Lunar New Year 2020 marks the beginning of a new 12-year Chinese zodiac cycle and a new cycle in the Christmas Island: Lunar New Year stamp series. That means some fresh, new stamp designs and some exciting product additions too.

The Rat is considered a symbol of good luck and wealth, and it was the quick-witted and intelligent Rat that crossed the line first in the Jade Emporer’s race, which determined the order of the animal signs. While the Rat could not swim, he managed to traverse the river on the back of the Ox, who was an efficient swimmer. Just before the Ox reached the opposite bank, the Rat leapt off to take first place.

The stamps in the Year of the Rat 2020 stamp issue, released 8 January 2020, were designed by Yan Lin. Yan was born in Fujian, China, but raised and educated in Sydney, where she completed a Bachelor of Design in Visual Communication from the University of Technology, Sydney.

Yan took inspiration from Peking Opera to develop the striking and colourful designs. The three stamps present the Rat as key roles from this ancient art form: the principal male role (sheng), the comedy role (chou) and the female role (dan). Learn more about the meaning behind the designs in our interview with Yan.

Out now are some fantastic Year of the Rat collectables, some of which are highlighted below, including some new additions to the range:

Year of the Rat round calendar sheet stamp pack

This attractive new product contains a self-adhesive round sheet of all of the stamp designs from this year’s zodiac sheetlet as well as a round $8 stamp in the centre. There’s also a list of recent years that have been designated to each animal sign. On the back of the pack is a list of birth dates, to help you figure out your Chinese zodiac sign.

Year of the Rat gold minisheet and pack

The minisheet from this year’s stamp issue has been reproduced in gold and comes with an acrylic frame. A new product to the range is an 888 gold minisheet – "8" being a lucky number in Chinese culture. The minisheet features a beautiful, graphic rendition of “888”, with smaller versions of the Year of the Rat stamps forming part of each figure 8. The 888 gold minisheet comes in an attractive pack. Both products are limited editions.

Postal numismatic covers and medallions

Out now are two spectacular postal numismatic covers for the Year of the Rat. One, with a Year of the Rat $1 uncirculated coin from The Perth Mint; the other, with a coloured, uncirculated Dragon coin from The Perth Mint. There’s an individual medallion, with backing card, featuring the Rat design from the zodiac sheetlet, as well as a limited-edition boxed medallion set, featuring a medallion for each of the zodiac animal signs as well as a numbered zodiac sheetlet. Only 500 boxed sets have been produced. There’s also a limited-edition, new-look medallion cover, containing a coloured medallion that features the three Rat characters from the stamp designs.

Year of the Rat prestige booklet

The prestige booklet in this year’s issue tells the fascinating story of Peking Opera, an art form that developed in China during the mid-Qing dynasty (1636–1912) and which inspired this year’s stamp designs. The characters in Peking Opera perform spectacular vocals, mime, dance and acrobatics in beautiful, ornate costumes, and these are depicted in the booklet using vibrant photographs. The booklet also contains blocks of $1.10, $2.50 and $3.30 stamps from the issue.

Joint stamp pack with China

As a special joint issue with China, we’ve released a pack that features the zodiac sheetlet from our Year of the Rat 2020 stamp issue as well as two sheetlets of Year of the Rat stamps from China.

Tom and Jerry Lunar New Year licensed products

Out now is a stamp pack and postal numismatic cover (PNC) featuring the much-loved, comic cat and mouse cartoon characters Tom and Jerry. The pack contains 20 $1.10 stamps from the Year of the Rat 2020 stamp issue. In the pack design and stamp tabs, Tom and Jerry are dressed up and celebrating the Year of the Rat (or Year of the Mouse, as Jerry prefers to call it). The PNC contains a coloured, uncirculated $1 coin from The Perth Mint, featuring Jerry.

The Christmas Island Lunar New Year: Year of the Rat 2020 stamp issue is available from 8 January 2020, online, at participating Post Offices and via mail order on 1800 331 794 (+61 3 9887 0033 from overseas), while stocks last.

View the gallery and technical details for this issue.

This content was produced at the time of the stamp issue release date and will not be updated.

Philatelic Team