It’s become as much a Chinese New Year tradition as the holiday itself. Every lunar new year, both the U.S. Postal Service and the China Post issue Chinese New Year stamps, to the joy of collectors and well-wishers around the world.
China Post began issuing Chinese New Year zodiac stamps in 1980 with each year dedicated to an animal in the Chinese zodiac, beginning with the Year of Monkey and ending with the Year of Ram. Famous Chinese artist Huang Yongyu painted a monkey for the first stamp, which was proved so popular as gift that many forgeries exist.
The 2016 monkey stamp was released on Jan 5 and are designed by Huang Yongyu, the father of China’s first ever set of Chinese new year stamps, which were also monkey-themed, and issued in 1980.“I’m making it hilarious, a monkey with a peach and hanging on the trees,” Huang said.His designs even echo China’s latest national policy allowing for two children per couple, and shows two monkey babies with their mothers.Chinese people believe that those born in the year of the monkey are successful and good at making deals, and they don’t mind spending a lot to bring a bit of monkey-business into their home.The price of the stamps has risen 150,000 times since the 1980 release.
The U.S. Postal Service’s first Chinese New Year stamp series in 1992 included all twelve traditional animal signs. The current and second series — which began in 2008 — emphasizes holiday traditions.
Story compiled with the pictures and information from China Post, USPS, U.S. National Postal Museum, China Daily.