THIS year's Christmas stamps — the last to appear under shillings and pence denominations before decimalisation comes in next year — have been on sale since Wednesday. Their theme is the traditional Nativity scenes taken from the 13th century de Lisle Psalter which is part of the Arundel collection in the British Museum.
The 4d. stamp shows the apparition of the angels to the shepherds, the 5d. depicts the infant Christ in the manger, and the Is. 6d. shows the Wise Men offering gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh before Our Lady and the Child.
The stamps, illustrated below, are the work of freelance designer, Sally Stiff, who trained at High Wycombe School of Art, Regent Street Polytechnic and the Royal College of Art, where she worked on stamp design. She has also taught graphic art part time at the Southampton School of Art.
It is anybody's guess how that sturdy bunch of nonbelievers, the National Secular Society, will react to these religious themes. Last year their indefatigable president, David Tribe, gleefully recalling the pagan origins of what has become a Christian feast, issued a Press handout wishing everyone a Happy Saturnalia.