Christmas 1988

Since the advent of Christmas carolling inspired by St Francis in 1223, no celebration of Christmas has been complete without the Christmas carol.

Issue information

Four carols were chosen to be depicted on the New Zealand Christmas stamps for 1988.  Their message of joy and hope was used to portray the deeper meaning of Christmas everywhere.  

Product listing for Christmas 1988

Click on image to enlarge.

Image Title Descripton Price
Single Stamp

Single 35c 'O Come All Ye Faithful' gummed stamp.

This carol was written about 1742 by Englishman John Franics Wade, at the Roman Catholic Centre in Douay, France. In 1841 an Anglican Minister translated the words into English - the lyrics we use today.

$0.35
Single Stamp

Single 70c 'Hark! The Herald Angels Sing' gummed stamps.

The original lyrics of this carol were 'Hark! How all the Welkin Rings' but the first line was changed by George Whitefield. He disliked the word "welkin" which means the vaults of heaven.

$0.70
Single Stamp

Single 80c 'Ding Dong! Merrily On High' gummed stamp.

Although most religious carols were written in the 17th and 18th centuries, the lively and bright 'Ding Dong! Merrily on High' was probably a pagan tune adopted by the church.

$0.80
Single Stamp

Single 85c 'The First Nowell' gummed stamp.

The author of the words and composer of 'The First Nowell' are unknown but it was first published in Davies and Gilbert's 'Some Ancient Christmas Carols' in 1823.

$0.85
First Day Cover First day cover with stamps affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $2.87
Set of Maximum Cards Set of five pre-paid postcards featuring a 90c stamp and artwork from the stamp issue. $4.50
Booklet Booklet containing 10 x 35c gummed stamps. $3.50

Technical information

Date of issue:  14 September 1988
Designer: F McAlpine, Wellington
Printers: Leigh-Mardon, Australia
Stamp size: 28.5mm x 35mm
Sheet size: 100 stamps per sheet; Booklets of ten 35c stamps
Process: Lithography
Perforation gauge: 14.25
Paper type: Unwatermarked
Period of sale: These stamps remained on sale until 14 September 1989.