Ukrainian Wheat Farmer
The first stamps of the newly independent nation of Ukraine were issued on July 18, 1918. This “Shahy Issue” was printed without perforations and shipped to post offices in sheets of 100. Antin Sereda designed the 20 shahy brown stamp in a Slavic version of turn-of-the-
century Art Nouveau style. The central element features a farmer carrying a scythe, and thrust into the band of his work hat are two stalks of wheat. Wheat farming was and still is the national occupation and Ukraine, which has long been the bread basket of Europe. Completing the central element is the trident symbol emblematic of the Ukrainian republic. The symbol was adopted by the rulers of medieval Kyivan Rus' of the 10th-11th centuries, and has been the national symbol when the nation was formed in 1918 and again in 1992.
Inexpensive stamps are not usually forged, but counterfeits of the Shahy Issue are often found in collections and dealers' stocks. Genuine stamps were printed on thin, white paper, but forgeries are on thin, rather shiny, light brown, semi-transparent paper, almost resembling glassine paper or thin waxed paper. Design details can also differentiate genuine from counterfeit stamps. In forgeries of the 20s the elongated mustache tapers downward and touches the shading of the jaw line, but bona fide stamps show a distinct white space between a curled-up mustache & jaw shading lines. The collaged stamp used here is a forgery.
This print is dedicated to Marina Voltchenok, born in Russia and my first native Russian friend.
Image Size: 4" x 5"
Paper Size: 9.5" x 13"
Paper Type: Kitakata brown
Edition Size: 50
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