This year’s Christmas stamps, issued on November 8, feature illustrated scenes inspired by the Nativity, and specifically illustrating verses from the gospels of Matthew and Luke.

The stamps were designed by Together Design, from paintings by Peter Malone, and printed in gravure by De La Rue.

The sheet stamps are self-adhesive, but, as in every Christmas issue since 2004, the same designs also come in gummed format in the accompanying miniature sheet.

VERDICT

COMMEMORATIVE WORTH   
It’s hard to argue with this theme!

QUALITY OF DESIGN    
The drawings at first appear simplistic, but details emerge with closer study

WOW FACTOR    
They’re bright and cheerful, which is important, but hardly memorable

2nd class & 2nd class Large Joseph visited by the Angel
Matthew 1:21: ‘And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins’.

On the large-format stamp, the design is expanded to show more of the angel’s body and wings.

1st class & 1st class Large Madonna & Child
Matthew 1:23: ‘Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us’.

On the large-format stamp, the design is expanded to reveal the stable, ass and ox, and a dove of peace on the manger.

68p Baby Jesus in the Manger
Luke 2:7: ‘And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn’.

£1.10 Shepherds visited by the Angel
Luke 2:10: ‘And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people’.

£1.65 Wise Men & Star
Matthew 2:10: ‘When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy’.

Miniature Sheet
The miniature sheet’s stamps have the same designs as the sheet stamps, but the border has a quote from the King James Bible of 1611, to note its 400th anniversary.

Luke 2:10: ‘And the angel said unto them, Fear not for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great Joy, which shall be to all people’.

OTHER PRODUCTS
The presentation pack was written by ecclesiastical scholar Alistair McGrath and tells the story of the King James Bible and its influence.

In addition to the usual stamp cards and first day cover, there is a special coin cover.

12 x 1st class and 12 x 2nd class retail stamp books will be available, as well as a Smilers generic sheet with eight 1st class, eight 2nd class, two 68p and two £1.10 stamps, quoting the Bible verses referred to on the stamps.

PRICES

Set of 7 stamps    £5.58
Miniature sheet    £5.58
Presentation pack    £6.10
Stamp cards    £3.60
First day envelope    £0.30
First day cover (stamps)     £7.17
First day cover (sheet)    £7.17
Coin cover    £15.95
Booklet 12 x 1st class     £5.52
Booklet 12 x 2nd class    £4.32
Smilers generic sheet     £10.45
TOTAL    £71.74