1988 25c Contemporary Christmas: Sleigh and Village Scene

# 2400 - 1988 25c Contemporary Christmas: Sleigh and Village Scene

$0.35 - $75.00
(No reviews yet) Write a Review
Image Condition Price Qty
313136
Colorano Silk First Day Cover Ships in 1-3 business days. Ships in 1-3 business days.
$ 2.50
$ 2.50
0
313134
Classic First Day Cover Ships in 1-3 business days. Ships in 1-3 business days.
$ 2.00
$ 2.00
1
313138
Mint Plate Block Ships in 1-3 business days. Ships in 1-3 business days.
$ 6.25
$ 6.25
2
313137
Mint Stamp(s) Ships in 1-3 business days. Ships in 1-3 business days.
$ 1.25
$ 1.25
3
313139
Mint Sheet(s) Ships in 1-3 business days. Ships in 1-3 business days.
$ 57.50
$ 57.50
4
313140
Used Single Stamp(s) Ships in 1-3 business days. Ships in 1-3 business days.
$ 0.35
$ 0.35
5
No Image
Mint Plate or Cylinder Flaw Ships in 1-3 business days. Ships in 1-3 business days.
$ 75.00
$ 75.00
6
No Image
Mint Plate or Cylinder Flaw Ships in 1-3 business days. Ships in 1-3 business days.
$ 15.00
$ 15.00
7
Show More - Click Here
Mounts - Click Here
Mount Price Qty

U.S. #2400
1988 25¢ Sleigh and Village Scene
Contemporary Christmas

  • Unofficially honored 100th birthday of Irving Berlin, who was still alive
  • Second US stamp to honoring a living person

Stamp Category:  Commemorative
Set: 
Contemporary Christmas
Value: 
25¢, first-class rate
First Day of Issue: 
October 20, 1988
First Day City: 
Berlin, New Hampshire
Quantity Issued: 
1,030,850,000
Printed by: 
Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: 
Photogravure
Format: 
Panes of 50 in sheets of 300
Perforations:  11.5

 

Why the stamp was issued:  Responding to complaints over the definitive-sized Christmas stamps issued in 1986 and 1987, the USPS issued the 1988 Christmas stamps in a new size, approximately 50% larger than the previous issues.

 

With the "White Christmas" theme of this Contemporary Christmas stamp, the USPS attempted to honor a living person – songwriter Irving Berlin. Berlin turned 100 years old on May 11, 1988.

 

One year before Berlin’s death, US Postmaster General Anthony M. Frank wanted to honor the legendary songwriter on a stamp.  However, the USPS rules at the time dictated that anyone other than a president couldn’t be honored on a stamp until 10 years after their death.  So, Frank found a way around the rule.  He decided to honor Berlin with that year’s Christmas stamp.  The wintery scene of a house and trees covered in snow was intended to represent Berlin’s “White Christmas.”  Though the stamp didn’t picture or name Berlin, it was issued in Berlin, New Hampshire.  That made it only the second US stamp to honor a living American (after the 1927 Spirit of St. Louis airmail).

 

About the stamp design:  The stamp was designed by John Landis in a two-dimensional style, similar to the early 20th century Christmas Seals of the National Tuberculosis Association.  His image shows a two-story gray house with smoke rising from the chimney.  A red barn is nestled behind, evergreen trees surround and snow-covered hills line the distant background.

 

First Day City:  The First Day ceremony for this stamp was held in Berlin, New Hampshire.

 

Unusual facts about this stamp:  Miscut panes have been found that resulted from a 90-degree rotation of the sheet after printing and perforation before being sliced into panes.  There are also two varieties of cylinder flaws – the “missing curlicue on sleigh runner” and partially missing curlicue on sleigh runner” – both of which are found on the bottom front sleigh runner.

 

About the Contemporary Christmas series:  The US issued its first Christmas stamp (picturing a wreath and candles) on November 1, 1962, and it was wildly popular.  The Post Office printed 350 million stamps, the largest print run for a special stamp up to that time, but still the stamps quickly sold out.  The Bureau of Engraving and Printing produced more to satisfy demand and the total number issued was over 860 million by the end of the year.

In 1966, the Post Office started issuing traditional themed Christmas stamps picturing the Madonna and Child and other religious icons.  In 1969, they switched back to non-religious Christmas designs with a stamp picturing the painting Winter Sunday in Norway, Maine

Finally, in 1970, the Post Office decided to permanently split Christmas stamps into two categories to satisfy everyone:  Traditional and Contemporary.  They issued a block of four stamps picturing Christmas toys along with a stamp picturing a classic painting of the Nativity.  The decision to do both proved popular, and the Post Office has continued to issue stamps in both categories ever since.

 

History the stamp represents:  Irving Berlin was born Israel Beilin on May 11, 1888, in Russia.  He was one of eight children of a Russian-Jewish cantor.  In 1893, his family moved to New York City in search of a better life.

 

After his father died, Berlin began selling newspapers to help support the family.  He would hear songs from outside the saloons and restaurants and began singing them while selling his papers.  Soon, he found people gave him money for his singing, and he realized he wanted to become a singing waiter.  Though he had little schooling and no formal musical training, he left home to follow his dream and started out singing in restaurants.  By the time he was 18, he got a job as a singing waiter in Chinatown.

 

Berlin started out singing popular songs but soon started improvising.  In 1907, he published his first song, “Marie from Sunny Italy,” for which he received 37¢ in royalties.  A printer’s error listed his name as “Irving Berlin,” and he kept the name after that.  Eventually, Berlin’s restaurant performances earned him the attention of a music publisher and he was hired to write music.

 

In 1911, Berlin released “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” which became an international hit.  The song started a dance craze in his native Russia, but his music reflected the spirit of his adopted country.  Over the years, it would be sung by some of music’s biggest names – Bessie Smith, Louis Armstrong, Bing Crosby, Johnny Mercer, and Al Jolson.  George Gershwin called the song, “the first real American musical work.”

 

The instant success of that song opened the doors of opportunity to Berlin.  In 1914, he wrote the ragtime revue, “Watch Your Step,” which received rave reviews and was proclaimed a hit on opening night.

 

In the coming years, Berlin began to abandon ragtime for love songs.  His first ballad, “When I Lost You,” was an instant success and sold over one million copies.  Berlin also began writing songs for the new dance crazes, such as the “grizzly bear,” the “chicken walk,” and the foxtrot, as well as for the Hawaiian dance craze.  At this point, he was writing several new songs every week.

 

In 1916 Berlin became a US citizen and the following year was drafted into the Army for World War I.  He had already spoken out about the importance of artists supporting the war with inspirational songs, and that’s exactly what the Army wanted him to do.  He wrote “For Your Country and My Country,” “Let’s All Be Americans Now,” and the all-soldier musical revue, “Yip Yip Yaphank.”   The show would raise $150,000 for a camp service center.

 

Among the songs Berlin wrote for the show but didn’t use was “God Bless America.”  He thought it was too patriotic and set it aside.  Then, 20 years later, Kate Smith’s manager asked Berlin for a song to mark the 20th anniversary of the end of World War I.  She sang the song on her weekly radio show, lifting the spirits a nation weary of depression.  The song became a rallying cry during World War II.  A movement began to make the song America’s national anthem.  Berlin donated his royalties from the song to benefit the Boy and Girl Scouts of America.

 

In 1943, This Is the Army was released in order to increase the country’s morale during World War II.  The film was based on Berlin’s 1942 Broadway musical by the same name and was directed by Ezra Stone.  It featured Berlin himself and a future president of the United States, Ronald Reagan.  The movie made over nine million dollars, all of which was donated to Army Emergency Relief.  In 1955, Berlin was awarded a Congressional Gold Medal for his patriotic musical contributions.

 

Over the course of his 60-year career, Berlin wrote about 1,500 songs.  He also produced the scores for 19 Broadway shows and 18 Hollywood movies – 18 of his songs were nominated for Academy Awards.  Berlin once said he wanted his music to “reach the heart of the average American,” and his legacy shows it did that.  Berlin died in his sleep on September 22, 1989.  The lights were dimmed on Broadway the following night in his honor.

Read More - Click Here

U.S. #2400
1988 25¢ Sleigh and Village Scene
Contemporary Christmas

  • Unofficially honored 100th birthday of Irving Berlin, who was still alive
  • Second US stamp to honoring a living person

Stamp Category:  Commemorative
Set: 
Contemporary Christmas
Value: 
25¢, first-class rate
First Day of Issue: 
October 20, 1988
First Day City: 
Berlin, New Hampshire
Quantity Issued: 
1,030,850,000
Printed by: 
Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: 
Photogravure
Format: 
Panes of 50 in sheets of 300
Perforations:  11.5

 

Why the stamp was issued:  Responding to complaints over the definitive-sized Christmas stamps issued in 1986 and 1987, the USPS issued the 1988 Christmas stamps in a new size, approximately 50% larger than the previous issues.

 

With the "White Christmas" theme of this Contemporary Christmas stamp, the USPS attempted to honor a living person – songwriter Irving Berlin. Berlin turned 100 years old on May 11, 1988.

 

One year before Berlin’s death, US Postmaster General Anthony M. Frank wanted to honor the legendary songwriter on a stamp.  However, the USPS rules at the time dictated that anyone other than a president couldn’t be honored on a stamp until 10 years after their death.  So, Frank found a way around the rule.  He decided to honor Berlin with that year’s Christmas stamp.  The wintery scene of a house and trees covered in snow was intended to represent Berlin’s “White Christmas.”  Though the stamp didn’t picture or name Berlin, it was issued in Berlin, New Hampshire.  That made it only the second US stamp to honor a living American (after the 1927 Spirit of St. Louis airmail).

 

About the stamp design:  The stamp was designed by John Landis in a two-dimensional style, similar to the early 20th century Christmas Seals of the National Tuberculosis Association.  His image shows a two-story gray house with smoke rising from the chimney.  A red barn is nestled behind, evergreen trees surround and snow-covered hills line the distant background.

 

First Day City:  The First Day ceremony for this stamp was held in Berlin, New Hampshire.

 

Unusual facts about this stamp:  Miscut panes have been found that resulted from a 90-degree rotation of the sheet after printing and perforation before being sliced into panes.  There are also two varieties of cylinder flaws – the “missing curlicue on sleigh runner” and partially missing curlicue on sleigh runner” – both of which are found on the bottom front sleigh runner.

 

About the Contemporary Christmas series:  The US issued its first Christmas stamp (picturing a wreath and candles) on November 1, 1962, and it was wildly popular.  The Post Office printed 350 million stamps, the largest print run for a special stamp up to that time, but still the stamps quickly sold out.  The Bureau of Engraving and Printing produced more to satisfy demand and the total number issued was over 860 million by the end of the year.

In 1966, the Post Office started issuing traditional themed Christmas stamps picturing the Madonna and Child and other religious icons.  In 1969, they switched back to non-religious Christmas designs with a stamp picturing the painting Winter Sunday in Norway, Maine

Finally, in 1970, the Post Office decided to permanently split Christmas stamps into two categories to satisfy everyone:  Traditional and Contemporary.  They issued a block of four stamps picturing Christmas toys along with a stamp picturing a classic painting of the Nativity.  The decision to do both proved popular, and the Post Office has continued to issue stamps in both categories ever since.

 

History the stamp represents:  Irving Berlin was born Israel Beilin on May 11, 1888, in Russia.  He was one of eight children of a Russian-Jewish cantor.  In 1893, his family moved to New York City in search of a better life.

 

After his father died, Berlin began selling newspapers to help support the family.  He would hear songs from outside the saloons and restaurants and began singing them while selling his papers.  Soon, he found people gave him money for his singing, and he realized he wanted to become a singing waiter.  Though he had little schooling and no formal musical training, he left home to follow his dream and started out singing in restaurants.  By the time he was 18, he got a job as a singing waiter in Chinatown.

 

Berlin started out singing popular songs but soon started improvising.  In 1907, he published his first song, “Marie from Sunny Italy,” for which he received 37¢ in royalties.  A printer’s error listed his name as “Irving Berlin,” and he kept the name after that.  Eventually, Berlin’s restaurant performances earned him the attention of a music publisher and he was hired to write music.

 

In 1911, Berlin released “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” which became an international hit.  The song started a dance craze in his native Russia, but his music reflected the spirit of his adopted country.  Over the years, it would be sung by some of music’s biggest names – Bessie Smith, Louis Armstrong, Bing Crosby, Johnny Mercer, and Al Jolson.  George Gershwin called the song, “the first real American musical work.”

 

The instant success of that song opened the doors of opportunity to Berlin.  In 1914, he wrote the ragtime revue, “Watch Your Step,” which received rave reviews and was proclaimed a hit on opening night.

 

In the coming years, Berlin began to abandon ragtime for love songs.  His first ballad, “When I Lost You,” was an instant success and sold over one million copies.  Berlin also began writing songs for the new dance crazes, such as the “grizzly bear,” the “chicken walk,” and the foxtrot, as well as for the Hawaiian dance craze.  At this point, he was writing several new songs every week.

 

In 1916 Berlin became a US citizen and the following year was drafted into the Army for World War I.  He had already spoken out about the importance of artists supporting the war with inspirational songs, and that’s exactly what the Army wanted him to do.  He wrote “For Your Country and My Country,” “Let’s All Be Americans Now,” and the all-soldier musical revue, “Yip Yip Yaphank.”   The show would raise $150,000 for a camp service center.

 

Among the songs Berlin wrote for the show but didn’t use was “God Bless America.”  He thought it was too patriotic and set it aside.  Then, 20 years later, Kate Smith’s manager asked Berlin for a song to mark the 20th anniversary of the end of World War I.  She sang the song on her weekly radio show, lifting the spirits a nation weary of depression.  The song became a rallying cry during World War II.  A movement began to make the song America’s national anthem.  Berlin donated his royalties from the song to benefit the Boy and Girl Scouts of America.

 

In 1943, This Is the Army was released in order to increase the country’s morale during World War II.  The film was based on Berlin’s 1942 Broadway musical by the same name and was directed by Ezra Stone.  It featured Berlin himself and a future president of the United States, Ronald Reagan.  The movie made over nine million dollars, all of which was donated to Army Emergency Relief.  In 1955, Berlin was awarded a Congressional Gold Medal for his patriotic musical contributions.

 

Over the course of his 60-year career, Berlin wrote about 1,500 songs.  He also produced the scores for 19 Broadway shows and 18 Hollywood movies – 18 of his songs were nominated for Academy Awards.  Berlin once said he wanted his music to “reach the heart of the average American,” and his legacy shows it did that.  Berlin died in his sleep on September 22, 1989.  The lights were dimmed on Broadway the following night in his honor.