Christmas is Coming

I am breaking my usual prohibition on discussing Christmas while there is still Halloween candy in the stores, because this book will probably sell out quickly.

1930 Iceland Christmas Seal

In 1903, a Danish postal clerk conceived the idea of adding charitable stamps to holiday greetings mailed during the Christmas season. The money raised from the sale of these stamps was used to help children suffering from tuberculosis. With the approval of King Christian IX, the world’s first Christmas Seal was issued in 1904 with a portrait of the Danish Queen and the word Julen. Christmas Seals spread rapidly to other parts of Scandinavia. They also came to the United States in 1907 after Emily Bissell read an article by Danish-born journalist Jacob Riis.

Every five years, AFA in Denmark has published a catalog of Scandinavian Christmas Seals (Julemaerker Norden). The 2012 edition will be a special enlarged volume including all the major and minor varieties as well as local Christmas Seals. This color catalog will list and price all varieties, imperforates, sheets, booklets, and proofs.  The 2007 edition was 344 pages; the new edition will more than double to 856 pages because of the expanded coverage. It is a sturdy softbound volume in Danish with an English introduction. The publisher does not plan to repeat this enlarged edition again. Available for $115 plus shipping from Jay Smith.