Ukrainian Philatelic and Numismatic Society

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Heorhiy Narbut Prize

A Feast for the Eyes for 2006 Narbut Prize

This year’s voters for the Narbut Prize chose their favorite not only with their eyes, but also with their stomachs. The winner was the 2005 Europa theme of gastronomy, and Ukraine’s se-tenant depiction of its delicious beet soup – borshch. (Note, the Ukrainian pronunciation differs slightly from the borscht designation that one frequently encounters.)

The design on the two-stamp set depicts a colorful table spread: a bowl of the beet soup on the left (2.61 hryven value) and a covered, decorated serving dish on the right (3.52 hryven value). Spread before both dishes are the myriad ingredients that go into creating a borshch. Helping to unite both stamps is the red-embroidered tablecloth, which underlies the entire scene.

S596In addition to the 200,000 se-tenant pairs of stamps that were printed, 15,000 booklets (each with two pairs of stamps) were also prepared. It is on the selvage of the booklets that the ingredients for a typical Ukrainian borshch are listed. They are: pork, red beets, cabbage, haricot (kidney beans), potatoes, carrots, parsley, onion, lard, garlic, tomatoes, red peppers, spices, dill, salt, and sour cream.

In reality, there are dozens of ways that borshch can be prepared, and meat or meat broth is not even a requirement (although it can add considerably to the flavor). The ingredient that is common to all recipes, and which imparts the characteristic color, is the red beets. Once cooked, borshch can be served hot or cold.

The designer of the gastronomy stamps is Svitlana Bondar, who based her work on a photograph of Oleksandr Kostiuchenko. They will receive Narbut Prize awards and share the $250 honorarium with a third person, Maria Heiko, who also participated in this issue by designing the Europa booklet.

Other Major Vote Getters

S618Once again this year, a record number of votes was received in the Narbut Prize balloting. The "Borshch" stamps were preferred by almost 12% of the participants in the voting. The next three issues selected were very closely bunched. Finishing in second place with 8% of the vote was a release from the ongoing Treasures of Ukrainian Museums series. This issue featured two of the priceless paintings from the National Museum in Lviv, flanking a label showing the façade of the museum. The left stamp depicts an early 14th century icon of the Archangel Michael by an unknown artist, while the portrait on the right is that of a “Dalmatian Woman” painted by Teophil Kopystynski in 1872.

S573In third place, garnering just under 8% of the ballots, was Ukraine’s first commemorative stamp of 2005, which honored the “Orange Revolution” of November-December 2004. This stamp was quickly prepared and released in January 2005 upon the inauguration of President Yushchenko. Originally, this stamp looked like it might take the Narbut Prize, but disillusionment with the president, one of the heroes of the Orange Revolution, set in over the subsequent year or so and likely a fair number of voters deliberately chose to overlook this issue.

Fourth place was claimed by another Treasures of Ukrainian Museums se-tenant set of stamps, this time honoring the National Landscape Gallery of Ivan Aivazovsky in Crimea. Aivazovsky specialized in seascapes, and two of his paintings on stamps flank a photo label showing the front of the gallery and a statue of the artist.

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The left painting from 1853 is entitled “Sea at Koktebel”; the other, “The Tower on the Rock Near the Bosporus,” dates from 1859. This release claimed 7.5% of the ballots.

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