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Friday, December 21, 2007

Which Country Made the First Christmas Stamp?

A debate arises when trying to figure out which country came up with the first Christmas stamp. There is a Canadian stamp that says "XMAS 1898". One would think that this is the first, but researchers have found that it was actually made to mark the inauguration of the Imperial Penny Postage Rate on Christmas Day. The stamp is not Christmas themed. Instead it boasts a map It has been reported that this stamp was to be released on November 9th to honor the Prince of Wales. Queen Victoria's obvious annoyance with the stamp prompted the quick thinking of Mr. Mulock who quickly noted that it was instead made for "The Prince Of Peace".

In 1937, two stamps were issued by Austria that were billed as "Christmas Greeting Stamps". However; neither of these stamps bore a Christmas theme. One stamp was of a zodiac sign and one stamp was a rose. Brazil issued four semi-postal stamps in 1939. Semi postal stamps are stamps that are sold above the stamp value to raise money for a cause. These stamps were definitely Christmas themed, but they were not expressly made for the Christmas holiday.

In 1941, Hungary also issued a semi postal stamp, but these stamps additional fees were meant to pay for the "soldiers' Christmas" and should not be considered Christmas stamps.

It is widely believed that the first actual Christmas stamp was made by Hungry in 1943. It depicted a Nativity scene and it was expressly sold as a Christmas stamp.

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