HOW THE FIRST "BE A HERO" MILITARY STAMP WAS CREATED!

[03.08.2020 13:12:22]

Among the exhibits of the new temporary exhibition "Victory Signs" prepared by the Russian money museum of JSC Goznak are postage stamps dedicated to the Great Patriotic War. It will be possible to see them - and other exhibits - as soon as the restrictions on non-state museums are lifted.
In pre-war years the Soviet philately was on the rise. Stamp collecting was in trend and supported by the state in every way, stamps were issued in large circulation and used as a means of propaganda.
"Soviet stamps of the pre-war era did not foreshadow explosions, deaths, destruction, or national grief. They "lived" the usual peaceful life: "worked", "engaged in physical education and sports", "rested", "strengthened the defense of the country," writes philatelist Alexei Sukharev.
With the outbreak of war, the stylistics of stamps had changed. During the war, more than 150 types of stamps were issued by order of the People's Commissariat of Communication.
In August 1941, Goznak printed the first military postage stamp. The 30 kopek red stamp with the scene of mother's farewell to her son going to the front and the inscription: "Be a hero!" became a real symbol of the fight against German invaders.
When designing this stamp, the photo poster "Be a Hero!" issued by the Art Publishing House a week after the beginning of the war, by the famous Soviet poster graphic artist Viktor Koretsky, was used. The artist recalled that during his visit to the play "Mother" based on the novel by Maxim Gorky he was shocked by the scene of Nilovna's farewell to Pavel. It was these impressions that formed the basis of the plot of the poster. Statists were invited to pose; the "role" of the son, who said goodbye to his mother, was performed by soldiers of the Moscow garrison.
Today it is not known exactly who painted the postal miniature: was it Viktor Koretsky himself, the artist of Goznak Ivan Dubasov or "the author's team of Goznak".  Unlike the poster, the Red Army man looks at the miniature not at his mother, but in the distance. Only one stroke has been changed, and we already see not the scene of farewell, but the moment when a warrior is ready to go without delay, to defend his Motherland.
Specialists notice a number of inaccuracies in the picture. On the head of a soldier going to the front, an old-style helmet. It is known that in the early days of the war soldiers were provided with new helmets, produced in 1939-1940. In addition, despite the hot weather, which stood in the summer of 1941, the Red Army soldier dressed in a overcoat, which, in theory, he was supposed to carry with him in a clothing roll, worn over his shoulder. But another characteristic detail of that time is fixed on the stamp - the Red Army soldier is armed with Mosin rifle of 1891/1930 model.
Despite its large circulation, the brand is considered relatively rare among philatelists. According to one version, the warehouse, where the circulation of stamps was stored, was bombed, on the other - due to the sharply increased volume of correspondence, these stamps quickly disappeared from sale, on the third - a significant part of the circulation was sent for sale in the post offices of those regions of our country, which subsequently found themselves in the zone of German occupation. Other postage stamps were introduced in the occupied territories, and the Soviet ones were most likely destroyed.
The rarity of these stamps in letters is also explained by the fact that correspondence between the front and the rear (which constituted the majority of correspondence in those years) had to be delivered free of charge and, accordingly, did not require the purchase of stamps.
The exhibition "Victory Signs" in the House of Stock Capital presents a trial sheet of stamps "Be a Hero!" without perforation and signed by the chief artist Goznak I. I. Dubasov.