The flight of Yuri Alexeevich Gagarin on April 12, 1961 is probably the most vivid and complex subject in Soviet/Russian astrophilately. Thousands of stamps and covers have been dedicated to the First in space all over the world. There is even a special term in Russian – Philatelic Gagariniana – collecting Gagarin related philatelic material. I will not write anything on the topic – there are books and many articles by respectable collectors and researches that cover the subject thoroughly. By default I do not collect varieties of paper or stamps but possibly colors of cancellations. A lot stuff is missing due to loose focus - dealing with other topics, but I am adding covers to all areas including this one. I do not pretend on any full or partial coverage and not willing to build any exhibit, just showing what I have…
80th anniversary of Saratov flying school official postmark
2014 - 80th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin
1991 - 30th anniversary of 1st space flight
1996 - 35th anniversary of 1st space flight
1971 - 10th anniversary of 1st space flight
1976 - 15th anniversary of 1st space flight
1981 - 20th anniversary of 1st space flight
There is an interesting story behind Vinnitsa pictorial machine cancellation for 20th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin flight. Boris Vainer, known soviet collector and dealer who lived in Vinnitsa, prepared a special cancellation and arranged it to be used in the post office machine to postmark the covers. Many covers received this “private machine cancellation” and as a result there was an outburst and succeeding trial for interfering soviet postal system. Vainer was not jailed but his life got much complicated and in early 90s he left to Israel. Boris Vainer was also known for collecting postal cancellation devices and used them to create backdated “rarities” like 4.10.1957 Sputnik covers.
This is much less than perfect serviced cover, although have a good "cosmonautics" presentation with red Planetarium stamp.
2016 - 55th anniversary of 1st space flight
2016 marked a 55th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's flight, that triggered a major astrophilately event in Russia. Twelve and a half thousand full sheets of 2009 Gagarin stamps were overprinted (total 125,000 stamps).
Special postmarks were issued for seven cities and towns, Moscow got two. Additional three alternative postmarks were used in Baikonur, Gagarin, Smolensk and on boad ISS. Moscow Planetarium held special cancellation ceremony on April 11. Several types of official cards and covers were issued plus numerous private designs.
Due to the small amount of available overprinted stamps many covers got only the clean 2009 values instead of the new ones. As far as I know the full sheets were sold only to the members of the Russian Philatelic Society and then appeared on the market for the much higher prices. Some regions did not get the stamps at all, so to get the covers with 55 years of Gagarin flights cancellations over new stamps proved to be a tricky business (at least for me). As usual many fakes appeared, featuring various anomalies like double overprints etc.
2011 - 50th anniversary of 1st space flight
private design cover signed by the Russian crew of Soyuz TMA-21 "Yuri Gagarin" - Aleksandr Samokutyaev and Andrey Borisenko