5 facts about Russian Postage Stamps

5 facts about Russian Postage Stamps
29 December 2015

On December 22, 1857, the Russian Empire Postal Department issued a circular letter on the introduction of Russian postage stamps for public use.

1.Stamp system

The first signs of postage were adopted in Russia in 1845 in the form of postal stationary envelopes for local mail in St. Petersburg and Moscow. The idea worked well, and was extended throughout Russia in 1848. However there was growing pressure to develop a better system of Russian postal stamps, based on different weights of a letter with different charges.

2. Searching for inspiration

In 1851 the manager of the Postal Delivery by Railway, Aleksey Charukovsky, was sent abroad to study the postal delivery systems in Europe. After gathering information, it was suggested to issue postal stamps for the convenience of the population.

3. Final Design

The final design for the first ever stamp was devised by the leading engraver Fedor Kepler which consisted of a medallion with the national emblem in the center and a mantle of the tsar with his crown on the top. The Post Office Emblem – two crossed horns – was printed under the Coat of Arms. Three different color combinations were chosen; brown with a blue center for 10 kopecks, blue with an orange center for 20 kopecks and carmine with a yellow-green center for 30 kopecks.

4. Stamp branding

In order to protect the stamps from counterfeiting, it was made with a watermark. One specialist found a very original solution: figure “1” was used as the watermark on the first Russian stamps. It was possible to define that it was the very first Russian stamp just by having a look at it in the transmitted light. A layer of glue was applied to the paper before printing.

On the same day that the Postal Department announced the introduction of postage stamps as payment for private correspondence, they went on sale, quickly becoming available at all postal offices throughout the country. Officially, the stamps were not to be used until January 1, 1858.

5. Stamp release

The first stamps in Russia appeared in 1918 on the first anniversary on the October Revolution. These new stamps were meant to represent the liberation of the people from the shackles of tsarist and depicted a hand with a sword hewing a chain. These first revolutionary stamps cost 35 kopecks (blue) and 70 kopecks (brown). Only a few copies were released, because shortly  letters and cards could be sent free of charge at the government’s expense until August 1921. The first USSR stamps were released in August of 1923


This blog was brought to you by Eliant, currently studying Russian at Liden and Denz



One response to “5 facts about Russian Postage Stamps”

  1. The information you provided about postal stamps is very valuable. And such information is important to the people
    Thank you so much

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