Russia's illustrious stamp production history makes Russian stamps an ideal focus for philatelists and budding stamp enthusiasts alike. Russian stamps include thousands of commemorative stamps celebrating the country's achievements, as well as everyday stamps, and even limited edition pieces. Learning about Russian stamps helps you to build a complete collection.
Russian Stamp Era
Russian stamps date from several eras in Russia's history, mostly marked by different political periods. Pre-1917 stamps are from the Russian Empire; 1917 through 1922 stamps belong to the Russian Civil War period; 1922 through 1991 stamps were issued during the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR or CCCP); and stamps issued since the 1991 are from the Russian Federation. Usually, Russian Empire stamps are the most valuable as they are the oldest, while the USSR period affords the most opportunities for specific and recognisable commemorative stamps, as the government often utilised them as part of political campaigns. Modern and vintage Russian Federation stamps are significantly less valuable, but still worth collecting.
Russian Stamp Age
Russian stamps vary in age, but most do list the date on the stamp in either Cyrillic numerals or in Arabic numerals depending on the production date and political party in charge of the design. Cyrillic numerals are relatively easy to learn, as you typically only have to learn numbers one through ten, and then the numbers by hundred in order to recognise dates. Some Russian stamps feature Arabic numeral dates, which makes it considerably easier to date the stamps if you are not familiar with Cyrillic.
Recognising Russian Stamps
Russian stamps also use Cyrillic names and identifiers. While some Russian stamps feature recognisable images, such as the Stalin collection from 1943, many stamps are more difficult to recognise. Consulting with a Russian stamp catalogue is useful for recognising, valuing, and buying Russian stamps of any kind.
Russian Commemorative Stamps
Russia has a plethora of commemorative stamps dating from the Soviet period, as well as from other periods in its political history. Collecting commemorative stamps, such as the 1952 commemorative stamp celebrating the formation of the USSR, is one way of preserving the history of the stamps in your collection. Because there are so many stamps available from Russia, collecting all of them requires several years of research and searching, as many were issued in limited runs of a few thousands stamps.