Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Island

I know that the frenzy of Christmas is now over, but I would like to share with you an item I received end of last week: a very nice Fist Day Cover of the Christmas issue from Christmas Island!
Here it is.
First of all, let me give you some information about the island itself. Christmas Island is a small dot located in the Indian Ocean, 2600 km north-west of Perth, Australia and not very far (360 km) from Java.
The island was named “Christmas Island” by Captain William Mynors of the East India Ship Company vessel, the Royal Mary, on the day of his arrival, the 25th of December 1643. He was not able to land, and actually the first recorded landing on the island will only occur in 1688.
Nowadays Christmas Island is a territory of Australia. There are around 1600 residents on the island, and 63% of its surface is a national park, making it famous for its flora and fauna. You can find a lot of useful information about this island
on this website.

On the philatelic side, Christmas Island has started to issue its own postage stamp in 1958. It was an adaptation of Australia's 1 shilling 7 pence stamp of March 1955, using a bas-relief profile of Queen Elizabeth II with floral ornament. The design was reshaped to include a black "CHRISTMAS ISLAND" and encircled value in Malayan dollars overprint.
Since 1992 the stamps from Christmas Islands are produced by the Australian post, with three issues per year. One of these issues is a traditional Christmas set of stamps. The one on the cover have been issued on the 31st of October 2008.

The stamp on the right pictures a Robber crab (Birgus latro), the largest species of crab worldwide, so called because of its habit to steal shiny objects. The Robber crab is also called elsewhere the Coconut crab because of its ability to break coconuts with its claws. The stamp pictures a Robber crab disguised as a reindeer that tries to steal the Christmas gifts of a group of Red crabs. Red crabs are another species that can be found on the island. They are very numerous there and their annual mass migration to the sea has been described by ecologists as one of the wonders of the natural world.

The second stamp pictures a Christmas tree decorated with seashells, Red crabs and a smiling starfish. A bird is wrapping its long tail around the tree like a strand of tinsel. This bird is a Golden bosun (Phaetho letirus fulvus), a bird that is endemic to Christmas Island and that is also pictured on the flag of the island.

The pictorial postmark is very nice and clear, making this FDC a very nice item for my collection!

1 comment:

lefung said...

Wow! Really very nice cover for the Christmas greeting