Taras Shevchenko Museum of Canada
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Museum Building

Taras H. Shevchenko
Museum & Memorial
Park Foundation

1614 Bloor St. West
Toronto, Ontario
M6P 1A7
Tel: 416-534-8662
Fax: 416-535-1063

 


The founder of modern Ukrainian literature as a writer of stirring poetry and prose, an artist, and an outspoken critic of social and national oppression, Shevchenko has been honored philatelically throughout the world.



Shevchenko's painting "Kateryna" was depicted on a stamp issued on November 15, 1979

At present this collection consist of 72 pages of stamps, covers (envelopes), and commemorative postal cancellations. It begins with a 1921 stamp, (the first with a Shevchenko portrait?), printed in Vienna for the then Ukrainian National Republic (UNR). Five pages are devoted to this period and four pages to Reestablished Ukraine.

One of the most popular topics among Ukraine collectors, if not the all-time favorite, is Taras Shevchenko. The beloved poet and artist has been granted many laudatory titles over the years. He was not a leader or a legislator, but nevertheless led the way in forging the path to eventual Ukrainian nationhood. It would not be a far-fetched statement to say that without Shevchenko we would not have an independent Ukraine today.

Picture Picture Picture  

The largest number of Shevchenko stamps was issued during the Soviet times. Included are stamps and covers marking the 125th and 150th anniversaries of his birth and the centenary of his death. A series was devoted to Shevchenko monuments, including statues and buildings. Other sets were devoted to his portraits and Shevchenko the poet and the artist. And, except for a few of the earliest issues, all in glorious colour.

One would expect Shevchenko to be depicted on modern Ukrainian stamps and he has appeared on five issues so far. Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia and Austria have also honoured Shevchenko with stamp issues, but, would you believe Paraguay?

The story behind Paraguay's Shevchenko issue is a bit bizarre. The Ukrainian diaspora in Argentina raised the funds necessary to erect a Shevchenko monument in Buenos Aires in 1971. It was felt that a stamp commemorating the special event would be appropriate and one was designed. However, try as they might, Ukrainian representatives couldn't get the Argentine postal authorities to agree to a stamp release. Incredibly, postal officials in neighboring Paraguay were persuaded to produce a lovely airmail souvenir sheet (a stamp surrounded by a large commemorative margin) showing not only a Shevchenko portrait, but part of the new monument in Argentina. By coincidence, Ukraine's most recent Shevchenko stamp depicts the same monument.

Neither the U.S. nor Canada have ever printed a Shevchenko stamp. Concerted write-in efforts in the early 1960s - coinciding with the 150th anniversary of the poet's birth or the centennial of his death - proved unsuccessful. However, many commemorative postal cancellations have been produced over the years.

Collecting Shevchenko memorabilia is not limited to just stamps. The Soviet Union issued dozens of commemorative envelopes showing the poet or monuments or buildings named after him. They also issued a commemorative coin featuring Shevchenko. Present-day Ukraine has continued these practices. Other collectors try to obtain used envelopes (called covers) showing cancellations from the dozens of towns in Ukraine or former Soviet Union named Shevchenko, Shevchenkove, Shevchenkivka, etc. So, you can see, there is much that can be added to a Shevchenko collection.

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Of course, it's always better to see the real thing. Philately collectors, and all who are interested, are always welcome to view the Shevchenko Museum collection at 1614 Bloor Street West, phone 416-534-8662 for further information.

How to reach us.




Prints of Taras Shevchenko's watercolours are available at the Shevchenko Museum. These quality prints would be an excellent gift for Shevchenko art lovers. more...
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Collection of Ukrainian handicrafts and folk art
First Ukrainian Immigration to Canada
Shevchenko Stamp Collection
Quick Facts on Shevchenko Biography
Resources
Become a Donor


The son of a serf, Shevchenko became not only an artist and academician of Saint-Petersburg Academy of Art, but one of the most versatile people of 19th century. His paintings and graphics reflect a refined world that did not resemble his own life...(more)

 


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Since Feb 25th 2005