Welcome readers to todays offering from The Philatelist. So slip on your smoking jacket, fill your pipe, take your first sip of your adult beverage and sit back in your most comfortable chair. We have an interesting story to tell of a country that did not last long enough to get it’s first issue of stamps out, but of course that does not mean that they were not sold to collectors.
The stamp looks like a cross between a Russian and an Austrian stamp. The Russian lettering show the former and the decent quality of the lithograph the later. I suspect it was printed in Vienna. The issuer was to be the People’s Republic of the Ukraine, but the countries independence ended when Ukraine became a Soviet Republic
I can’t give you an issue number as the set this stamp was a part of was never issued officially. There were 14 stamps of various denominations printed in 1920 and the entire set in mint condition is worth $5.00. There are no cancelled copies. There are apparently a lot of printer mistakes and variations with off center or even inverted central pictures. No doubt the stamp dealers of the time got extra for these but there is no stated value to them now. Scott catalog may want to do more research on this. Now that Ukraine is independent, it may be a new market for these stamps. There also may be a market in Russia and Poland, where the instability of the early days of the 1917 revolution must be an interesting time for local history buffs and philatelists.
Ukraine petitioned the last white Russian government for self rule and this was granted and a peoples republic was declared under Ukrainian historian Hrushevsky. This was a coalition government of Communists, Poles, Jews, and White Russians. Events overtook this government when the Communists came to power and sued for peace with the Kaiser’s Germany. The peace treaty accepted Ukraine’s independence and the Germans/Austrians set up a Hetman, head of state, royal government with a Czarist general PP Shoropadsky as the new king/ hetman. The German/Austrian surrender in November 1918 was the end of him and he went into exile in Germany.
A new peoples republic was declared but by now chaos and foreign intervention was the rule of the day. Soviets were invading to bring Ukraine into the Soviet Union. organized anarchists were mostly on there side. There was a Ukraine army which fought to stay independent aided by White Russians, French, and Americans. The American interest was in a weaker Soviet Union and in the plight of the Jews in the Ukraine. Also newly independent Poland invaded to try to bring Ukraine into Poland so a bigger country could better withstand being between Soviet Union and Germany. Kiev, the capital of the Ukraine, changed hands 5 times during a one year period. The chaos became so great that people left the cities for the countryside looking for food.
The Soviets had won this war by late 1920 and signed a treaty with Poland dividing Ukraine with Poland. The Soviet part becoming The Soviet republic of Ukraine. This lasted till 1992. Interestingly though this stamp was not issued the former Ukraine government went into exile in Warsaw, Poland and planned to reinvade. Part of that planning was a new stamp issue to issue once back in Ukraine. The invasion plans amounted to nothing, but this issue of stamps from 1923 also of course made it to collectors. Amazing how that works.
Well my drink is empty and so it is time to open up the conversation in the below comment section. Does anybody recognize the statue on the stamp? It does not appear to be the famous Ukrainian statue with the swords or the later Cubist statue of the early Communist that was also on a hillside. I am stumpted. Come again tomorrow for another story that can be learned from stamp collecting.