Back of the Book Issues

White Russia

Note - in many cases, clicking on the image may open a larger copy of the image for better inspection.

White Russia - or sometimes called Belorussia - had a series of stamps issued by General Bulak-Balakhovitch in 1920, but there is no evidence of their postal use, and neither is there evidence of them ever being issued to the public.

Scott currently ignores these stamps.  In 1940 they were listed in Stanley Gibbons' catalogue as follows:  WHITE RUSSIA Type 1. Designed by R. Sarinsch and printed at the Latvian State Printing Office, Riga. 1920. Type 1. (a) Imperf. 1) 5k. green; 2) 10k. scarlet; 3) 15k. violet; 4) 50k. blue; 5) 1r. brown. (b) Perf. 11 1/2. 6) 5k. green; 7) 10k. scarlet; 8) 15k. violet; 9) 50k. blue; 10) 1r. brown.  The 15k. varies in many details from the design of Type 1. It is doubtful if these stamps were ever used for postal purposes.  By 1974, Stanley Gibbons' position had changed, thus: WHITE RUSSIA Stamps in the above type, 5, 10, 15, 50k and 1r., both imperf. and perf. were prepared for use by a force raised by Gen. Bulak-Balakhovitch in 1920. We have never seen genuinely used copies and have no evidence of their issue.

Stanley Gibbons refers briefly to them in their section on Civil War issues, and Michel makes a one line reference.

The following information is from the International Encyclopedia of Stamps, vol.6, pp.1964-65, (c.1972) :  An independent Byelorussian state was pronounced in March 1918 by an administration in Minsk known as Rada, but it existed only for nine months until the establishment of the Byelorussian Soviet Republic. The military administration of Rada, known as BNR (Byelorussian National Republic) [This is the inscription at the foot of the stamp] lasted for several decades. The short-lived Rada government in Minsk issued three stamps in 1918. The special section (Asobny-Atrad) [This is the inscription at the top of the stamps] issued five stamps in Riga in 1920 for use by troops under the command of General Bulak-Balachovic in the region of Dzvinsk. Although these stamps were regarded for a long time as private speculations, there is evidence that they were postally used through the assistance of other administrations, including Latvia, which recognized the republic. During the 1971 British postal strike the Association of Byelorussians in Great Britain organized a private postal service and issued its own stamps. It also used some of the 1920 BNR stamps, surcharged ZBVB POST and the value, 10p.

A. Rosselevitch, in the 8th issue of the Journal of the Russian-American Philatelic Club, Nov.1963, described this issue as follows: "A series of stamps of large size (26x33.5 mm.), with the inscription "Absobni Atrad B.N.R." which means: "Special Troop of People's Republic of Belorussia";,, 15k.violet, and 1R.brown, both perf and imperf.  Some of the stamps in this series are found cancelled with a stamp with inscriptions in White Russian language, or with completely fantastic cancellations.  There was a tale spread about these stamps that they were issued by Bulakh-Bulakhovitch in 1919 or 1920 when he appeared in Belorussia after the fall of the NorthWestern Army of Gen.Yudenich.  All these rumours have caused great doubts among collectors but we think is still correct to classify these stamps as private fantasies".

A somewhat different story is told in the Rossica Journal by W.Lesh in an article entitled "Balachovka', the  Asobni Atrad Issue of the B.N.R.".  The activities of Stanislav Nikadzimav Bulak-Balachovic are outlined as he rose through the ranks to Colonel under General Rodzianko, set against a backcloth of the military activities of the White and Red Armies, with the frequently changing front in Belarus, and the corresponding North Western Army and OKSA stamp issues."

None of the catalogs give any valuation information, presumably because they aren't considered "real" stamps.


Here's a composite image of all these stamps in both perforated and imperforated forms.  Click to see a larger image.

This set, MLH, and in very good condition, was offered on eBay and sold for $5 (May 00).

eBay set of both perf and imperf issues, MH, opened for $10 and closed with no bids (May 00).  This auction incorrectly identified them as Western Army issues.

Set of both perf and imperf issues, MH, opened for $10 and sold at that price (Nov 00).

eBay described as :

These beautiful stamps were printed by the Latvian Government Printing Office in Riga for Bulak-Balakhovich. The stamps were to be delivered to Mozyr, for the Belorussian Peoples Republic. The Government was absorbed just as the stamps were delivered. Some devotees of the era claim that legitimate covers exist. These stamps are legitimate and should be considered prepared but not issued or possibly briefly issued. They are not 'bogus' 'cinderellas' or 'White Russia'. The bulk of the printing was sold to dealers so there was no need for forgeries. However, recently the forgery on the right has become common. It is offered perf, imperf, mint and cancelled, in singles and in sheets. The forgery is obvious beside an authentic stamp. It is fuzzy and lacks detail, notably in the leaves on the lower right. This pair is offered as a tool for serious collectors.

Opened at $5 and sold for that price (to me!).  (June 00)



This page last modified on October 12, 2013