Belarus - Travel/Philately/Numismatics/Memorabilia Profile


Belarus is a small land-locked country in Eastern Europe bounded by Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia. The country of Belarus has a total land area of just over 80,000 square miles and a population of around 9.7 million. The landscape is very flat and it has 11,000 lakes and. Ethnicity from neighboring countries dominated the area of present day Belarus until the early 20th century.  Belarus has two national languages – Russian and Belarusian. After World War II, Byelorussian (Soviet Belarus) became a major manufacturing center. Even today, Russia is the major trading partner of Belarus accounting for more than 50% of the trade. Belarus has a very respectable GDP (ppp) of around $12,000 – the economy is Soviet-style with a majority of the population working for state enterprises.

Travel Resources:

May through September is the best time to visit Belarus. The popular city is the capital city of Minsk. Architectural beauties from early times grace many parts of the country. With over 80% population being Orthodox Christians it is little wonder that some of them are beautiful churches and cathedrals. Some of the early bibles of Eastern Europe were printed in Belarus. As for its culture Belarusans appreciate it so much that it can rightfully be said that their country is shaped by it. Numerous musicals, art events, theatrical performances and cinema festivals are held year-round for all to enjoy. The traditional dinner is two course – soup and a main course which is predominantly meat and local vegetables.


ResourceISBN or ASINBest PriceDescription
Belarus Bradt Travel Guide978-1841622071$19Introduction followed by coverage of major cities with detailed maps.
Belarus – Culture Smart!: the essential guide to customs and culture978-1857334722 $10Excellent sections on land and culture, values and attitudes, festivals and customs, entertainment, travel, business, and communicating. Focused on Minsk, the capital city.
The Reconstruction of Nations: Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus, 1569-1999 by Yale University Press978-0300105865$172003 Eastern Review and George Louis Beer Prize Winner is one of the best books to understanding Eastern European history.
Belarus Travel Map978-1553411307 $101:600,000 scale. Road and rail networks along with main tourist sites are marked.
Belarus Plug AdapterB00205C2XG $14


Philatelic Profile:

Belarus, a small land-locked country in Eastern Europe bounded by Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia with a total land area of just over 80,155 square miles and a population of just under 9.7 million. About 80% of the Belarusian population today are orthodox Christians. Belarus started issuing stamps in 1992 following independence and have issued over 600 stamps in less than twenty years. Most of the stamps have very affordable catalog values making it possible for a collector with limited resources to acquire a complete set of all Belarusian stamps ever issued.

The first stamp of Belarus depict the Cross of Ephrosinia of Polotsk (Scott #1), a Belarusian national heritage symbol and was released on March 20, l992. The stamp is readily available for a few cents. It has a striking Red background with the golden-double-cross in the middle and is denominated 1r. An overprint of this stamp and a new souvenir sheet in the same design denominated 5r was released on September 25, 1992 to mark the thousandth anniversary of the orthodox church in Belarus. The overprint (Scott #17) and the souvenir sheet (Scott #18) are also affordable fetching less than a dollar. Other significant issues include. 1500r surcharge with overprints “World Cup/USA 94” (in Russian) of the souvenir sheet presumably (status unclear) released in 1993 exist and they catalog for around $13 MNH or used:
  1. A short arms set of four stamps issued 1992-94 (Scott #11-14) in four arms designs and denominations (2r, 25r, 700r, 700r). The set catalogs for less than $2 for MNH or used.
  2. The national symbols set of two stamps (Scott #15-16) also released in 1992 in two different designs (National Arms, map and flag) denominated at 5r. The set catalogs for about a dollar for MNH or used. The set was reissued in two denominations using an overprint “World Cup/USA 94” (in Russian). There are four such stamps with the only difference among the two designs being the position of the overprints. The set of four stamps (Scott #61-64) catalogs for around $30 MNH or used. Forgeries of the overprints exist and so collectors have to be careful.
  3. The traditional costumes set of three stamps (Scott #114 to #116) released on July 13, 1995. The beautiful set in three denominations (180r, 600r, 1200r) show the following: a) 180r – woman and man in traditional costumes, b) 600r – woman and man in traditional winter costumes, and c) 1200r – woman holding a child and man wearing vest and knickers . The set is very affordable at around a dollar for MNH or used.
  4. The farm tractors set of four stamps (Scott #226 to #229) and a souvenir sheet released on October 16, 1997 in four denominations (3300r, 4400r, 7500r, 7500r). The set catalogs for around $7 MNH or used while the souvenir sheet fetches double that. The designs depict different models of tractors manufactured in Belarus starting with the first wheeled tractor (4400r) . Heavy machinery, especially farm tractors and other heavy transport equipments (specialty trucks) form the biggest exports from Belarus and there are several other sets in this theme – the dump trucks set of 1998 (Scott #235 to #239), the quarry truck models set of 1998 (Scott #259 to #263) , the military trucks set of 1999 (Scott #295 to #299 including SS), and others. All these sets catalog for less than $5 MNH or used but form a great collecting theme for Belarus stamps.
Numismatic Profile:

The first coins of Belarus were Rouble denominated Commemorative Copper-Nickel issues of 1996. Belarusian issues generally have low mintage in the 1000s and are not used in commerce. As such, they enjoy good numismatic interest and catalog upwards of $25. The first Belarusian currency was replaced by the Second Ruble in 2000 (1 new ruble = 1000 old rublei). Other numismatic items of Belarus include:


ItemPrice RangeDescription
Coins$15 and upProofs from the 2000s start around $15. Gold proofs from the 1990s start in the 100s and can go into the 1000s depending on troy ounce – they generally fetch a good premium over bullion value.
Paper Money$1 and upUNC Rublei’s from the 1990s start around $1. Bundles and Second Ruble Notes in UNC start around $10. First Rublei denominations over 1M start around $20.


Collectible Memorabilia:

Art, antiques and war memorabilia are the popular collectibles from the region. However tourist tend to gravitate towards straw art, and music related objects.


ResourcePrice RangeDescription
Antiques$25 and Up19th century maps and other historical documents along with musical instruments such as harp form the major items.
Art$40 and UpEx libris etching by known artists can fetch a much higher premium.
Militaria$10 and UpCommunist era plaques, medals and other memorabilia.


Last Updated: 12/2015. 
 

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