Issue Date: 08/11/2016
Issue Name: Celebrating 50 Years of Christmas Stamps 2016
Producer: Buckingham Covers
2016 heralds the 50th anniversary of Christmas stamps. This cover would make a perfect Christmas gift. The artwork on this cover features an iconic image of a UK Christmas and features wonderful 'Christmas Post' artwork and has the full set of 8 Christmas stamps, including the large 1st and 2nd class stamps, with our Winterton postmark.
The first British stamps with a Christmas theme were issued in 1966. The designs for Britain's first Christmas stamps were chosen as the result of a Blue Peter competition. Eight professional stamp designers judged the 5000 entries received, 13 designs were chosen in late June 1966, and Tasveer Shemza and James Berry, both aged six, were selected as the winners. Sheemza's design featured King Wenceslas, while Berry's depicted a snowman. This was the first time children were allowed to design a stamp.
On the 3d stamp by Tasveer Shemza there was a small printing error and one stamp on each sheet has the 'T' missing. This makes the stamp quite rare and if you find one on a good First Day Cover it could be worth around £100.
Some of the 1/6 (1s6d) Snowman stamps were found to be missing the Queen's head. A block of these stamps, with only one missing the Queen's head sold at auction in November 2010 for £4,500. These stamps should however be treated with caution as there may be forgeries on the market.
Although a stamp was issued to British troops in Egypt in 1935 for the Christmas mail home, the 1966 stamp is considered the first British Christmas stamp. Other countries had issued Christmas stamps including Canada as early as 1898, Hungary in 1943 and Australia in 1957.
Since Royal Mail first issued Christmas stamps in 1966, over 17 billion Christams stamps have been printed in Britain. Now the Christmas stamp issue is a constant on Royal Mail's calender. The stamps issued each year alternate between religious and secular themes.
Want to see all our Christmas covers? View them all here
Tasveer Shemza has signed this fantastic cover for us. She designed the King Wenceslas stamp from the first British Christmas stamp issue in 1966.