Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Vilnius 1928

Góra Zamkowa by L. Wysocki (High resolution)

Mickiewicz street (now Gediminas avenue)

semi-postal "na oswiate" 10 gr. + 5 gr.

semi-postal "na oswiate" 20 gr. + 5 gr.

2 nice postcards sent in 1928 from Wilno (now Vilnius, Lithuania) to Bezons, France, now a suburb of Paris. Both postcards have a semi-postal stamp "na oswiate" which was on my wanted list for a long time, I finally got the chance to obtain it with a Wilno cancellation. This semi-postal set has only these 2 stamps so I was lucky to complete it in once. The picture of the first postcard has been taken by a photographer L. Wysocki. I have posted in high resolution because it is a pretty rare picture of the Góra Zamkowa (castle hill).

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Vilnius 1916

Arrival cancel of Bühl in the back of the cover

This is a registered cover sent in 1916 from Wilna (now Vilnius, Lithuania) to Bühl, Baden, Germany during the WWI German occupation. The franked stamps are the Germania stamps with an overprint "Postgebiet Ob. Ost" which I have posted several time already in this blog. They were used not only in Lithuania but part of Belarus, Latvia, Estonia and Podlakie which is a region in the north east corner of Poland. It looks like the sender is the German post office in Vilnius itself, you can see the hand stamped inscription "Deutsches Postamt Wilna" on the back along with the arrival cancellation of Bühl.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Klaipėda 1939

This is a cover sent in 1939 from Memel (now Klaipėda, Lithuania) to Næstved, Denmark. The name  Herlufsholm on the cover sounds like the name of a town or a village but it is actually a famous boarding school in Denmark founded sometime in the 2nd half of 16th century. The stamp used on the cover are a local issue for Memel, overprinted on the Lithuanian stamps similar to the ones issued in Sudetenland with the overprints "Wir Sind Frei". It is very interesting that those stamps were valid to be sent internationally to Denmark which was not yet occupied by the Germans at that time, unlike Memel. Those were recognized as a Lithuanian stamp by the Danish postal authority.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Kaunas 1916

Eisenbahn - Verkehrsamt Kowno /  Kowno Railway administration office
Kowno (Kaunas) 23 April 1916 Feldpost (Field Post)

This is a German military field post (Feldpost) card sent in 1916 from Kowno (now Kaunas, Lithuania) to München/Munich, Germany during WWI. You can find WWI German field post card without postmark time to time but this time I'm lucky, the sender wrote the location and date on the card: "Kowno 23. 4. 16". Usually there is a cachet of the affiliating unit on most of the field post card unless they are out in the field on action. This one is Eisenbahn - Verkehrsamt Kowno which can be translated as Kowno Railway administration office. During WWI, railways were the key strategic infrastructure so they were often run by the occupying military administration.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Vilnius 1941

close up of part of the sheet

I don't usually buy a full sheet of 100 definitive stamps but since I saw a 1941 Vilnius overprint full sheet I thought I might want to keep it. Each MNH stamp has a catalog value of 2.50 Euros according to my copy of Michel so that makes it 250 Euros and I paid 34 Euros which is less than 15%, not that bad I guess... The 5 Kopecks Vilnius overprint is not particularly rare but a full sheet is not so common. Part of the border of the sheet is a bit damaged but all stamps are intact and in perfect MNH condition. The stamp is one the 8 stamps issued on July 6 1941 for the Vilnius district right after the Soviet occupation. When I got this sheet, one terrible ambition came into my mind... "Why not collect all the set in full sheet?" No... but, well... I'm still fighting with myself in my mind. I must admit, sometime it's not easy to be a collector.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Vilnius arrival cancellation 1940

This is a detached forwarding part of a porto free POW round trip double postal stationery sent in 1940 from the Oflag II-C located in Woldenberg (now Dobiegniew, Poland) to Vilnius, Lithuania SSR. Oflag is the abbreviation of the German word "Offizierslager" which was a officers only prisoner of war camp. The sender is obviously a Polish officer (the name Bohdan- is clearly Slavic) writing to his family member in Vilnius. Himself taken prisoner by the German and his homeland occupied by the Russian, it must be devastating. It looks like while he was at war, the address changed from Napoleono (today's S. Daukanto aikštė/square in Vilnius) to J.Vaižganto street. It has a nice arrival cancel of the post office Vilnius 6! The card is stampless because POW were able to send post for free basically when they write on this particular postal stationery. By the way, Oflag II-C Woldenberg had its own stamp with some of it Lithuanian themed design.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Virbalis 1911

TPO Вержболово/Verzhbolovo - С.П.Бург/S.P.Burg (St.Petersburg) 1911

This is a postcard sent in 1911 from Вержболово / Verzhbolovo (now Virbalis, Lithuania) to Berlin, Germany. Virbalis appears in many languages, Wirballen in German, Wierzbołów in Polish, due to its important factor, having a railroad station on the border of 2 powerful nations in the region: the German Reich and the Imperial Russia.
The church in the picture Virbalis Evangelical Lutheran Church was built in 1844 for the German Protestant community in the town. The church has been destroyed during WWII and only the ruin of it remains today. The German community left the town after the war so there are no one left to rebuilt or need this Protestant structure.
The postmark is also nice, it is a 1911 railway postmark between Вержболово / Verzhbolovo and С.П.Бург/S.P.Burg (St.Petersburg).

Friday, February 20, 2015

Klaipėda 1943

Faßt Kohlenklau! (Catch the coal thief!)
That's how the IIIrd Reich coal thief looks like

Sender stays at the Hotel Viktoria in Memel

This is a postal stationery sent in 1943 from Memel (now Klaipėda, Lithuania) to Straßburg (now Strasbourg, France) which was re-annexed by the Third Reich at the time just like Memel was. It has a comical looking anti-coal thief "Faßt Kohlenklau!" campaign logo on the left bottom corner. I guess there were many thieves targeting coal supply during WWII in Germany, otherwise they wouldn't have such campaign, would they?
The sender stayed at the Viktoria Hotel which was a wonderful Jugendstil architecture now unfortunately destroyed. It was named "Victoria Viešbutis/Hotel" during the Lithuanian time but after the Nazi re-annexation, they've changed the spelling to "Viktoria". This hotel at the address Polangenstraße Nr. 5 was originally called "Lipper's Hotel" when it opened back in 1858.

Victoria Hotel during the Lithuanian period (picture from, not mine)

Hotel card of the pre-Lithuanian period (also from