Stamp Information, Images, and Values
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Tuva is located in the Tannu mountains on the Siberian border in northwestern Mongolia, in the basin of the Upper Yenisei river. It is about 250 miles west southwest of Irkutsk and Lake Baikal. Check it out on this map.
Originally known as Uriankhai, it was under Mongol rule from the 13th through to the 18th century. In 1757 it became part of the Chinese empire, remaining as such through 1911. After the Chinese Revolution, Russia encouraged a separatist movement and in 1914 it became a Russian protectorate.
It then became Russia's turn to have a revolution, and the Chinese "returned the favor" and during the Russian civil war it repossessed the area. However, once the Civil War was resolved, the Chinese were driven out once more, and on 9 September, 1921, Russia recognised Tuva's independence. The People's Republic of Tannu Tuva was duly proclaimed in 1924.
Prior to 1926, Russian stamps were used in Tuva. In 1934, they changed their currency, and instead of using the Russian ruble, they switched instead to their own currency, the "Tugrik", with 100 kopeeks still being the subunit that made up one tugrik. In 1936 they changed the name again to Aksha (still 100 kopeeks).
Postal usage of stamps issued up through 1933 is well known and accepted. Scott declines to list stamps after that date, making a simple comment "Various pictorial sets, perf and imperf, of triangular, diamond, square and oblong shapes, inscribed "Postage", "Airmail", and "Registered" appeared in 1934 and 1935. Stanley Gibbons indicates that these pictorial issues did see some usage in Tuva, but most of the covers were posted from Moscow, using duplicate Tuvan cancellers.
On 13 October 1944 Tuva was formally annexed into and incorporated within the Soviet Union and considered as an autonomous district of the RSFSR. In 1961 its status was elevated to being an autonomous republic.
Since the breakup of the Soviet Union, Tuva has remained a part of Russia. Tuva printed some of its own stamps in 1994-5 (the last of the eleven sets showing a 1996 date) but they were never issued because the Russian Federation refused to grant Tuva postal independence. Other bogus issues also exist.
Scott lists Tuva under the name Tannu Tuva separately in the appropriate volume of its catalog (alas, these days not the same volume as contains Russia!). Stanley Gibbons has a separate section, as apparently does Michel, too (but I can't find it in their East European catalog - probably it is in a different regional volume).
This page last modified on October 12, 2013