Ukrainian Philatelic and Numismatic Society

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Heorhiy Narbut Prize

Ukraine's Flower Definitives Voted Best for 2007 Narbut Prize

Definitive stamps never get selected as the best stamps of the year in annual popularity contests, do they?

Well, in Ukraine’s case, they do. The way Marka Ukrainy – Ukraine’s stamp production firm – succeeded in pulling off such an unlikely scenario was to assemble the beautiful flower stamps of its previous two definitive series onto one very attractive souvenir sheet.

S606-609The official name of the souvenir sheet was the “Fifth and Sixth Definitive Stamp Issues of Ukraine, 2001-2006,”. The left side of the sheet featured the alphabet definitives issued by Ukraine beginning in 2001, while the right side showed the numeral values released between 2002 and 2006. This eye-catching release received some 9.5% of the votes cast for the Narbut Prize, awarded annually for the best-designed Ukrainian stamp(s) or souvenir sheet of the previous year.

Except for the two “P” (Cyrillic “R” for “Registration”) stamps in the middle of the upper row, all of the stamps highlighted national flowers or other blossoming plants especially beloved in Ukraine. While each of the stamps on the sheet featured the Ukrainian trident emblem, the “P” stamps displayed the trident especially prominently in front of an azure sky over a golden field of grain, the blue-over-gold motif mimicked the colors that make up the Ukrainian flag.

In all, 15 different plants may be identified on the souvenir sheet. They are: hollyhocks (“B” and 10 k[opiok]), marigolds (“Д” and 30 k.), sunflower (“E”), lilac (“C”), pansies (“N”), guilder-rose (“Ж”), sweetbrier (“L”), wheat ears and daisies (“Є”), periwinkle (5 k.), nasturtium (25 k.), cornflowers (45 k.), sweet pea (65 k.), white water lilies (70 k.), and poppies (1.00 [hryvnia]).

A total of 30,000 souvenir sheets were produced, among them 400 imperforate copies (as shown in Figure A) for participants of the 10th National Philatelic Exhibition, held last year from 6-10 October in the city of Lviv. The imperforate sheets immediately became some of the scarcest items of modern Ukrainian philately.

The designer of the Fifth and Sixth Definitive Issues over the past several years has been Oleksandr Kalmykov who will receive the bulk of the Narbut Prize honorarium as well as a certificate and medal. Svitlana Bondar, the souvenir sheet designer, will receive a smaller monetary award.

Runners Up

2006lvivSeveral other issues also did very well in garnering votes in this year’s competition. As it turned out, only a few votes separated the 2nd through 4th places. The runner up issue (receiving a little over 8.5%) was another souvenir sheet, this one honoring the “750th Anniversary of the founding of the city of Lviv.” The sheet reproduced a copper engraving from the Lviv Historic Museum, showing a view of the city at the beginning of the 17th century. Over the years the city has gone by various names, depending on who controlled it. Under the Poles it was referred to as Lwow, the Austrians called it Lemberg, internationally, it frequently received the Latin appellation Leopolis, as shown on the engraving. In Soviet times, it was given the Russian designation of Lvov; today, it once more goes by Lviv, the original designation, given to it by the city’s founder King Danylo (Daniel) who named it for his son Lev (Leo).

2006ukraineaustriaReceiving just about 8% of the votes was another issue honoring Lviv, this time a joint issue with Austria. This release too honored the landmark 750th anniversary, but this time showed a painting of “Ferdinand Square” in the city as it appeared in 1840, about halfway through the Austrian administration. (Lviv (Lemberg) was part of the Austrian Empire from 1772 to 1918.) This high-value 3.5-hryvni stamp was prepared in sheets of 10 with a central strip of labels depicting significant objects from the city. From top to bottom these items are: the city seal, ceremonial chain of the mayor of the city, ceremonial pillow, linden tree branch symbolizing the city, and historic city keys.

2006militaryIn fourth place with just under 8% of the vote, was the fifth installment of the ongoing “Military History of Ukraine” series. The four 70 k. stamps depicted scenes from the Cossack era (16th-18th centuries). The Cossacks were independent-minded adventurers who fled to the sparsely settled Ukrainian steppes to practice various trades and live a life free of Polish or Turkish domination. Over time, their strength grew, and in the mid-17th century, an independent Cossack Hetmanate state was formed that was to last for more than a century. This entity would serve as the basis for subsequent Ukrainian national aspirations, which would culminate in independence during the 20th century.

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