Thursday, July 21, 2016
Known as the Imperial Penny Postage Issue, this two-stamp set features a map of the British Empire (in carmine) with the inscription XMAS 1898.
Some collectors consider this to be the world's first Christmas stamp...some other collectors don't (you'll have to read elsewhere about this!).
The only difference in the two stamps, which were both issued on December 7, 1898, are the the three colors used: Top stamp has black, lavender and carmine, and Bottom stamp has black, blue and carmine.
These stamps were issued to mark the inauguration of the Imperial Penny Postage rate, which became effective throughout the British Empire on Christmas Day 1898.