Part One of what I assume will be many more…
More than a decade ago, I was gifted a stamp collection from my father’s old co-worker. He was a lonely fellow and found out in passing that I had my own stamp collection. Having no one to pass it along to, he gave my dad his old collection of Soviet stamps to give to me, many of which are steeped in both Russian history (including famous figures, folklore, and art) and Soviet ideology. Now I find myself perusing through them after almost a decade and, having studied history, they now hold newfound meaning for me. I can appreciate them more so than I ever could have at ten or eleven years old.
It’s a large collection and I am still in the process of organizing all of these stamps, but I posted them in a forum not too long ago and the most common question was “Do you have any Lenin stamps?” I have quite a few of them and I decided to put them all on one page since they were some of the best stamps in my collection.
I don’t know how much these stamps are worth. Initially I thought they were rare, but I tempered by expectations a bit after realizing that most of these are archived online. However, I have not done research on all of them. I only checked a few of them that I considered to be particularly impressive, and was able to reverse-image search them quite easily. My knowledge on stamps is limited though, and I received mixed responses from people when assessing their value. To assess the value of the entire collection would be very meticulous and I have not gotten around to doing it yet. If anyone has any thoughts on the stamps presented in this post, either in value or any further insight on their production, I’d like to hear it. Most of these stamps come in duplicates, but the really “rare” ones (from my understanding, just by looking at them) only come as singles. All of these photos I tried to take in high-quality, so be sure to click on them individually if you want to look at their detail.
Commemorating the 1970 World Fair in Osaka, Japan
Drawn by “B. V. Johanson with a group of artists”
(Rough translation of text on the left): V. I Lenin — Creator of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, founder of the world of Soviet socialist states, leader and teacher of the workers all over the world. His instructions were the basis of all strategic plans and successful operations in the Civil War.
Underneath Lenin: “Glory [to] October!” Underneath it reads: “Our socialist Republic of Soviets, Will stand firmly, As the torch of international socialism, And as an example to all the toiling masses” (м. т. XXII, стр. 218)
Topmost text reads: “Lenin at the map of ГОЭЛРО.” ГОЭЛРО was the acronym for the massive plan for electricity for the Soviet republics after the October Revolution
The uppermost text on the red banner reads: “The working class party became the militant vanguard of the Soviet people. [To build] communism!” The stamp with Lenin and Marx naturally reads: “Workers of all nations, unite!”
The bottom stamp was printed to commemorate the XXV Congress of communist party of Ukraine.
The bottom stamp’s artwork is drawn by Viktor G. Tsyplakov (1947)
Some extra information on these stamps is worth mentioning, so I’ll go through the notable ones.
Image #1 — The Expo ’70 in Osaka, Japan
What first caught my eye was the structure that’s depicted. The Soviet pavilion was the largest at the world fair and was designed by Mikhail V. Posokhin. It was the last world expo the Soviet Union participated in.
Spacecrafts on display at the Soviet Pavilion, 1970.
Image #4 –‘Lenin at a Direct Line’ (1933) by Igor Grabar.
The above image is featured on the stamp. Igor Grabar was a Russian post-Impressionist painter. He generally did not draw socialist realism, but he did some pieces like this one which depicts Lenin on the telegraph.
Image #9 — Lenin Statue in Kiev, Ukraine
The bottom stamp on image #9 is an illustration of the famous statue of Lenin in what is now Kiev, Ukraine.
The statue took on new political significance since Euromaidan and was toppled by a mob in early December, 2013. It was considered a symbol of Russian occupation to Ukrainian nationalists and the Svoboda party took credit for its destruction.
The destruction of the Lenin statue in Kiev was part of a general trend of destroying Soviet monuments in the country. The phenomenon was called Ленінопад (Leninopad or “Lenin-fall”). A database of Soviet-era monuments demolished since 2013 can be found here.
Image #10 — Oil Painting by Viktor G. Tsyplakov
The above oil painting is featured on one of the stamps in image #10. It is one of the better known examples of Viktor G. Tsyplakov’s work. He was a prolific artist, but his work, from my understanding, is not as well-documented as it should.
“Facing a Firing Squad” – c. 1940s. If anybody has any information on this painting, I’d like to hear because I’m having trouble properly identifying it.
These are only a few stamps in a large collection I have. When it comes to these stamps, I have not even exhausted the research I would like to do on them. I’m actually not even very satisfied with what I have dug up so far because schoolwork has been forcing me to neglect my individual pursuits as of late but I will expand on this, and post other stamps, as I continue to read and identify them.