Republic of the Philippines - Stamps and Postal History

Christmas Seals of the Philippines



  • Anti-TB Semi-Postal Stamps of the Philippines

  • Christmas Stamps of the Philippines





by Nemy L. Rivera


The year was 1910.  The just founded Philippine Anti-Tuberculosis Society urgently needed money to begin its work.  In September, two members of its Ways and Means Committee proposed the “preparation and sale of so-called holiday stamps” as an initial means of raising funds.   On October 10,  the Committee “authorized the purchase of 500,000 holiday stamps at a cost of P378.00 “ (!) 

This was the first Christmas seal of the Philippines.  It features a portrait of Jose Rizal (1861 – 1896), the Philippine national hero, in an oval frame superimposed on an ornate double-barred cross.  This was printed by the Bureau of Printing, Manila, in green and red,  VR 22 ˝ x 30, roulette 7.   

On the occasion of its 75th anniversary, the Society, now named “The Philippine Tuberculosis Society” approved the reprinting of the Rizal seal, together with two other early seals, for incorporation into the se-tenant design of the 1985 Christmas seals.  PTS, however, instructed the artist to make the following deliberate artwork differences to clearly distinguish the original from the reprint:  In the original, the face of Rizal is completely covered with fine contour shade lines;  the berries at the top portion of the seal are bunches of small red dots and the upper tip of the cross is pointed and touches the upper frame.  In the reprint, the face of Rizal is partly covered in solid green, with blank spots on forehead and cheeks;  the berries are single bigger red dots and the tip of the cross is a bit rounded and does not touch the upper frame. 

With a mintage of 500,000 seals one wonders how come the Rizal seals has now become such a rarity.    

(With excerpts from the 1960 50th Anniversary issue of  The Crusader, the official organ of the Philippine Tuberculosis Society, Inc.)




Articles by Nemy L. Rivera

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