Pysanka Stamps


Pysanky have been honored infrequently on postage stamps, at least when compared to presidents, flags and Queen Elizabeth.

The oldest set I am aware of were not actual postage stamps. In 1959 PLAST (a Ukrainian scouting organization) printed a sheet of pysanka stamps as a fundraiser.  These stamps  numbered 45, and the pysanky stamps representing the various regions of Ukraine are positioned approximately where their regions would be on a map of Ukraine.

(For more philatelic information  and close-up views, look here.)

For details of the printing process, watch this video.

Since independence, Ukraine has depicted Easter eggs on stamps on five occasions. The first occurred in 1993, not long after independence, and was Ukraine's first Easter stamp. Shown on the 15-karbovanets stamp is an Easter table setting with a lighted candle holder, pasky (Easter breads), pussy willow branches, and "krashanky" – not pysanky. This stamp was designed by V. I. Dvornyk, and was printed by the Austrian State Printing Office, as Ukraine still did not yet have its own stamp printing facilities. 200,000 copies were produced.

The second set was printed in 2000, a souvenir sheet showing six pysanky surrounded by some traditional folk motifs in red and gold. It was designed by Kateryna Shtanko, and depicts pysanky from various Ukrainian regions: Podillya, Chernihiv, Kyiv, Odesa, Hutsulshchyna, and Volyn. 50,000 souvenir sheets were printed.

In 2003, a stamp from the series commemorating "Regions and Administrative Centers of Ukraine" prominently featured pysanky. The stamp honoring Chernivtsi oblast displayed three pysanky in the traditional Bukovynian style, alongside a view of Khotyn fort. The stamps was designed by artist Oleksander Kalmykov, and one million copies were produced.

Also in 2002, one of the "Ukrainian Folk Costumes” stamps included Easter eggs. The Ternopil region stamp depicted traditional Easter customs, with villagers  gathered for Easter. In this scene, a little girl holds and Easter egg in her hand, and there are several more in the basket at her feet.   Whether these are pysanky or krashanky is impossible to determine, but the ones in the basket do appear to be multi-colored. The stamps' designer was Mykola Kochubei, and 350,000 stamps, in two configurations, were printed.

In 2005, more stamps from the "Regions and Administrative Centers" series were produced, including one for Ivano-Frankivsk oblast. The stamp depicts a wintry Carpathian landscape, adn a view of the Museum of the Pysanka in Kolomyia.  Oleksander Kalmykov designed this stamp as well, and 200,000 copies were printed.

In 2009, Canada Post released a stamp honoring the Vegreville Pysanka, along with three other Canadian “Roadside Attractions.” The individual stamps are shown below.

The stamps are available in souvenir sheets of 4 and booklets of eight (pictured below). Also shown is the first day cover.

The US Postal Service has not released any official pysanka-themed stamps but has allowed the printing, since 2005, of custom postage stamps by licensed vendors.  You can now find lots of these stamps for sale on line (and at prices well above standard postage), including many with pysanka themes. 

Pysanka-themed stamps seem to abound at Zazzle.  They include not only photos of pysanky, and details of pysanky, but series of pysanka motifs.  And there are even storybook themed pysanka stamps, like the one below:

(Much of the information on this page comes from an article written by Ingert Kuzych and published in the Ukrainian Weekly in Vol. 72 No. 10 (7 March 2004): 10-11.  You can read it, with much more philatelic detail, here.)

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