How to Identify Pre-Revolution Russian Postage Stamps

Written by thomas k. arnold
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Identifying Russian postage stamps made before the 1917 Revolution that toppled Czar Nicholas II can take a little legwork, but there are certain similarities. For example, no Czars were featured on post-Revolution stamps, whereas pre-Revolution stamps routinely featured such celebrated rulers as Catherine the Great, Peter the Great and Alexei Michailowitsch.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Internet Access
  • Stamp tongs
  • Magnifying glass

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Visit eBay and type in "Russian stamps." On any given day there can be as many as 200 old Russian stamps up for bidding, most of them with pictures and fairly decent descriptions. There's a good chance that sooner or later you will find your stamp.

  2. 2

    Visit The Russian Shop (see Resources, below), a website that regularly sells Russian stamps and other collectables from the Imperial Days. See if you can find your stamp there.

  3. 3

    Pick up your stamp with stamp tongs and use a magnifying glass to see all key words on your stamp. Write them down and visit the Foreign Stamp Identifier website (see Resources, below). This lets you identify postage stamps from all over the world by the key words found on the stamps.

  4. 4

    Buy Scott's Stamp Catalog, the 2010 edition, which comes in six volumes and contains pictures, descriptions and pricing information on thousands of stamps. Russian stamps are included in Volume 5.

  5. 5

    Search the Sandafayre Stamp Auctions site (see Resources, below) for Russian stamps. The site specialises in stamp auctions and typically has hundreds of old Russian stamps up for bid at any time. As with eBay and The Russian Shop, use this site as a resource to help identify your own stamps.

Tips and warnings

  • Start with the online references, which are free and easy, before you go out and purchase Scott's stamp catalogue.

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