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1960 Christmas

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1960 Christmas
Cat. Mint Unhinged Mint Hinged Fine Used
2d Nativity - 'The Adoration of the Shepherds' by Rembrandt 117a $0.55
$0.45
$0.45
First Day Cover - 1 November 1960 117b $5.40
... 2d (117a)

In 1959 the National Council of Churches and the Bishop of Christchurch requested a special Christmas stamp issue. Approval was given for the following year and the decision was made to print a reproduction of 'The Adoration of the Shepherds' by Rembrandt. Rather than print on white paper, the stamp was printed on toned paper to produce a more authentic rendering of the old master.

New Zealand was one of the first countries to print a special Christmas stamp and concerns were expressed in Parliament that this might lower the prestige of New Zealand in the eyes of philatelists. There was also concern that postmarking the stamps might be considered 'defacement' of a Christian icon. However, the issue proved very popular and over 20 million copies of the stamp were produced.
Bibliography

The Postage Stamps of New Zealand Volume IV
    Edited by R. J. G. Collins FRPSNZ and C.W. Watts FRPSNZ
    Published 1960 by The Royal Philatelic Society of New Zealand Incorporated
    Pages 292 - 295
The Postage Stamps of New Zealand Volume VI
    Edited by D. E. G. Naish FRPSNZ and K. J. McNaught FRPSNZ FRPSL
    Publsihed 1975 by The Royal Philatelic Society of New Zealand Incorporated
    Page 203
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