Printed on German WWI Military Maps…
First Stamps Issued by Latvia
Own scarce WWI stamp artifacts most collectors have never even seen. The first stamps of Latvia – printed on German military maps over 100 years ago…
Why Did Latvia Use German Maps?
Latvia was invaded repeatedly by Germany and Russia during World War I. Germany’s defeat and the Russian Revolution weakened both countries. Then Latvia declared independence on November 18, 1918, one week after WWI ended.
To prove its new-found sovereignty to the world, producing postage stamps was a top priority for Latvia. Consequently, the ravages of the war left the country with a severe paper shortage. High-quality paper was nowhere to be found! That’s when the printers remembered something: the German army ordered topographical maps to plot their battle strategies. But since the war ended, the Germans never picked them up. So Latvia printed its first stamps on the back of these war maps left behind by Germany’s Imperial Army!
To save precious paper, stamps were printed in 12 rows of 19 stamps each for a total of 228 stamps per sheet. On the reverse, each German military map features a section of Latvia, complete with name, scale, and map grid position.
Map Stamps Survived War, Invasions, and the Ravages of Time
A total of only 11,956 sheets were printed. And of those, only about 4,900 were perforated. Many were likely used as postage, so who knows how many have survived? Of those sheets printed, only 4,750 were delivered to Latvia’s government in the period between 1918 and 1919. The shipment included imperforate gummed sheets (Latvia #1), and perforated gummed sheets (Latvia #2).
After the Latvia Post began operations, the Bolsheviks invaded the capital city of Riga. An unknown quantity of Latvia map stamps survived the destruction – precious postal souvenirs of this turbulent period in European history.
Mystic was lucky enough to purchase a number of these sheets at auction. As you might expect, each may have a few small imperfections – reminders of its remarkable past.
Each complete 228-stamp sheet comes in a museum-quality Mylar envelope so you can safely view this rarity from both sides. And it will be protected for years of collecting fun.
Now you can get the complete imperforate sheet of stamps and add all this history to your collection – order yours today.
Take Time to Pay – Interest-Free!
Any order of $200 or more is eligible for interest-free time payments – including this historic sheet of Latvia stamps.
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