Monday, April 14, 2014

German stamps in Lithuania

When I write "German Reich stamps in Lithuania", most philatelist probably comes up with Memel related stamps or the occupation issues such as Postgebiet ob Ost. or Ostland. Well, I should say that's the right reaction but that is not all. There were some regular German stamps that have been used in Lithuania under different circumstances. I have mentioned before in this blog that I do collect Soviet stamps but having difficulties because of the criteria of my collection: all non-Lithuania themed stamps must be cancelled in Lithuania. The exact same criteria applies to the regular German Reich stamps as well, which makes again, collecting German stamps very difficult. There are several cases when these stamps were used in Lithuania, I would like list those in chronological order.

1. Pre-Memelgebiet stamp
99% of the regular Reich stamp that has been issued before 1920 could have been used in the Memel region. When I search German stamps in an internet auction, I usually ignore post-1920 Reich stamps up to 1939 to go faster. However, this does not mean that there is absolutely no way to find any postmark of the Memel area on a Reich stamp between 1920 and 1939 (for example, railway postmark Insterburg-Memel used in Tilsit could be on a post-1920 Reich stamp).
Pre-Reich stamps or also called Old German states' stamps were used in Memel region as well but only the stamps of Prussia and the North German Confederation.

Memel postmark of 1886 on a Reich stamp
2. Postgebiet Oberbefehlshaber Ost area
These areas occupied by the Germans during World War I basically used German stamps overprinted "Postgebiet ob. Ost" but in some cases, regular Reich stamps were used mainly by the private postal delivery services. It is very difficult to find. Believe me... 

3. Re-Annexation of Memel region
Nazi Germany re-annexed Memel region on March 1939 and used regular Reich stamps until the Soviet armies took the region in 1945. I would not say "frequently found" but those are relatively easy to find.

4. Ostland
Ostland had its own overprinted stamp but regular Reich stamps were also valid through out the territory. As a result of the mass-production of Ostland stamps, the use of regular Reich stamps were limited. 

Postmark of Schaulen (Šiauliai, Lithuania) on regular Reich stamps
Schaulen postmark used for precancellation or also for parcel

Those were the 4 cases where regular Reich stamps were used in the present territory of Lithuania for postal use. If I'm missing any cases, please feel free to comment on this post. 

Coat of Arms series - 3

 2003 issue is an unusual issue of 5 stamps with the coat of arms of 
Gargždai Kretinga Palanga Papilė and Rietavas

 2004 issue with Mažeikiai Radviliškis and Ukmergė

2005 issue is a dual issue with Druskininkai and Vabalninkas

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Cancellations of Lit.SSR - 09

Плунге/Plungė 1962

Вильнюс-ОПП/Vilnius-PPS Machine Cancellation 1967
It has a nice picture of the village of Likėnai

Алитус/Alytus Machine Cancellation 1971
Advertisement of the Soviet national carrier Aeroflot

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Šiauliai 1966

This is an illustrated Soviet military field post cover sent in 1966 from the post office Шяуляй/Šiauliai 2. The envelope has some nice pictures of Друскининкай / Druskininkai. Most of the field post sent from Šiauliai has a postmark of Šiauliai 4, because this post office was in Zokniai where the biggest military facility in the city, Zokniai military airport (presently used by NATO) was also located. However, Šiauliai 4 has opened sometime at the end of the 1960's so any mail prior to that was posted more from Šiauliai 2, one of the two post offices located in the center of the city.

Monday, April 7, 2014

1968 Opening of the Polish Airline LOT line Warszawa - Wilno - Leningrad

This is an interesting first flight card sent in 1968 from Warszawa/Warsaw, Poland to Vilnius, part of the Soviet Union back then. There is a nice commemorative cancellation with the inscription "Otwarcie Linii Lotniczej PLL LOT Warszawa Wilno Leningrad" meaning: Opening of the flight line PLL LOT Warszawa Wilno (Vilnius) Leningrad (now St. Petersburg, Russia). PLL is "Polskie Linie Lotnicze", the Polish Airline and LOT is the name of that airline.
It seems like the sender sent it from Warszawa to get this special postmark to Vilnius as "poste restante" but for some reason did not pick it up. There is a arrival cancel of Vilnius opp. Lit. SSR and sent back to Warszawa. The sender didn't fill out the returning address where it should have been but the Polish Post have noticed later (that's probably why it is handwritten in red "retour" above the inscription "retour inconnu" which means: return address unknown) and sent back to Racibórz, where the sender live. It must have been such a "trouble maker" card from the postman's view but certainly interesting for us collectors.
Racibórz is a Polish town just few kilometers from the Czech border which also has a very interesting postal history going through Austrian, German, Czech, Polish rule but unfortunately this blog is about Lithuanian philately so I won't discuss it.

Kaunas 1934

Postally speaking, this cover might not be a particularly interesting one but the fact that it has been sent from the Direction Générale des Postes et Télégraphes de Lithuanie (Directorate General of the Post and Telegraph of Lithuania), makes it attractive.  Sent in 1934 from the central post office in Kaunas to the headquarters of the L' Union internationale des télécommunications or in English: International Telecommunication Union (I.T.U.) which has been created in 1865 but since 1947 a part of the United Nations.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Air post 1922

Since I've already posted all the stamps of the Lietuvos Vaikas issues in this blog, there are actually only 4 triangle air post stamps left umposted. So I thought I might wanna post the rest to complete it. There is something about these triangle air post stamps that makes them very attractive... I just can't describe it well.
These stamps were originally intended to be issued for the commemoration of the establishment of the air postal service on the 25th of June 1921 but they were never issued. The incription "Oro pašto įsteigimas" (Air post opening) was modified to "Oro pašto ženklas" (air post stamp) by overprinting the last word. The date 1921 VI 25 (bottom left side of the illustrated airplane) was overprinted by a silhouette of a city skyline. 3 stamps were issued first on July 16 1922 with the value of 1, 3 and 5 Auksinas ("Auksinai" in case of pluriel). Then after the currency denomination, "Litas" replaced "Auksinas" and the one with the overprint "1 Litas" has been issued on October 10 1922.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Raguva 1937

This is a cover sent in 1937 from Raguva, Lithuania to Cicero, IL in the US. Raguva is a small town in Panevėžys county with a population of little over 600. The author of the book writes "Ciecero ILL" in the address but it is most probably Cicero IL. The town's second biggest ethnic minority (after the Hispanics) are the Poles which explains the presence of Lithuanians.