Monday, November 30, 2015

Mažeikiai-Riga Railway post 1912

Муравьево / Muravjevo (now Mažeikiai, Lithuania) - Riga

Альт-Ауц / Alt-Autz (today Auce, Latvia)

This is an Imperial Russian postal stationery with a railway post cancel of 1912, line 86 between Муравьево / Muravjevo (now Mažeikiai, Lithuania) and Riga which was also a part of Russia at that time. The destination of the card is Альт-Ауц / Alt-Autz, a German place name spelled in Russian alphabet. It sounds a bit weird but it was perfectly normal because the gubernia of Kurland was German speaking despite being part of the Russian Empire. The town  of Альт-Ауц / Alt-Autz is today simply called Auce, part of Latvia, just 5 km from the Lithuanian border and 25 km north east of Mažeikiai. I had been curious if "Neu-Autz" exists. If "Alt-" does, why not the "Neu-", and yes! it does actually. Wikipedia tells me it is Jaunauce which is literally the "New Auce", located just 4 km west of Auce.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Klaipėda 1941

Close up of the picture part

This is a real nice postal stationery featuring an image of Memel (now Klaipėda, Lithuania) issued in 1941 as a part of a big series of beautiful places in the Third Reich. Memel is described as the northernmost city of Greater Germany in the text. It just makes me wonder where is the present northernmost city of Germany...
From my opinion, it would have been a perfect card if there wasn't the head of Hitler on the corner... Well, it's history, what can I do...

Friday, November 27, 2015

Kaunas 1941

This super ordinary looking simple postcard is actually a pretty rare stuff. This is a postcard sent in August 31st 1941 from Kauen, Ostland (now Kaunas, Lithuania) to a unreadable location. The card is stampless, no indication of any kind that it is a military field post and no sign nor trace of any stamp being soaked. Actually, this is exactly how it supposed to be. According to "Deutsche Dienstpost 1939-1945 Handbuch und Stempelkatalog" written by Dr. H. Schultz, The post office of Deutsche Dienstpost Ostland in Kaunas opened in 26 July 1941, banned the use of the Lithuanian overprinted Nepriklausoma issue (at least in Kaunas) and established their own postal network. The German Reich stamps were introduced in September 1941 and finally at November 4th 1941, they have issued the overprinted Ostland Hitler stamps. The postcard in question has been used during this very short stampless period between 26 July and 1 September.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Ukmergė 1943

Arrival cancel Freiburg (Breisgau) 1 on the back of the cover

This is a registered cover sent in 1943 from Ukmergė, Ostland to Freiburg i. Br. (im Breisgau), Germany. The German Dienstpost Ostland actually used the name Wilkomir and not Ukmergė but the regular post office kept using the old postmarker of the First Rupublic as you can see on this cover. The sender also puts his address as Ukmergė but the registration label provided by the Dienstpost states Wilkomir. Interesting... You can see that the sender is Lithuanian from his name and therefore, wasn't able to use the postal service of the Dienstpost since it was reserved to the German nationals.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Kudirkos Naumiestis 1941

Wow... I mean, this was a pure coincidence that I did bump up to such Soviet stamps. Who would expect to see a 1941 Kudirkos Naumiestis postmark on a Soviet definitive, just like that... More over, the date is June 22nd 1941, day one of the Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of Soviet Union. Kudirkos Naumiestis was located near to the German border at that time so probably by the end of the day, the entire city was on the German hands which means that it is also the final day of the first Soviet Annexation of Lithuania and their postal service as well of course. It seems like they weren't using CCCP postmark but the old "Naumiestis Trg." postmarker from the first Lithuanian Republic which was pretty common in regional towns at that time. The stamps still have gum on the back which suggests that it is a CTO. I have once read an article about a German Dienstpost Ostland post office worker in Tallinn, Estonia, cancelling stamps with CTO on the last minute before closing down the post office in 1944 when Soviet troops were about to reach the city. I don't know about Kudirkos Naumiestis but I can believe if something similar happened there as well.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Zarasai 1963 - Valentina Tereshkova

This is a maximum card of a Russian astronaut Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova (Валентина Владимировна Терешкова) cancelled in Zarasai, Lithuania S.S.R. in 1963 which is also the year this stamp has been issued. I have seen many maximum cards but most of them are cancelled in Vilnius or Kaunas so I was a bit surprised to see a Zarasai one. According to Wikipedia, Valentina  Tereshkova was the first female ever to have flown in space. But why a Zarasai postmark? I don't know...

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Kaunas 1941

Bilingual Ramygala / Рамигала arrival cancel

This is a postal stationery sent in 1941 from Kaunas to Ramygala, Lithuanian SSR. This card has much clearer postmarks than the previous one and the best part, is the Soviet Ramygala arrival cancel! I think I have written before but 1940-41 Soviet postmark of small Lithuanian towns are pretty hard to find. Again, on the back there is a Hebrew text which I have absolutely no idea what is it written about.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Krekenava 1941

Krekenava 1941?

This is a postal stationery sent most probably in 1941 from Krekenava to Ramygala, both a small Lithuanian town. Actually I'm not 100% sure about the year since the postmark is not that clear. The name of the place is obvious, the readable KREKEN- on the postmark with the address Krekenava written by the sender on the bottom. The date is III (March) 19-forty something. The first Soviet annexation of Lithuania is after June 1940 so it excludes the year 1940. The postal rate of 20 kopecks for a inland postcard is valid until 1948 so it should be sometime before that. Again I'm not 100 % sure but the use of the postmarker of the old Lithuanian First Republic is likely to be during the the first annexation between 1940 and 1941. Another reason why I think it is 1941 is that I have acquired another similar postal stationery sent in 1941 to the same recipient, which I'll be posting soon as well.

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!