To accommodate the public's need to send New Year's greeting cards, the Directorate General of Posts plans to issue a set of two New Year's Greeting Postage Stamps (Issue of 2000), as well as a souvenir sheet and stamp booklet. China Color Printing Co., Inc. is handling the color deep-etch offset printing. The stamps' date of issue is December 1, 2000. This year the Chinese lunar New Year falls on January 24, 2001. It is the hsin-szu year (hsin is the eighth of the Ten Celestial Stems and szu is the sixth of the Twelve Terrestrial Branches and signifies the year of the snake). To welcome the year of the snake, the Directorate has chosen the work of Mr. Lin Chun-liang, who won a competition for drawing the animals of the Chinese zodiac. The two stamps will have denominations of NT$3.50 and NT$13.00. The souvenir sheet is composed of two sets of these stamps, worth NT$33.00. The stamp booklet is composed of twelve NT$3.50 stamps, with a total value of NT$42.00.
The Chinese have traditionally used double-revolving combinations of the Ten Celestial Stems and the Twelve Terrestrial Branches to designate years. The full 60-year cycle is called a chia-tzu, for the first stem and first branch. The Twelve Terrestrial Branches also have animal representations: tzu (rat), chou (ox), yin (tiger), mao (rabbit), chen (dragon), szu (snake), wu (horse), wei (sheep), shen (monkey), yu (rooster), hsu (dog) and hai (pig). Each year the Directorate issues New Year's Greeting Postage Stamps taking the upcoming year's animal sign as the theme.
First-day covers, folders with and without stamp mounting cards, folders with crystal mounts for souvenir sheet and loose-leaf album pages will be released along with the stamps. These will go on sale November 29, 2000. Pre-cancelled FDCs with the full set of stamps, with just one lower-value stamp, or with a souvenir sheet will go on sale December 1, 2000, the stamps' date of issue. For further information, please refer to the upcoming Philatelic Bulletin or Postal Service Today.