Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Šilutė 1944

This is a P.O.W. postage free luftpost / airmail cover sent in 1944 from Heydekrug (now Šilutė, Lithuania) to Camp Ellis in New York, NY in the U.S. Heydekrug / Šilutė is known to be the location of the only major POW camp in Memelland but it is just coincidence, this card has nothing to do with the POW camp in Heydekrug. It is a cover sent from a family member of the German officer held as a prisoner in Ellis island in New York. It has traces of the censorship by both authorities, American and German. The returning address is written as the post office of Tennetal, Kreis Heydekrug. Tennetal was called Ramutten but renamed by the Nazi authotiry on May 1st 1939 until the end of the WWII. Today it is called Ramučiai. 

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Recent Acquisitions

Since I have accidentally found a full sheet of a 1941 Vilnius overprinted issue couple of months back, I have been putting more attention to the 1941 issues in general. Here are some I have acquired the last few months.

I have been focusing mainly on blocks since I couldn't find any full sheet at a reasonable price. I also found some nice used Nepriklausoma issue, all of them with a C.T.O. of Šiauliai except the grey blue 10 Kopecks which has a Kaunas Centr. postmark on it. Al last, also got an extra copy of the 80 Kopecks Vilnius issue, not in perfect condition and hinged but with a very attractive price of 25 Euros.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Nida 1942

Postmark of Nidden (Ostpr) / (East Prussia)

This is a lovely postcard of a moose sent in 1942 from Nidden (now Nida, Lithuania) to I think... Lublin (or is it Berlin?). I guess I've posted a postcard of a moose sent from Memel before on this blog but here we go again! I really don't know why there are so many moose in this region, it was even the symbol of the city Tilsit with the famous statue of a moose which you see sometime on old postcards. Not only it has a very neat postmark but I've found it with a price of 5 euros so I just couldn't resist from buying it.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Klaipėda 1940

It is a very nice looking German commemorative postal stationery cancelled in 1940 in Memel (now Klaipėda, Lithuania). The postmark is also a commemorative one, both for the occasion of the day of the postage stamp of January 7th 1940. The card has an old good German classic design which makes you almost forget that it has been issued under the Nazi regime.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Vilnius 1926

Aušros Vartai / Ostrabrama / Gate of the Dawn

This is a postcard sent in 1926 from Wilno (now Vilnius. Lithuania) during the Polish rule to Argentan in the department of Orne in France. The church in the picture is the Church of the Holy Spirit / Šventosios Dvasios bažnyčia which belongs to the Dominican monastery in Vilnius. There is a hand stamped letter "T" in the back which is the abbreviation for Taxe Perçue in French meaning postage paid, this is because the postage stamp has been franked on the other side. The fact that the postcard has been sent from the post office Wilno 2 but the sender's return address is in Oszmiany (now Ашмяны / Ashmiany, Belarus) is interesting. The illustration on the brown one grosz stamp is the Gate of Dawn / Aušros Vartai in Vilnius also known as Ostrabrama in Polish.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Kupiškis 1911

This is an answer part of an Imperial Russian round trip double postal stationery sent in 1911 from Купишки / Kupishki (now Kupiškis, Lithuania),  Ков (Kovna gubernia) to ПоневѢж / Ponevezh (now Panevėžys, Lithuania). The text on the back is Jewish but the interesting part is that on the top, there is a name and an address in Chicago, US. I don't know if the sender is writing to this person or it is the sender himself since I can't read Jewish at all. Kupiškis appears in lot of prewar Jewish documents because they apparently had a large community there.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Sejny 1919

Seinai (now Sejny, Poland) 16 May 1919

While collecting stamps for years, I'm pretty sure you have experienced a "what I thought it is, actually, wasn't" phenomena at least once. Well, it just happened to me so I thought I would post about it. This is a Lithuania classic stamp, to be precise, a Michel 14. I thought the postmark on it was an early example of Raseiniai postmark, for some reason labeling it so without much thinking. Recently, I was just going through my collection and one particular Raseiniai cancel on an air post stamp caught my eye. Why? well, I thought the size of the letter on the postmark is slightly smaller than the one on my Michel 14. So I took them our and compared, and wow wow wow! it wasn't "slightly" but pretty obvious!

Isn't it possible that 1919 Raseiniai cancel is bigger than the 1924's one? Maybe everybody knows it because it is mentioned in LPS journal and I'm the only one in the world not knowing about it... Or maybe some kind of previously not known Raseiniai cancel? I thought it would be wise to check on Lithuanian before arming my fantasies with Icarus's wings.

1919 Raseiniai and Seinai cancels taken from Lithuanian

Looking further at my Michel 14 I have noticed that the space between the letter "S" and the previous one is way too wide. So I've looked with the possibility of the letter S being the first letter in my mind as well. Lithuanian is really the best site earth can provide when it comes to 1919-1923 Lithuanian postmarks and they once again proved it to me. My Michel 14 is clearly not Raseiniai but it turns out to be Seinai. When compering their 1919 Raseiniai and Seinai cancels, you can see that if you draw up and parallel line at the left edge of the number "9" of the date, the Raseiniai one does not touch the letter "N" but the Seinai one touches big time and so does my Michel 14. So it is Seinai! This was another lesson that you should not label something without much doubt.

Seinai is actually not in present Lithuania. Now it it called Sejny and belongs to Poland. According Lithuania Philately (yes, again), Sejny had a branch of Postgebiet ob. Ost during WWI and later, a Lithuanian post office for little less than 8 months but not consecutively. The Lithuanian postmarker was supplied in early May 1919 so it matches the postmark on my Michel 14 as well.

A military Field Post card sent from Sejny in 1916 during the WWI German occupation
For further postal history of Seinai, look at the article on Lithuanian Philately: Seinai 1919-1920

Here is a modern Polish FDC cancelled in Sejny with a stamp of the Madonna of Sejny. The church on the cover is St. Mary basilica, a part of the huge castle looking former Dominican monastery where the statue is preserved. I have visited once the town and found the little town very charming, specially the central square filled with bunch of Baroque buildings. I very much recommend it!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Vilnius 1915

This is a postcard sent in 1915 from Вильно/Vilno (now Vilnius, Lithuania) to... somewhere in Russia, I'm not really sure. The picture is a nice panorama of Vilnius during the reign of Russia, most probably taken from the top of the bell tower of the university towards the direction of the present hill of the crosses. The postmark is the oval railway post Вильно Вокзаль / Vilno vokzal (Vilno railway station). It is very interesting that some of the Russian cancels show Вильно/Vilno, the Polish name of the city, but there are also Вильна / Vilna in Russian.