1963 Christmas Stamp - 5 Cent Tree1963 was only the second year they created Christmas stamps, so this was the very beginning of a tradition. The first year might have been thought of as a 'one-off'. Now they had a routine going. Again, like the first year, they went with an image with was generally "mild". They did not use any specific religious iconography, no images of Mary or Jesus. Instead, they chose an image of the White House lawn with a quietly decorated Christmas tree. In white it says Christmas 1963, and across the bottom in red it says United States 5c.
This stamp's image was initially done by Lily Spandorf, a famous painter born in Vienna, Austria. Lily was famous at the time for her landscapes. Many magazines used her work, and in particular her images each winter of the White House with its Christmas Tree were very popular. This made her perhaps a natural to use for this stamp. Her original painting is called "The Christmas Pageant of Peace at the White House" and features young children admiring the tree, which has multi-colored lights in red, yellow, blue, and so on. This original image was then modified by Norman Todhunte to fit better in the stamp format. I cannot find where the original painting now hangs! Perhaps it is in a private collection.
Interestingly, President JFK couldn't make it to the first Tree Lighting of his presidency because his father was sick. So 1962, the year shown in this image, featured the tree involved in his first and last tree lighting ceremony.
The image is called the "National Christmas Tree and White House" by the USPS.
This is the Scott Catalogue #1240 Stamp. The stamp was issued on Nov. 1, 1963.
This stamp is fairly common, and a mint copy is worth 4 cents.
Here is my image of this beautiful Christmas stamp! This one was *not* collected by Walter - it came out before he began collecting stamps. I acquired this stamp separately, to round out this online gallery.
Because I have many copies of many of my stamps, feel free to contact me if you have an interest or swapping or buying one of these. I am quite happy to share my love of stamping with others!
Christmas Stamp Photos
Stamp Collecting and Stamp Photos