|FC596||1966 Christmas cover featuring a Bethlehem postmark||£15.00||Buy Now|
Issue Date: 01/12/1966
Issue Name: 1966 Christmas Ordinary cover with a Bethlehem Postmark
1st December 1966, cover celebrating Britain's First Christmas stamps, with ordinary stamps and a Bethlehem postmark.
**Please Note - As the older covers vary you may receive a different illustration from the one shown above**
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 Christmas stamps have been printed in Britain. Now the Christmas stamp issue is a constant on Royal Mail's calendar. The stamps issued each year alternate between religious and secular themes.
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