New Zealand is home to some truly beautiful stained-glass windows, which add character and charm to churches and buildings throughout the country. The Christmas 2015 stamp issue featured five vibrant stained-glass windows, ranging in design from the traditional to the contemporary.
Stained-glass windows date back to ancient times, with some existing in Britain possibly as early as the 7th century. The movement gained popularity in the Middle Ages as a way to convey narratives from the Bible to the masses, and has evolved over time to incorporate more colour and detail.
The colourful stamps in this issue featured Christmas-related imagery from stained-glass windows around New Zealand, ranging from central characters from the nativity story to the ‘New Zealand Christmas tree’, the pōhutukawa.
Stunning Self-adhesive Stamps
For local and international Christmas sending, three self-adhesive stamps were also available in denominations of 80c, $2.00 and $2.50.
An Innovative Miniature Sheet
As part of this special Christmas issue, we created a unique miniature sheet that encapsulated the theme of stained-glass windows. The miniature sheet was printed on translucent gummed paper and was die-cut in the shape of traditional stained-glass church windows.
The design of the miniature sheet first day cover cleverly incorporated the translucent miniature sheet to depict an actual stained-glass window. Through the top of the window pane, views of New Zealand's Christmas tree, the pōhutukawa could be seen.
Festive First Day Covers
In addition to a miniature sheet first day cover, this issue included a gummed stamp first day cover and a self-adhesive stamp first day cover. The gummed first day cover featured an image of the nativity window from St Michael’s Anglican Church, Wellington, and the self-adhesive first day cover featured further detail of the window on the $2.50 stamp from the Christchurch Hospital Nurses Memorial Chapel.
The Christmas 2015 stamp issue included three convenient self-adhesive booklets, each with ten stamps.
The $2.00 and $2.50 self-adhesive stamps included the ‘International Par Avion’ symbol to help identify them for international use. We also included ten international air stickers in the international booklets.
A dispenser of 100 x 80c stamps was also available for domestic postage.
Product Listing for Christmas 2015
Single 80c 'Angel' gummed stamp.
This stained-glass depiction of an angel is part of the Kelvin and Janice Loveday commemorative window in St Mark’s Church, Carterton. Angels play an important role in the nativity story, with the Angel Gabriel telling Mary that she would give birth to Jesus and an angel bringing the news of Jesus’s birth to the shepherds.
Single $1.40 'Dove' gummed stamp.
The dove is recognised as a symbol of peace as well as one of the forms of the Holy Spirit. Doves are often seen as a decoration on New Zealand Christmas trees. The dove depicted on this stamp is part of a larger stained-glass window at St Aidan’s Anglican Church, Remuera, Auckland.
Single $2.00 'Mary and Jesus' gummed stamp.
This vibrant stained-glass window sits inside St Mary’s-in-Holy Trinity Cathedral, Parnell, Auckland and depicts Mary with the baby Jesus. According to the nativity story Mary and Joseph were unable to find a room at the inn, and took shelter in a stable in Bethlehem, where Jesus was born.
Single $2.50 'Pōhutukawa' gummed stamp.
Often referred to as the New Zealand Christmas tree, the native pōhutukawa is symbolic of summer and the festive season. The pöhutukawa shown on this stamp is part of a larger window in the Christchurch Hospital Nurses Memorial Chapel.
Single $3.00 'Wise Men' gummed stamp.
According to the nativity story, the three wise men were kings of the East who were led to where Jesus lay by an angel. There they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. This stained-glass window is one of three windows portraying the nativity story in St Benedict’s Church, Auckland.
|Single Stamp||Single 80c 'Angel' self-adhesive stamp.||$0.80|
|Single Stamp||Single $2.00 'Mary and Jesus' self-adhesive stamp.||$2.00|
|Single Stamp||Single $2.50 'Pōhutukawa' self-adhesive stamp.||$2.50|
|Miniature Sheet||Mint, used or cancelled gummed miniature sheet printed on translucent paper.||$9.70|
|First Day Cover||First day cover with five gummed stamps affixed.||$10.20|
|Self-adhesive First Day Cover||First day cover with three self-adhesive stamps affixed.||$5.80|
|Miniature Sheet First Day Cover||First day cover with translucent gummed miniature sheet affixed.||$10.20|
|Self-adhesive Dispenser||Dispenser box containing 100 x 80c self-adhesive stamps.||$80.00|
|Self-adhesive Booklet||Booklet of 10 x 80c self-adhesive stamps.||$8.00|
|Self-adhesive Booklet||Booklet of 10 x $2.00 self-adhesive stamps.||$18.00|
|Self-adhesive Booklet||Booklet of 10 x $2.50 self-adhesive stamps.||$22.50|
|Date of issue:||4 November 2015|
|Number of stamps:||Five gummed and three self-adhesive stamps|
|Denominations:||Gummed: 80c, $1.40, $2.00, $2.50, $3.00|
|Stamps and first day covers designed by:||Hannah Stancliffe-White, New Zealand Post, Wellington, New Zealand|
|Printer and process:||Southern Colour Print Ltd by offset lithography|
|Number of colours:||Four process colours with synseal overgloss|
|Stamp size and format:||Gummed: 40mm x 30mm (vertical); Self-adhesive: 30mm x 25mm (vertical)|
|Paper type:||Gummed: Tullis Russell 104gsm red phosphor gummed stamp paper; Dispenser box stamps: Avery Dennison 210gsm B90 Kraft Back WLK6 Adhesive; Booklets: Tullis Russell 210gsm red phosphor PSA stamp paper|
|Number of stamps per sheet:||25|
|Perforation gauge:||Gummed: 14; Self-adhesive: Die-cut|
|Special blocks:||Plate/imprint blocks could be obtained by purchasing at least six stamps from a sheet. Barcode blocks were available in A and B formats.|
|Period of sale:||These stamps remained on sale until 3 November 2016.
First day covers remained on sale until 3 January 2016.