Soviet Union (mostly Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine), ca. 1920–1933. Various sizes, roughly from 2 × 2 to 5 × 5 cm, with numerous larger stamps and pieces of ephemera. Printed on various colored paper stock and other materials, including two badges on raised rounded cardboard. Overall very good.
A striking group of commemorative and poster stamps, as well as related ephemera intended to raise funds and promote various political causes during the early period of the Soviet Union. Also known as charity stamps, such stamps featured appealing designs and were used by groups such as the German communist movement or the Republican faction in the Spanish Civil War. Of the present group, twenty-five stamps were issued by various branches of MOPR, the International Red Aid organization founded in 1922 by the Communist International, as well as other related workers' aid organizations active in the Soviet republics. Of these, four larger stamps, printed on variously colored stock, show a prisoner and a worker with a hammer shaking hands through bars, and feature the caption “Let us help the victims of capital in Western Ukraine.” Others promise support to striking miners in England or victims of “White Terror.”
Another large group of stamps were used to raise funds for Soviet defense industry under the slogan “Krepim oboronu” (Let us fortify our defenses), including two stamps in support of the Red Navy printed in Gomel, Belarus. A further group are stamps sold to fund the literacy effort in the Soviet Union. A round stamp advertises the "Week of the Book" in October 1924, with a book pictured against a red star, and several pieces were apparently sold by Soviet literacy campaigners to raise money for primers. Four stamps were issued to raise funds for victims of the 1921 Volga and Ural famine.
While some of the stamps, particularly those issued by MOPR, were crudely produced, others are interesting examples of early Soviet graphic design, including constructivist motifs, and the group captures a wide range of graphic strategies in miniature format, as well as serving as a catalog of specific pre-war Soviet political causes.
Book ID: 52825