Pysanka Stamps


I own two sets of pysanka stamps. The first set is a Ukrainian Post souvenir sheet printed in 2000 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: Podillia, Chernihiv, Kyiv, Odesa, Hutsulshchyna, and Volyn. Only 50,000 souvenir sheets were printed, and I was lucky enough to acquire two of them.

Podillia (sun/star), Chernihiv (flower)

Kyiv (oak-leaf), Odesa (sun pinwheel)

Hutsulshchyna (deer and spruce tree), Volyn’ (crosses)

The second (and oldest) set are not actual postage stamps; they were published by PLAST (a Ukrainian scouting organization) as a fundraiser in the 1959.  These stamps were in one sheet, 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.

As Ingert Kuzych wrote about these stamps in “Focus on Philately” in the Ukrainian Weekly:


Perhaps the most famous such example is a pane (sheet) of "stamps" created in 1959 by a small group of pysanka lovers in Toronto. In beauty and intricacy these "stamps" look like the real thing, but in actuality they are seals created for the youth scouting group Plast to raise funds and to spark an interest in the philatelic hobby.

The 45 Ukrainian Easter eggs depicted on the stamps were created by pysanka expert Yaroslav Elyjiw to represent 23 ethnographic regions in Ukraine. The designs were then incorporated into stamps by Toronto artist Myron Lev and printed by Lito-Druk Zenon Elyjiw in five colors: deep red, green, yellow, olive, and black. This extraordinarily attractive series of stamps has been very widely used in egg-decorating classes as a quick reference for many basic designs.

A great deal of information is conveyed on every "stamp" of the pane. In addition to the Plast symbol and the "Plastova Poshta" (PLAST Post) heading, the left side of every "stamp" proclaims "Ukrainski Pysanky" and the bottom inscription states "Ukrainian Easter Eggs." All of these design elements appear in olive ink.

All of the egg designs are multicolored; a designation in black appears under every egg to identify the region that the egg design represents. On the right, in red, the stamps are numbered and the name of the main design element is given, e.g., stars, crosses, butterflies, oak leaves, rose, wolves' teeth, ladders, sunflower, etc.

In the border selvage, a stylized, olive-colored deer - drawn in the Hutsul style - is repeated numerous times.

He also notes that $2.25 investment is now worth $30-35!  Not that I would ever sell them.....

I’ve copied some of the pysanky off of this set of stamps, and included them with my regional pysanky, but not all of them....yet.

(In the stamps below, some regions are represented by more than one stamp.  In those cases, I’ve included the names of the different pysanky together in the parentheses, separated by a comma.)


Pidliashia (combs, maidens), Western Polissia (ram’s horns)

Kholm (rose, sorokoklyn), Volyn (flowers)

Posiannia (curls), Northern Halychyna (flowers, cuckoo)

Lemko (flowers), Boiko (crow’s feet, “sosonka” spurge)

Lemko (crooked one), Transcarpathia (sunflower, baskets)


Western Polissya (sosonka), Eastern Polissya (tulips), Chernihiv (full rose)

Volyn’ (ladders), Kyiv (side rose, magpies)

Podillia (oak leaves, discontinuity), Poltava (“end” rose)

Hutsul (churches), Bukovyna (scythes) , Odesa (curved horns)

Hutsul (horses), Bukovyna (paska), Odesa (wolves’ teeth)


Chernihiv (flowers), Kursk (cross, butterflies)

Kyiv (cucumbers), Voronizhchyna (periwinkle, rakes)

Poltava (crooked belts), Kharkiv (saddle bags, “berezivnyk”)

Kherson (sorokoklyn), Zaporizhia (oak leaves, oblique rose)

Kherson (never-ending lines), Kubani (stars, Gypsy roads)

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