'Snake Island' stamp picturing Ukrainian soldier flipping off Russian ship sells out, with individual stamps reselling for $100 each

  • A limited-edition stamp commemorating Ukrainian resistance has officially sold out in person, officials said.

  • The seal features a Ukrainian special forces fighter raising his middle finger to Russian forces.

  • The Russian warship pictured on the stamp sank earlier this month.

The commemorative postal stamp memorializing a now-iconic moment of Ukrainian resistance earlier this year has sold out in person after scores of Ukrainians waited in hours-long lines to snatch up the limited-edition seal.

The stamp, which features a Ukrainian special forces fighter defiantly raising his middle finger to a Russian warship, has quickly become a collector's item among Ukrainians and their supporters.

On Wednesday, Igor Smelyansky, Ukraine's postal service director, confirmed the scarcity in a Facebook post, saying the country had sold nearly 700,000 stamps since the project was announced in early March.

In the past week, Ukrainians have formed long lines, often waiting hours to purchase the $1.77 and $1.83 iterations of the stamp. The stamps have also become apparent money-makers, according to The New York Times, re-selling for up to $100 each on eBay.

In his Facebook post, Smelyansky thanked the "tens of thousands of people" in Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities who came out to buy the stamp.

The national postal service released a set of one million stamps, which commemorate the early-invasion incident in which Ukrainian border guards on Zmiinyi (Snake) Island reportedly told Russian troops to "Go fuck yourselves," after being asked to surrender.

The 13 Ukrainian soldiers were initially thought to be dead after the incident but had actually been captured by Russia. They have since been released in a prisoner swap.

The Russian vessel involved in the episode, which is featured in the background of the stamp, sank earlier this month after being hit by Ukrainian Neptune missiles, one day after the stamps officially went on sale.

Smelyansky told The Guardian that he thought up the idea of a commemorative stamp early on in the war. The country's postal service agency then held a vote to choose one of 20 finalist designs evoking the Snake Island incident, which has become a symbolic moment of Ukrainian resistance amid the war.

In his Wednesday Facebook post, Smelyansky said no more stamps would be printed in order to maintain the item's value. He asked hopeful collectors not to line up at 5 a.m. on Thursday morning "because there will be no stamps."

Smelyansky did say that he had reserved stamps for 1,500 people who were in line on Wednesday but unable to finish their purchase, and promised an additional 100,000 stamps would be made available to buy online starting Friday.

The Ukrainian government said on Twitter that a set of stamps and envelopes signed by both Smelyansky and Roman Gribov, the Snake Island soldier who spoke directly to the Russian attackers, would be auctioned online on Friday.

Natalii Tkachenko, a Ukrainian woman, told The Guardian that she was lucky enough to buy the stamps on the first day they were released.

"It's a symbol, a message. It reflects our inner patriotism," she said. "I was born here. I live in this country. They want to destroy us. I'm not going to surrender."

Read the original article on Business Insider