Welcome readers to todays offering from The Philatelist. So slip on your smoking jacket, fill your pipe, take the first sip of your adult beverage, and sit back in your most comfortable chair. We haven an interesting story to tell. A story of, as the late Casey Casem might have said, of keeping your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars. With of course a stop at Seventh Heaven.
The stamp today is a dramatically tall stamp. As well it should be. How better to depict the then newly opened tallest structure in the world, the Ostankino Television Tower. If that isn’t enough, our Soviet friends threw in an early space satellite, a Tupelov 144 “Concordski” jetliner, and a pretty space age bus I cannot identify. All that is missing is the space age kitchen sink. The Kremlin is also shown to remind you who brought this to you.
Todays stamp is issue A1595, a 4 Kopec stamp issued on November 19th, 1966. It was issued in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the 1917 revolution that brought the Bolshevicks to power and created the Soviet Union from the former Russian Empire. It was the only stamp in the issue. According to the Scott catalog, it is worth 25 cents in its sort of cancelled state.
Lets talk a little bit about what I mean about it’s sort of cancelled state. It is what I like least about the stamp. The stamp as you can see has a near perfect cancellation in it’s bottom corner and yet it also still has gum on the back as it as never been used. The Soviet Union, as well as many Eastern European and African countries, had licensed Mincus, the American stamp dealer, to produce stamps in their name to sell to collectors. Thus the stamp as never seen the Soviet Union. The Philatelist can sort of see why a poor country would sign on to such a thing but that a then superpower would is just beyond me. Should a good communist really sell out for money, even convertible foreign exchange?
Enough about that. Lets bask in all the visual treats that were fitted on this huge stamp. The Ostankino Television Tower is the biggest thing. The tower opened in 1967 after only taking three years to build. It was the tallest structure in the world, 1772 feet high, for eight years until it was surpassed by the CN Tower in Toronto. Besides the television equipment, it housed an observation deck and The Seventh Heaven Restaurant. There was a fire in the tower in 2000 that cost the lives of four fireman and cut tower transmission. The top part of the tower even took on a lean after the fire. Russian President Putin used the incident and a spate of similar mishaps to encourage better preservation of the nations vital facilities. In contrast to three year initial construction, rehabbing the tower took 16 years with the 2016 reopening of The Seventh Heaven Restaurant. The USA apparently is not the only country that can’t build anything anymore.
The Moliniya 1 satellite was also a great success of the Soviet Union that matured in 1967. It was a model of military communication satellite. The type of orbit it flew was great for coverage of northern latitudes and that type of orbit is now called the moliniya orbit after these advanced satellites. Later versions also carried satellite TV to remote areas of the Soviet Union.
This is really a great stamp! Showing all this world class stuff accomplished by the Soviet system is a great way to celebrate 50 years. Many will rightly point out that everyone did not share in this progress and perhaps even that the resources expended would have been better spent on raising the living standard of the average Soviet. Not me, I am a sucker for progress and achievement.
Well, my drink is empty and so it is time to open up the conversation in the below comment section. Do any of our Russian readers or lucky tourist know how the view from the tower is or how the food is at The Seventh Heaven? Come again tomorrow for another story that can be learned from stamp collecting.