90c 'Mary and Joseph' gummed stamp.

Mary’s and Joseph’s home, Nazareth, was more than 160 kilometres from Bethlehem, so the journey by donkey had been long and arduous. What’s more, Mary was expecting a baby and it was almost time for her to give birth. However, she was prepared for this event as, during her engagement to Joseph, an angel had appeared before her and told her she had been chosen to have a special baby who she must call Jesus.

Single Stamp

Single $1.35 'Shepherd' gummed stamp.

At the time Jesus was born, a group of shepherds were watching their sheep on a hillside overlooking Bethlehem. Suddenly a bright light appeared in the sky, and soon an angel appeared, telling them not to be afraid. He said the Son of God had been born and they would find him in Bethlehem. After much discussion, the shepherds decided to leave their flocks of sheep and go to Bethlehem, where they found Mary, Joseph and the infant Jesus.

Single Stamp

Single $1.50 'Wise Men' gummed stamp.

Far away in the East, three wise men named Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar saw a new star shining high in the sky. Interpreting it as a sign that a great ruler had been born, they followed the star to the stable in Bethlehem, where they gave Jesus gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. These rare luxuries from the land of Israel were fitting offerings indeed: gold as a precious metal; frankincense as a fragrance for religious offerings; and myrrh as an important ingredient in holy ointments.

Single Stamp

Single $2.00 'Star' gummed stamp.

The star of Bethlehem has long been the subject of vigorous scientific debate. Some astronomers have suggested it was a comet (although none was recorded at the time); others have suggested novas and supernovas (but again, none was recorded); while still others maintain it could have been an eclipse of Jupiter. But whatever the explanation, the star, shining against a black night sky, remains an enduring symbol of Christmas.

Single Stamp

Single 45c 'Baby Jesus' self-adhesive stamp.


First Day Cover First day cover with five gummed and one self-adhesive stamp affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $7.15
Self-adhesive Dispenser Dispenser box containing 100 x 45c self-adhesive stamps. $45.00
Self-adhesive Booklet Booklet containing 10 x 45c self-adhesive stamps. $4.50

Technical information

Date of issue: 2 November 2005
Number of stamps: Five
Denominations and designs: 45c (gummed and self-adhesive) Baby Jesus, 90c Mary and Joseph, $1.35 Shepherd, $1.50 Wise Men, $2.00 Star
Stamps and first day cover designed by: Anton Petrov, Watermark, New Zealand
Printer and process: Gummed: Southern Colour Print, New Zealand by offset lithography; Self-Adhesive: SEP Sprint, Australia
Number of colours: Four process colours
Stamp size and format: Gummed: 35mm x 35mm (square); Self-adhesive: 30mm x 25mm (vertical)
Paper type: Gummed: 104 gsm red phosphor stamp paper; Self-adhesive coils: Avery Dennison B90 self-adhesive stamp paper; Self-adhesive stamp and booklets: Avery Dennison B100 self-adhesive stamp paper 
Number of stamps per sheet: 50; Booklets of 10 x 45c; Coils of 100 x 45c
Perforation gauge: Gummed: 14.25; Self-adhesive: die cut
Special blocks: Plate/imprint blocks could be obtained by purchasing at least six stamps from a sheet. Barcode, value blocks and logo blocks could be obtained by purchasing at least two stamps from a sheet. Barcode blocks were available in both A and B format.
Period of sale: These stamps remained on sale until 1 November 2006.