Australia 2005 Christmas
- Issue Date : 1 November 2005
- Designed by : Jo Muré
- Illustrated by: Ursula Betka
- Printed by : SEP Sprint
- Print Process : Lithography
- Stamp size: 26mm x 37.5mm
Christmas stamps have been issued in Australia every year since 1957. The practice in the last few years has been to represent the traditional Christmas story, and this year is no exception. The two stamps for 2005 show the Madonna and Child (45c concession card rate) and a beautifully detailed Adoring Angel ($1 International Post).
The artist, Ursula Betka, paints using the age-old techniques of icon painting. The exquisite images are painted on a wood panel that is first prepared with a white gesso (meaning chalk) ground. The background is real 23-carat gold leaf, originally designed to catch the flickering light of church candles. The paints used are tempera, or pigment mixed with egg yolk, also in the tradition of medieval art.
The original holy icons have been specially blessed in the tradition of the Church. Like these precious icons each stamp glitters like a rare jewel. These beautiful stamps celebrate Christmas with serene joy and peace.
- Perforations : 14.8 x 14.8
- Format: sheets of 50
45c Madonna and Child Stamp
This image is derived from the ancient icon tradition of the Virgin and Christ Child, where mother and baby touch tenderly at the cheek. This intimate gesture expresses universal loving kindness and compassion. Mary’s beauty reflects both her spiritual qualities and the great love she holds for her son. Jesus displays to his mother a little bird – a goldfinch, which is a traditional medieval symbol of Christ. The star on Mary’s robe is symbolic of the star that led the three wise men to the crib in Bethlehem.
$1 Adoring Angel Stamp
This stamp depicts an angel in a gesture of sacred adoration. An angel brought news of the Holy birth to shepherds outside Bethlehem and angels traditionally appear adoring the Virgin and Child in scenes of the Nativity. Ethereal creatures, they are neither male nor female. The word “angel” comes from the Greek word “angelos” (messenger) and they are largely seen as messengers from God or manifestations of the Holy Spirit.
- Perforations : serpentine die cut 12 x 11½ syncopated
- Format: booklets of 5 or 20
First Day Cover
The first day of issue postmark was St Marys NSW 2760. A first day cover for the self-adhesive varieties was not officially produced.