The 52p stamp, designed by Wang Huming in Beijing, China, shows a rat in gold against a red background.
The stamp denotes the Chinese fable Rat Biting Started the World. In Chinese culture, it is said that before the beginning of the world there was only chaos. Legend has it the Rat bravely took a bite out of the sky, sunlight came in through the opening, then Yin separated from Yang, and the world started. The stamp features a bowl that symbolises the world, which the rat opens from within. The Chinese seal which appears on the left side of the illustration symbolises the rat.
A block of four stamps is taken from the same sheet of ten; selvedges are also retained and will include the traffic lights. Traffic lights are a term used by collectors to denote the check dots or (colour dabs) printed in the sheet margins of stamps printed by modern offset litho or photogravure methods. They assist in checking that all the colours have printed correctly. Blocks of stamps from the corner of the sheet, including the 'traffic lights', are collected as a matched pair with the block showing the cylinder numbers.
Most of our selvedge sheets contain a plate number; a numeral, occasionally with a letter suffix, usually inscribed on the sheet margins to denote the plate from which stamps were printed - for example 1A.
All our mint/cto products are carefully prepared by our own team and supplied in glassine bags to ensure you receive them in pristine condition.
The fifth issue in our Lunar New Year stamp series celebrates the lunar Zishu year (2020) which is the Year of the Rat. Also known as the Spring Festival, it is the most important celebration in the Chinese calendar. It is celebrated by Chinese and ethnic communities around the world and is a time when families come together. In Chinese culture, rats are seen as a sign of fertility, wealth and surplus. They are clever, quick thinkers and often successful. People born in the year of the Zishu rat are multi-talented. They are strong-willed and always finish what they begin.