Russia - Travel/Philately/Numismatics/Memorabilia Profile

Russia, a country in Northern Eurasia bordered by Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, People’s Republic of China, Mongolia, North Korea, the Arctic Sea, Sea of Okhotsk, and the Bering Strait has a total land area of 6,592,800 square miles and a population of around 142 million. Russia is the behemoth country of the world with a wide range of environments and landforms. Russia has the world's largest  forest reserves, mineral deposits, energy resources, and second largest renewable water reserves. The Russian federation is considered as the phoenix of the Soviet Union. It has high purchasing power, is a recognized nuclear weapons state, and a permanent member of the UN Security Council. It is a massive military power and is the top supplier of arms. It has many great technological achievements to its credit including the first human spaceflight. The major sectors of its economy are natural resources, agriculture, and industry. Oil, natural gas, metals, and timber contribute significantly to its export.

Travel Resources: 

May through September are considered the best times to visit Russia. But for those accustomed to navigating in cold weather, Russia has the infrastructure to accommodate travel during winter. It has numerous World Heritage Sites, biosphere reserves, national parks and nature reserves. Moscow and St. Petersburg are the two major cities that visitors descend upon. Between them the major attractions include the Red Square, Kremlin, Bolshoi Theater, St Basil’s Cathedral,  St. Isaac’s Cathedral, Peterhof, Winter Palace and the Russian Museum. River cruises and countryside tours are very popular and well-developed. Poultry, meat, fish, mushrooms are used extensively in their cuisine. Kvass and vodka are also consumed in large quantities. Dumplings, chicken kiev, and pelmeni are popular dishes. Flavorful stews and soups are also an everyday item given the very cold weather.


ResourceISBN or ASINBest PriceDescription
Lonely Planet Russia Country Guide978-1741047226$20A traveler’s introduction covering 130 pages followed by sections on Moscow, Around Moscow, Golden Ring, St Petersburg, Around St. Petersburg, Western European Russia, Kaliningrad Region, Northern European Russia, Volga Region, The Urals, Russian Caucasus, Western Siberia, Eastern Siberia, and the Russian Far East.
Top 10 St. Petersburg - Eyewitness Top 10 Travel Guides978-0756660406$12Dozens of Top 10 lists provide vital information on each destination, insider tips, etc.
Moscow Eyewitness Travel Guides978-0756660895$16Good introduction to Moscow, ideal for trip planning and preparation.
Russia Travel Map by International Travel Maps978-1553413769$121:6,000,000 Scale. Inset of Moscow at 1:12,500 Scale.
Russia Grounded Adapter Plug – GURB004DRUBP0$8
Other Travel NeedsNAVaries

Philatelic Profile:

The first stamp of Russia was a stamp released on December 10, 1857 in the Coat of Arms theme. The stamp (Scott #1) is very rare and catalogs for around $12.5K unused and around $800 used. That stamp was followed on January 10, 1858 by a set of three stamps in the same theme and design in different double-colors. That set (Scott #2 to #4) is also extremely rare and catalogs for around $9K mint and around $2K used. The coat of arms theme in a few different designs formed the primary stamp issues of Russia until 1883. The stamps released in the interim are all sought after and many of them catalog in the hundreds of dollar range. Russia released a set of eight stamps between 1883 and 1888 showing the Imperial eagle and Post Horns. The set (Scott #31 to #38) catalogs for around $90 mint and around $10 for used. Issues in those themes continued through 1913. Stamps of Russia till this period have serious collector interest and are valued as such.

Russia released a long set of seventeen stamps on January 2, 1913 primarily showing Great Men and Imperial Buildings. The set (Scott #88 to #104) catalogs for around $90 mint and around $50 used. The designs show Peter I, Alexander II, Alexander III, Nicholas II, Catherine II, Nicholas I, Alexander I, Alexis Mikhailovich, Paul I, Elizabeth Petrovna, Michael Feodorovich, The Kremlin, Winter Palace, and Romanov Castle. Russia released a long set of twenty one stamps in April of 1933 in the Peoples of the Soviet Union theme. The set (Scott #489 to #509) catalogs for around $250 MNH and around $35 used. The designs show Kazaks, Lezghians, Tungus, Crimean Tartars, Jews of Birobidzhan, Buryats, Yakuts, Chechens, Abkhas, Georgians, Nientzians, Great Russians, Tadzhiks, Transcaucasians, Turkmen, Ukrainians, Uzbeks, Byelorussians, Koryaks, Bashkirs, and Chuvashes. Russia was the leading constituent of the Soviet Union and became a recognized world superpower following the decisive role it played for the Allied Victory in World War II.

Other issues of Russia enjoying good philatelic interest include:
  1. A set of four stamps released between 1941 and 1942 to mark the fifth anniversary of the Lenin Museum. The set (Scott #852 to #855) catalogs for around $65 MNH and around $25 used. The designs show allegory of Visitors in Lenin Museum and the Museum Building. The October Revolution of 1917 was led by Vladmir Lenin, the Bolshevik leader. He headed the Soviet state during the period from 1917 until his death in 1924.
  2. A set of three stamps and a souvenir sheet released on April 12, 1981 to mark the 20th anniversary of Soviet space flights. The set (Scott #4925 to #4927 and #4928) catalogs for around $7 MNH and around $3 for used. Russia released almost a hundred stamps per year during the forty years between these two sets. Due to the number of issues and the sheer volume, stamps of Russia from around 1945 through the 90s do not catalog high and are of limited collectible value.
  3. A long set of seventeen stamps released in 1992 showing Monuments. The set (Scott #6060 to #6071A) catalogs for around $6 MNH and around $5 used. The designs show Golden Portal of Vladmir, Kremlin, Pskov, Georgy the Victor, Triumph Gate of Moscow, Millennium of Russia by M.O. Mikeshin, Novgorod, St. George slaying the Dragon, Minin-Posharsky Monument of Moscow, Church of Kizki, Monument to Peter the Great at St. Petersburg, St. Basil’s Cathedral of Moscow, Tretyakov Gallery of Moscow, Morosov House of Moscow, St. Isaac’s Cathedral of St. Petersburg, Monument to Yuri Dolgoruky at Moscow, and Kremlin, Moscow. The USSR was dissolved into 15 states in December 1991 – in August 1991, a military coup attempted to overthrow Gorbachev and the failed attempt prompted the collapse and the end of socialist rule. Boris Yeltsin was elected the President of Russia in June 1991 following the first direct presidential election in Russian history.
  4. A set of six stamps and three souvenir sheets released on May 15, 2003 to mark the 300th anniversary of St. Petersburg. The set (Scott #6768 to #6776) catalogs for around $20 MNH and around $10 used. The designs show Anichkov Bridge, Neva River Drawbridge, Vasilievsky Island, Palace Square, Winter Palace, Summer Garden, and Peter I Monument.
Numismatic Profile:

The first coins of Russia were Greek Colonial coins from the 5th century BC. Roman and other coins along with coinage of different principalities dominated the scene until 1547 when Ivan IV unified the coinage of Russia (1 Kopek = 2 Dengi). In the modern era, Standard Coinage (one-fourth Kopek = Polushka, half Kopek = Denga, 50 Kopeks = Poltina, 100 Kopeks = Rouble, 10 Roubles = 1 Imperial) came into being after several reforms in the 18th and early 19th century. The first gold coins were issued under Vladmir I in the late 10th century AD denominated in Zlatnik. Russia has issued a large number of gold coins over the years and they are highly collectible.

Numismatic items of Russia include:


ItemPrice RangeDescription
Coins$1 and upRecent UNC Kopeks starts around $1. Commemorative Silver Proofs from the 1970s onward, 18th Century Copper Dengas in VF, 15th Century Wire Dengas, etc starts around $50. 19th Century Commemorative Silver Coins in High Grade, Certified Silver Rouble Proofs from the 1970s, Uniface Trials from Czarist Russia Government in Exile, Low Mintage Recent Commemorative Silver Proofs, etc go into the 100s. Gold Coins and Proofs, Recent Platinum Commemorative Proofs, 18th century low mintage commemorative silver roubles, etc go well into the 100s and 1000s.
Paper Money$1 and upCommon UNC Roubles from the 1960s onward starts around $1. Early 20th century banknotes in high grades (XF+) starts around $10. Recent Specimen Sets, Large UNC Banknotes from the 1910s, etc starts around $50. UNC Bundles, Uncut sheets from the early 20th century, Early Bundles, etc go well into the 100s.


Collectible Memorabilia:

Dolls in ethnic costumes such as kaftan, kosovorotka and kokoshnik, handicrafts, Matryoshka dolls, bird of happiness, Faberge egg replicas, musical instruments etc., are the common souvenirs of Russia.


ResourcePrice RangeDescription
Art$3 and upPropaganda poster prints, flags etc start around $3. Vintage local scenes prints start around $10. Birch Bark Trinket Boxes, Ex Libris Color Etchings, etc start around $30. Handcarved Traditional Religious Figurines, 19th century costume prints, USSR Peace Posters, and original works by Pronkin, Evdokimov, Ksenia Senkovenko, etc go well into the 100s.
Antiques$10 and up19th century maps start around $10. 19th century Porcelain figurines, Cast Iron Decorations, etc start around $20. Khokhloma Sets, Silver Saltcellars, Silver Vodka Cups, etc go well into the 100s.
Militaria$3 and upOriginal World War Photographs and medals start around $3. WW2 Victory and other commemorative medals start around $25. Red Army Uniforms, Naval Officer Watches, Russian Orders etc go well into the 100s.
Historical Memorabilia$5 and upPolice patches, Space Memorabilia, etc start around $5. Coat of Arms Banners, Political Figure Portraits, etc start around $25. Vintage Space Souvenirs (Sputnik Era), Aluminum Political Figurines, Revolution Posters, etc go into the 100s.

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Last Updated: 12/2015.


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