first issues > countries > russia


Friday, January 1, 1858

Europe 14, 14a

  See also South Russia  

xxx Russia Scott #1 xxx

Imperforate, watermark 166 (colorless numerals), typographed.

Description # printed # issued Scott # SG Mi Y&T
Imperforate. January 1, 1858
10 kopecks brown & blue
3 million 3 million 1 1    
Perforated 14½, 15. January 10, 1858
10 kopecks brown & blue
? ? 2 2    
20 kopecks blue & orange
? ? 3 3    
30 kopecks carmine & green
? ? 4 4    

Issue quantities are approximate.

On November 12, 1857, The Tsar signed giving approval for the design of the first stamps. The French literature and Scotts list the printing date of 10 December 1857. The German use 23 December 1857.

Postal circular #3 was disseminated by the Postal Department on 10 December 1857; in it, it was announced that postage stamps for general use would be issued for prepayment of private correspondence. The Circular ordered the Postal Estasblishments to begin sale of the stamps immediately upon receipt of the Circular, but the usage of the stamps was permitted to begin in European Russia no earlier than January 1, 1858. Approximately 10,510 of the first Russian stamps were sold in between 10-22 December 1857, and at several places they were used immediately on mail, i.e., in the same month.

The same circular called for denominations of 10-, 20, and 30-kop. to be issued perforate on 1 January 1858. However, the perforating machine to do this, which was ordered from Vienna, arrived late in St. Petersburg and was not properly working. So, to meet the deadline, another 3 million imperforate stamps were issued. The Russians got the machine working and the first issue of all three denominations perforated commenced within the first 10 days of January 1858.

Thank you to Gary Combs of The Rossica Society of Russian Philately for the informative text.

This page has been extended in the rewrite.

First RSFSR stamp
First USSR stamp
Russian Federation
1918 Sc149 SG187 1923 Sc242 SG325 1991 Sc6056 SG6311

The first issue was made under the tsars and Russia provides stylish examples of administration changes with the first stamps for the Russian Socialist Federal Soviet Republic (1918) and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic (1923). There were, of course, many more issues at the break up of the USSR in the 1990s: these are dealt with separately in the Breakup of the USSR.

Sources: ScS, SGP10.

Images from David Olson, NB.

FI ref: 69, 747 Page credit: JA/NB

Page created 19 Feb 2014 Page updated 26 Jun 2016