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Collectible sheets

The 30th anniversary produced four stamps showing portraits of Gagarin and these were reproduced in several formats including souvenir sheets and mini sheets presumably issued for the collector. Each one of the quartet had a 25 kopek value featuring brownish coloured line drawings of Gagarin (SG 6238-6241).

A change of policy meant there were then only intermittent issues for Cosmonautics Day and in fact no stamp at all was issued for the 35th anniversary, though some covers with illustrated cachets and cancels were produced. The stamps on the cover (issued two years before) shown are related to Gagarin as they all celebrate the activities of The Gagarin Flight Training Centre in Zvezdny Gorodok. Subjects include Moscow, centrifuge, underwater and MIR simulation training. It also includes a smiling portrait of Gagarin printed onto the cover.

The most recent Russian stamp issued for Gagarin came as part of a series about 20th Century Achievements which also shows Sputnik and An American Moon Landing scene, The acknowledgement of the American lunar achievement makes this a most unusual stamp — this was only the second time that the Soviet Union, or Russia, has alluded in a stamp to a purely American success in space. This montage issue was launched in 1998.

This article merely touches on a considerable thematic topic about Yuri Gagarin and this year there will no doubt be many more stamps issued on April 12 to celebrate this momentous occasion and the man who was the centre of it all. The only sad point is he isn’t here to share his achievement with its all.

By Jeff Dugdale

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