Following the ratification of Ukraine's independence on December 1, 1991; Government authorities were faced with the monumental task of creating a new postal service. One of the first challenges for the new Ukrainian state was to issue its own postage stamps.
Soviet stamps initially remained valid for postage until the end of 1992. During this time, postal rates began to increase sharply due to rising inflation and a declining economy. Large quantity of Soviet postal stationery were overprinted with a variety of surcharges. As an emergency measure, Ukrainian postal authorities set into circulation provisional issues.
The first Ukrainian stamp was issued on March 1, 1992. It was printed in Moscow and had a very small print-run. Although the early commemoratives were distributed nationally, they were used infrequently because of their low face-value.
Unsatisfied with the prospect of having all Ukrainian stamps printed in Moscow, Ukrainian postal authorities entered into agreements with various foreign countries. By early 1996; Ukraine was able to print all its own commemorative issues. From the beginning, there were numerous problems. There was very poor qulity control in the printing of the stamps. Over time, these problems have seem to have disappeared. Today, we can see the high quality of workmanship in the design and printing of commemorative stamps.
One of the unique feature of Ukrainian philately is the issuance of definitive issues. Instead of having a denominational value assigned to a stamp, there is a letter of the alphabet. Each letter has a specific purpose and its value is either based on legislation or the value of the American dollar. This system was used to deal with escalating inflation and changing postal rates.
Ukrainians continue to use postal stationery for the vast majority of their postal needs. As a result, there is a small number of stamps issued for any particular occasion when compared to North American or Western European standards.
Over the last 10 years, Ukraine has issued close to 400 stamps. Their subject matter has been varied. It is our intent to explain to you the various stamps issued. From time to time, we will try to explain the importance of a stamp to Ukrainian's social and cultural history.