Saturday, April 27, 2013

Švenčionėliai 1916

This is a German military field post (Feldpost) card sent in 1916 from Novo Svenziany (Švenčionėliai, Lithuania) to Chateau Salins in Lothringen, Germany (now Lorraine, France). Švenčionėliai was nothing more than couple of houses until the Tsarist authority built a railroad linking Vilnius and Saint Petersburg. The present Švenčionėliai station was build for the town of Švenčionys but because of the distance of 10 Km, a small sub-town started to grow around the station which eventually became "Novo Svenziany", the New Švenčionys.

From what I can see here, it looks like the picture was taken at the intersection of Priestočio g. and Švenčionių g looking to the west. It seems like "Svenziany Str." hasn't changed the name and Priestočio g. is more like a square rather a street like you see on the picture.

You certainly won't see this sign in present Švenčionėliai:
"Horse wagon, do not stop here"

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Lyduvėnai 1915

Königlich Preußische Reserve Eisenbahn-Bau Compagnie No.5

Lidowiany 14.12.15

This is a German military field post card sent in 1915 from Lidowiany (now Lyduvėnai, Lithuania) to Berlin, Germany. The picture on the card is actually not Lidowiany but Rossienie (now Raseiniai, Lithuania), showing the local German military commander's headquaters (Lyduvėnai is part of Raseiniai district). There is no postmark on the card but fortunately, the author of the card wrote the date and location: Lidowiany 14.12.15 and there is also the seal of his unit: KGL. PR. RES. EISENB. - BAU-COMPAGNIE No.5 which is the abbreviation for "Königlich Preußische Reserve Eisenbahn-Bau Compagnie", a military unit in charge of railroad construction, and No.5 was located in Lyduvėnai from 1915 to 1916. Their mission was to build a huge wooden railway bridge over Dubysa river to link Tauragė and Radviliškis by railway. The bridge was completed in 1916 and it was one of the biggest wooden bridge in Europe. Due to strategic importance, the Germans rebuilt the bridge in steel in 1918. Today's Lyduvėnai Bridge (Lyduvėnų tiltas in Lithuanian) is the 1951 reconstruction and it is the longest and the highest of all bridges in Lithuania. The Lithuanian post issued a commemorative stamp of this bridge in October 2012. See in the link here.

Wooden bridge of Lyduvėnai 1915-1916 which the
 author of the card took part of the construction
(source:, not mine)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

French stamps used in Memel - 2 "Type Merson"

Michel No.30

I have talked about the 2 types of French stamps used in Memel in this blog before in the article "Type Semeuse". Today I would like to talk about "Type Merson". Why is it called so? Well, it's simple, it is written so on the stamp itself. This is one of details that lot of collectors who is not familiar with French stamps seem to ignore. To tell you the truth, I was one of them, I have never really collected French stamps and I didn't know about this inscription on the stamp for a long time. Luc Olivier Merson was according to Wikipedia, a French painter and illustrator. His paintings are well known in France but his designs of French stamps and banknotes are also famous.

Type Merson stamps were "heavily" used in Memel. The French administration never issued a definitive stamp probably due to the hyper inflation that hit most of the German influenced area in Europe at that time. The stamps were often re-used after being overprinted, particularly this Type Merson because of the size which was bigger than other Memel stamps. Some of them were overprinted over 3 times!

Overprinted over an overprinted stamp!
These 3 stamps Michel No.65, 120 and 166 are a good example. They first overprinted "Memel 1 Mark 25" on a 60 centimes French stamp then re-used it for 80 Mark stamp. The following year (1923), the Lithuanian administration that took over also used it to issue the bottom stamp on the picture. The "Memel 1 Mark 25" stamp (Michel 65) was also used in 2 separate occasions in the last 2 issues of the air post stamps. Mr. Luc Olivier Merson died in 1920 and never got see them. I wonder what he would think of this...

Monday, April 22, 2013

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The 16th Vilnius Kaziukas Fair in Poznań 2009

This is a commemorative card of the XVI Kaziuk Wileński w Poznaniu (16th Vilnius Kaziukas Fair in Poznań, Poland) held on 8 March 2009. Kaziuk is the Polish name for the traditional fair of Vilnius, Lithuania called Kaziuko mugė. Large number of Polish speaking population in Vilnius have moved to Poland as part of the Post-war population replacement orchestrated by the Soviet authority. Largest part went to Gdańsk and Poznań, which is the sites of the 2 biggest Kaziuko mugė held in Poland today by the former residents of the Vilnius region and their descendants. Besides Poland, there are several places outside of Lithuania celebrating Kaziuko mugė, Grodno, Belarus and Daugavpils, Latvia are the most known ones. However, outside of the former Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Kaziuko mugė is not celebrated (both Grodno and Daugavpils were once an important part of the Grand Duchy).
The cancellation is commemorating the 20th anniversary of Towarzystwo Miłośników Wilna i ziemi Wileńskiej (Friendship society of Vilnius and Vilnius region) on the occasion of the 16th Vilnius Kaziuk.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Panevėžys 1916

This is a postcard sent in 1916 from the Field post (Feldpost) station No. 216 located in Poniewiecz (now Panevėžys, Lithuania). I get the feeling that everytime I see a WW1 postcard of Panevėžys, the name is spelled differently. In my last post of Panevėžys postcard, it was written "Ponnewesch" (posted on January 21, 2013), in other posts either "Poniewiesz" or "Poniewiez". The German Postgebiet Ob. Ost postal authority used the spelling "Poniewiez" in their postmark but why is it that there were so many version in these German postcards? I haven't found the answer on the internet but to me it seems obvious. The "ż" sound in the Polish spelling of "Poniewież" ("ž" in Lithuanian, "ж" in Russian) was simply unavailable in German language so they couldn't spell it properly anyway since they weren't really an official name in German (During WW2, they finally gave a German name "Ponewesch").
Now let's go back to the postcard. The church on the postcard is called the Holly Trinity church (Švč. Trejybės bažnyčia in Lithuanian) which is still standing nowdays but looking a bit different. The 3 typical Russian Orthodox oval tower can be seen but the presently, it is replaced by a single Catholic looking sharp bell tower. It is amazing how the tiny single bell tower can totally change the impression of the church. According to the Lithuanian version of Wikipedia, the Germans used this church complex for a P.O.W. (prisoner of war) camp. What you see on the picture of this postcard is probably that.
There is a hole look-a-like damage on this postcard. I thought it was somehow burnt but I've actually tried myself to burn a piece of carton paper with a lighter several times. It is surprisingly difficult to make the hole as small as this postcard and moreover, when using a fire, the carbonized black part around the hole becomes much wider than it is here. Could it possibly be a part of a gun hole?? Unfortunately, I have no way to prove it...

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Rusnė 1921

This is a registered cover sent in 1921 from Ruß/Russ (now Rusnė, Lithuania) to Gelsenkirchen, Germany. It is interesting that there is a German military censorship even  after the war, we see the hand stamped violet inscription "M.P.k." (Militärische Postkontrolle in Königsberg / Military post control).
As usual, I have looked the destination address: Oststr. 40, Gelsenkirchen and had no problem pin-pointing it on Google map in 5 seconds. But the fact that it was even too easy to find out, made me suspicious... What if the present Oststraße in Gelsenkirchen wasn't Oststraße back in 1921? And I was right this time. According the map of Gelsenkirchen made in 1928, Oststraße runs through the present Magdeburger straße! Germany, like Japan, went through a massive place name changes after WW2, anything relating to a ruler that contributed to a territorial gain or a military victory in the past was heavily omitted depending on the places. You can see on the 1928 map of Gelsenkirchen bellow the changes that has been made, for example Königgrätzer straße is gone, probably due to the battle of Königgrätz (now Hradec Králové, Czech Republic, decisive battle of the Austro-Prussian War in 1866 which ended with a overwhelming Prussian victory).

2013 Gelsenkirchen Google map and 1928 Gelsenkirchen map

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Vilnius 1928

Hand stamped inscription "Opłata ryczałtowa" (Flat rate)

This is a stampless cover sent in 1928 from Wilno 1 (now Vilnius, Lithuania) to Lwów (now Львів/Lviv, Ukraine). The sender is the Sekretarjat of Uniwersytet Stefana Batorego (Stephan Bathory University) which is the name given to the present Vilnius University between 1919 and 1939. The hand stamped inscription on the upper right corner of the cover "Opłata ryczałtowa" is telling us that it is a flat rate. I guess in our modern time, most of the post offices would simply state "Port Payé" or "Taxe Perçue" in French or the equivalent of "Postage paid" in their language of origin, and not give much detailed information (not even in modern Poland) like we see on this cover. This particular inscription even tells you that the Post of Telephone and Telegraph had acquired the right to do so, article number and article issued date. I do not have detail information about the flat rate system at that time but the Polish Post seemed to offer such service for inland mails to selected companies and institutions. Both Wilno and Lwów were part of Poland when this cover was sent.
On the back, there is a nice seal of Uniwersytet Stefana Batorego, Wilno, which adds an extra attraction to this cover.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Vilnius 1940

Today I would like to present you an item that belongs to Nick, a philatelist from UK who is a reader of this blog and interested in postal history of Vilnius. Wow... a postcard sent in 1940 from the Soviet occupied Vilnius 10 to Warschau (German name for Warszawa) in German occupied Poland! and in addition, it is registered. Such a nice cover!! You must see his neatly presented sheet with a commentary much more interesting than mine.

Right click and open a new tab or window to have a better look!

Nick has been collecting stamps of the Baltic Republics which became the origin of his interest in Vilnius. He also has his own outstanding blog presenting the postal history of Somerset, a county in south west England: It is very NEATLY done and worth taking a look. (Nick, thank you for your kind permission to post on this blog!)

In contrast to his, my presentation of my collection looks like a joke... Perhaps, I should start to think about putting in a more presentable way. The question is, do I have such good taste? hm...

My collection stocked in photo album bought in "Billa" a supermarket nearby 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Cancellations of the First Republic - 02

Here are some of my recent acquisitions of postmarks from the First Lithuanian Republic.

Laižuva P.A. (Pašto agentūra/Post agent) 1921. Not in the best condition but how can I pass Laižuva P.A. 1921? Nooo way! 

Virbalis 1925 

Saugai 1929. Recently I give much attention to those former Memelgebiet towns. German name: Saugen 

Šakiai 1931 

Railway post Klaipėda-Kybartai 193? Possibly, The longest route in Lithuania.

Definitely not so common Vilnius 10! I was lucky for this one. Postmark date: 26.3.1940

Friday, April 5, 2013

Trakai 2011

This is a FDC of one of the 2 stamps of the church series issued in 2011. The church on the stamp is the Church of the Visitation of Saint Mary/Švč. Mergelės Marijos Apsilankymo bažnyčia in Trakai, originally build in 1409 by Vytautas the Great. The basic gothic features of the building itself are still preserved but the exterior has been redecorated in Baroque style. You can also see the church on the lower left picture of the postcard. Nice arrival cancellation of Vilnius 38 which is Naujininkai.