Printed on German WW I Military Maps...
First Stamps Issued by Latvia
Own rare World War I 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 World War I ended.
The war had caused a severe paper shortage. But there was one source of top-quality paper – Latvia’s industrious government printed its first stamps on military 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.
Now you can add all this history to your collection! Own an imperforate block of 16 stamps, one imperforate single, plus FREE album page and mounts - order yours today.