Friday, March 29, 2013

Žemaitkiemis 1929

This is a registered cover sent 1929 from Žemaitkiemiai to Königsberg i. Pr. (in Preußen), now Калининград / Kaliningrad, Russia. The registration label has an error, the first letter "Z" of Žemaitkiemiai is printed in the opposite side. You might be wondering why I write "Žemaitkiemis" as the title when the cover shown is from Žemaitkiemiai. . Well this Žemaitkiemiai is a little confusing actually... The town has changed it's name from "Žemaitkiemiai" to "Žemaitkiemis". I can't tell you when this happened, I simply can't find any source of information. In addition to that, there are at least 3 more "Žemaitkiemis" in modern Lithuania. To which Žemaitkiemis does it correspond??

Now let's take a look at the sender's address on the back of the cover. Lapallen b (bei) / Szameitkehmen, Kreis Heydekrug, Memelgebiet. Ah... Kreis Heydekrug! Heydekrug is now Šilutė, Lithuania so it should on Šilutė district on the modern Lithuanian map, but... I found 2 "Žemaitkiemis" in the same district. Aii... Now, looking on the old map of Memelgebiet, in deed, there are 2 "Szameitkehmen". One on the south west of Heydekrug, and the other on the north of Heydekrug.

But thank god, actually the sender's address is Lappallen bei Szameitkehmen, this determines which is the Szameitkehmen in question. Great! and now I know that Lappallen is now Lapaliai, Lithuania too. The question remains, how do other philatelists know which Szameitkehmen had a post office during Memelgebiet period? Just the one near Lappallen or both towns had one? All philatelic resources I have about Memelgebiet don't mention about the existence of 2 Szameitkehmen. Both town seems to be right next to the railway track which gives both town a similar characteristics. But it looks like the one near Lappallen belonged to kreis Heydekrug and the other to kreis Pogegen (kreis Tilsit before WW1) back at that time. The fact that the Lithuanian postmark of Žemaitkiemiai I have uploaded doesn't seem to mention any extra information, it is likely to indicate that there was only one Žemaitkiemiai at that time since when there are 2 towns with the same name, very often they added the name of the district like Russ (Elsass) and Russ (Ostpr.) for example. But this doesn't confirm 100% the fact that there weren't 2 post offices named "Žemaitkiemiai" during the Memelgebiet period. My research continues...

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Kaunas 2008

To be honest, I find pretty refreshing to see a modern postcard on this blog. I think I should do this once in a while. Well, this is a FDC postcard sent in 2008 from Kaunas to Vilnius with a nice stamp commemorating the 75th anniversary of Darius & Girėnas's flight cancelled with a first day postmark. Darius & Girėnas are the Lithuanian version of the Wright brothers, who successfully flew from New York to Europe across the Atlantic ocean in 1933. However, they couldn't make it to Kaunas due to an accident somewhere in Poland. You can see their plane "Lituanica" on both stamp and postmark. If you ever have a chance to visit Lithuania, these 2 guys are pretty hard to miss, not only they are on the 10 Litas banknote but literally everywhere in any form, for example street names, school names, memorials or even in some restaurant menu like "D&G steak" or "Cocktail Lituanica", not to mention that they are a major "stamgast" topic of the trans-atlantic airmail covers.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Klaipėda 1922

A business cover sent in 1922 from Memel (now Klaipėda, Lithuania) to Chemnitz, Germany. O. Saint-Paul, Memel Bau- Nutz- und Brennholzhandlung, it sounds like a company that deals with wood related construction material. My German sucks so I can't tell you more... Memel district was already detached from the rest of Germany at that time but the postal rate was counted as inland rate.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Memel Air post - Third issue 1922

This is the third and the last issue of Memel air post stamp. A set of 10 stamps in total with no duplication of the stamp's face value. The Lithuanian administration never issued any air post stamp for Memel therefore this third set was the last air post set. 3 sets with a total of 29 stamps (7+12+10) make an easy goal for collectors.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Memel Air post - Second issue 1922

The second set of Memel air post stamps was issued on 12 May 1922. 12 stamps in total were issued with again, 2 stamps with the same denomination but this time "3 Mark". You can differentiate by the font used for the over printed word "MEMEL". They are clearly different.

Memel Air post - First issue 1921

The first set of Memel air post stamps was issued on July 1921. 7 stamps in total were issued with 2 stamps with the same denomination of 60 pfennig. You can differentiate by the first letter "P" of the overprinted word "Pfennig", one is printed with a capital letter and the other isn't.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Vilnius 1920

This is one of the greatest find I had in a pile of "1 CZK per stamp" (CZK = Czech Crown = 0.05 USD). Not only the stamp itself is not extraordinary, but it is in a pretty bad shape with the color fading away. So what makes it a great find? It's the postmark! 11 September 1920. I really wish I had a cover from this period. The history of Vilnius in 1920 is pretty complicated. Soviet-Lithuanian Treaty was signed on 12 July 1920 which ended the Soviets to fight on a double front in the region and to concentrate solely on Poland. The Soviets left Vilnius for the Lithuanians after a heavy defeat in Warsaw against the Poles. This means that the postmark's date 11 September 1920 was only 2 months after the recovery of Vilnius. But this Lithuanian possession did not last long since on 9 October 1920 the Polish forces re-took Vilnius and proclaimed the Republic of Central Lithuania which later lead to the annexation that lasted until 1939 on the eve of WW2. Therefore, the presence of Lithuanian postal authority in Vilnius in 1920 lasted only 3 months. Pretty good for 1 crown, isn't it?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Rokiškis 1941

A set of 7 stamps were issued on the 30th of June 1941 in Rokiškis. They were hand overprinted on Soviet stamps with 2 kinds of colors, black and red, with the inscription "Laisvas 1941 - VI - 27 Rokiškis". The Germans entered Rokiškis on 28 June, the Lithuanian fully regained the town the previous day from the retreating Soviet army. Later, the German postal authority rename the town Rokischken.

The variety of overprints are pretty complicated, Michel lists the basic 3 (I, II and III) with each having varieties of at least 5 types. I'm trying to collect all of them but... it wasn't as easy as I thought. I'm still trying though...

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Vilnius 1943

This is a registered cover sent in 1943 from Wilna (now Vilnius, Lithuania) to Berlin during the WW2 German occupation period. The nice thing about this cover is that it uses all 18 stamps of the first Ostland overprint set issued in 4 November 1941.