Soviet and Russian Postal Stationery, By Gaston Barrette



It is estimated that the Soviet Union and the Federation of Russia issued more than 17,000 items of postal stationery covering over the years every topic one can imagine. The following illustrations of some of the most colorful of these SOS envelopes and postal cards are but a very small sample of the SOS items.



Issued October 28, 1977 for the 50th anniversary of Soviet postal stationery, this 4k envelope is the first stamp on stamp of Russian postal stationery and shows in the printed indicium behind the 4k definitive stamp Russia #283 without value and a stamp frame. The cachet is made up of the first postal stationery envelope (1927) and before it a more recent air letter. A brownish frame with a big red 50 completes the cachet. A beautiful SOS specimen.



Issued March 11, 1981, this 4k postal card for the 15th anniversary of the All-Union Philatelic Society has the stamp design made of a row of stamp frames of various colors with a blue inscription meaning 15th Year VOF, the last word being the Societys acronym. The cachet shows five Russian stamps before an open stamp album with the Society logo at the bottom center. Philately has always been a popular hobby in Russia and the majority of postal stationery items with stamps or pseudo stamps have been issued for stamp exhibitions.



The first postal card with a reproduced stamp in the design was issued June 25, 1985. It was in honor of Cd. Pavel I. Belayev, cosmonaut, for his 60th birthday. The reproduced stamp is Russia #3043 and the cosmonaut portrait is shown on the cachet.



This 5k envelope illustrates one of the numerous stamp exhibitions held each year in Russia. It was issued June 20, 1988 for an exhibition held in Kiev under the theme Nature and Us. The cachet shows in a triangular stamp a forest landscape with birds and a deer.



As with many other countries, Russia issued in addition to a set of adhesive stamps (Russia #5874-79) for the 150th anniversary of the Penny Black, a postal card for the Stamp World Exhibition held in London in 1990. This 4k card dated March 3, 1990 shows in the indicium the Penny Black flanked by two stylized heraldic lions. The exhibition logo appears on the cachet with the British Parliament in the background and the London Arms on the foreground.


The 5k envelope issued March 20, 1990 is interesting in that it commemorates the 125th anniversary of the stemvo (local) stamps showing specimens of different Russian localities. One has to consult specialized catalogues in Russian language for locality identification, but I think these old stamps are worth showing.



The last item is an example of the kind of issues with stamps produced by the new Russia since 1994. The imprinted indicium shows a capital A in a square frame indicating the rate to pay and the stamps on the cachet are reproductions of current stamps. This envelope issued December 4, 2001 shows Russia #6695-99, one of a series of issues on the 300th anniversary of St. Petersburg in 2003.