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

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Šiauliai 1941

Soviet stamp franked on the back of the card

This is a detached answer part of a Soviet round trip double postal stationery cancelled in 1941 in Šiauliai / Шяуляй. The forwarding part was probably sent from somewhere in the Soviet Union but I guess for some reason, the receiver decided to make an philatelic item out of it. The date is sometime in February 1941 but the day is unclear. The interesting part is that there is a Soviet stamp franked on the plain back of the card, cancelled by the same postmark as the one on the front.
Šiauliai was occupied by the Soviet in 1940 until the Germans entered the city on June 26 1941.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Vilnius 1910

This is a beautiful postcard of Троки / Troki (now Trakai, Lithuania) sent in 1910 from the post office Вильна Вокзаль / Vilna Vokzal (Vilnius railway station) to Рига / Riga. The picture is so beautiful that it makes you think of an artistic modern photography. Trakai castle was and still is a popular day trip site for tourists and Vilnius residents as well. The postmarks are interesting, the right one is a perfin cancel of Vilnius station, the middle one is a regular cancel of the same post office and the left one is a machine arrival cancel of Riga.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Vilnius 1921

This is a postally unused postcard cancelled in 1921 in Wilno (now Vilnius), Litwa Środkowa / Central Lithuania. The postcard is published in Munich, Germany, probably targeting the market of German population during the WWI occupation. The Republic of Litwa Środkowa / Central Lithuania is a funny state that has never been recognized internationally, created by the 1st Lithuanian–Belarusian Infantry Division led by General Lucjan Żeligowski who believe or not, supposedly acted against the will of Warsaw by invading Vilnius region on its own. The fact that the head of the state is a military General and called it a "Republic" sounds like a joke too. But history can be ironic. If the Poles did not push away Soviet Russia from the region, would the Lithuanians have been able to keep their republic during the entire interwar period? I know the "if" in history is ultimately useless but it is certainly a question to ask before labeling the Poles as the "bad guys". What do you think?

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Vilnius arrival cancellation 1915

This is a Russian military field post card sent in 1915 from Митава / Mitava (now Jelgava, Latvia) to Вильна / Vilna (now Vilnius). The arrival postmark is the Russian main field post-office in Вильна/Vilna. ПОЛЕВ. ГЛАВН. ПОЧТ. КОНТ. /Polev. glavn. pocht. kont. is literally "Field main post counter". This post office seemed to be operated in Vilnius from 1914 to 1915 until the German took the city during WWI. There are plenty of documents and literature available in English about WWI German military post but very few about the Russians. I wish I knew more about it.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Šilutė 1920

This is a cover sent in 1920 from Heydekrug (now Šilutė, Lithuania), Memelgebiet to Hamburg, Germany. Germania overprinted stamps of Memelgebiet may not have extremely high catalog value but somehow it is not that easy to find on used covers. It is probably because it is hidden by many collectors. In both Michel and Scott, these Germania overprints are listed first but actually they are not. The French Semeuse overprints were issued on July 7th 1920 while these Germanias were issued on August 1st.  I imagine they did it so it would look more logical in a historical perspective going on the order of the administrators of the land.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Šiauliai 1973

Unfortunately postally unused but still interesting set of postcards of Šiauliai during the Soviet rule. Published by Mintis in Vilnius in 1973.

K. Didžiulis Polytechnic school

Station square

Central bus station

by the lake Talša
All descriptions are according to the information on the back of the postacard.

Cancellations of Lit.SSR - 09 Soviet Occupation 1941

Here is a brighter close up of the Таураге/Tauragė postmark

Going through boxes of thousands of cheap stamps, you don't expect that much normally.  But here is  my lucky day and I would like to show you! Low quality damaged commemorative stamps of Soviet Union without much catalog value. What's so lucky about it? Well it's the postmark (as usual of course). The left stamp has a postmark of Таураге / Tauragė and right one, Укмерге / Ukmergė dated 1941, which means it's the first Soviet annexation before the German invasion in 1941. The postmarks of regional Lithuanian towns during this period are scarce comparing to Latvian SSR or Estonian SSR.