1966 Christmas Stamp - 5 Cent Virgin MaryThe 1966 Christmas Stamp is an image of the Virgin Mary and the baby Jesus in her lap. Mary is wearing a long red shawl over a deep blue dress. She is sitting on an ornate chair with lush oriental tapestries above and below her. The baby Jesus is naked except a strip of white cloth. Mary is looking down to the right, at an open book in her hand, while Jesus has a hand raised and is looking towards the left.
This stamp says 5C US Christmas on the left side in gold letters. In red letters at the bottom it says Memling National Gallery of Art.
It's a little confusing - there are TWO years of US Christmas stamps which use this exact same painting. In this 1966 version the stamp was cut off right beneath Jesus' feet and there was nothing below that. The one in 1967 was a "taller" painting - you see Mary's "knees". In this 1966 version the stamp stops almost immediately over the top over Mary's head. The top was also much taller in the 1967 stamp.
The original image was from the mid 1488-1490 - a painting named La Vierge et l'Enfant entre Saint-Jacques et Saint-Dominique ("Madonna and Child"). It was created by a German painter, Hans Memling. It is currently on display at the Louvre in Paris, France. Note that the original painting has Jesus *naked*. The US government altered his image, adding in the "covering" of white cloth, when making the stamp version.
This is the Scott Catalogue #1321 Stamp.
This stamp is reasonably common, and a used stamp is worth about 5 cents. They made over a BILLION of these.
Here are my images of the stamps collected by Walter!
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