In the recent past we’ve talked about Stamp Collecting and its relation to Global Diversity, World Geography, and even Creating Memories. Perhaps it was with these topics still in mind that I began to research the topic of holidays on Foreign Stamps. The intention was to research holiday themes on worldwide postage stamps. I planned to start with Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and go wherever the research led. But just as though I were working with an actual stamp collection, the journey had its own plans.
I got stuck on Christmas Island. No matter how diligently I tried to stick to the plan, Christmas Island kept calling me back. A stamp image here, a snippet of new information there…I just couldn’t ignore it. It was when I first began working with Jamestown Stamp Company that I learned of a place called Christmas Island. Now, more than 16 years later, I’ve realized that my research on it and its stamps was nowhere near complete. And THIS is exactly why I find stamp collecting rewarding and fascinating.
Apparently back then I was like the first discoverers of the little island in the Indian Ocean and unable to scale its steep shoreline to learn more. Christmas Island wasn’t even named until nearly 30 years after its discovery on Christmas Day. And it remained unsettled for approximately 200 years more. But like the curious stamp collector, explorers, scientists, and miners could not ignore the call of the 12 mile island to the north and west of Australia.
Christmas Island is no less philatelically fascinating. Today, Christmas Island’s population of just over 2,000 people use stamps issued by the Australian Postal Corporation. But it has used postage stamps issued by the Strait Settlements, the British Military, and under its own authority as well. Perusing Christmas Island stamp art is like taking a tour of the island. They highlight its flora, fauna, geographic features, and of course its people.
How can you have an island named after Christmas and not have an abundance of holiday themes? If you love the holidays, enjoy philatelic discovery, and have even a shred of historical curiosity, then Christmas Island is worth looking into. Happy Holidays. And Happy Stamp Collecting from all of us at Jamestown Stamp Company Inc.
(images from the Philatelic Team at the Australian Post)