1999/2000  Millennium Midnight (Isle of Man)

The transition from the year 1999 to 2000 is captured in this elegant three-pane sheet of stamps from the Isle of Man.

On the first stamp, with the clock set at one minute to midnight on December 31, the final sunset of 1999 is shown from Calf Point, the most westerly part of the Island. In the evening sky is the so-called Summer Triangle of stars (Deneb, Vega and Altair), while he red planet Mars hovers in the twilight.

The second stamp shows the skies directly overhead at midnight. By happy chance, the point exactly overhead the Isle of Man lies just within the boundaries of Lynx, the cat, here depicted as a tailless manx cat. Also shown are the circumpolar constellations Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, and Draco – and since 2000 was the Chinese Year of the Dragon, a Chinese dragon character is shown next to Draco.

On the third stamp the clock has ticked forwards to a minute past midnight on January 1. The scene on the stamp depicts the first sunrise of the New Year as seen from Maughold Head, the most easterly point on the Island. The Summer Triangle is in the sky again, Venus and Mercury have risen, while overhead passes the International Space Station, symbolizing the enormous technical advances in the second half of the 20th century.

The sunset and sunrise photographs were taken by David Lloyd Jones of The Agency Limited, the company which designed the stamps. Their date of issue is officially given as 1999 December 31 – 2000 January 1, bracketing the change of year.

Stanley Gibbons no. MS 868