• Interwar Lithuanian postage stamp blueprints

      Interwar Lithuanian postage stamp blueprints

      The first postage stamps appeared in Lithuania in the 19th century. together with the postage stamps of Tsarist Russia. At the same time, the stamps of the German Empire were used in Lithuania Minor. During the First World War, it was the Germans who began to stamp letters with the word "Lithuania", thus Lithuania entered world philately.
      During the restoration of the independence of the Republic of Lithuania, the Government addressed requests to Germany to reprint some German postage stamps with the inscription of its Republic, but received a negative response. The first postage stamps of independent Lithuania - the so-called "whites" - were issued during Christmas 1918. They were released in a hurry after the German military administration announced that the Oberost post offices would stop serving the civilian population. On the night of December 25 to 26 in Vilnius, at the Martynas Kukta printing house, the first Lithuanian postage stamps, modestly printed on newspaper paper, announced to the world the existence of a new state - Lithuania. There was no project of the artist, so it was decided to compose the characters from a printed font. The letter "o" is applied to the frame of the sign. When the letter "ų" was missing in the collection, an inverted "h" and an inverted French "ń" were used. The font was so battered that each sign came out very distinctive, different. Most of the circulation was redeemed by German soldiers sent for letters, as well as savvy German merchants. Already a few years later, these stamps became a huge rarity and even began to be counterfeited. After the occupation of the Vilnius region by Poland, the postage stamps of “Central Lithuania” (Polish: Litwa Srodkowa) were used there, and after the annexation of the region to Poland, the postage stamps of Poland were used.
      Despite the first difficulties, stamp publishing in Lithuania developed rapidly. Merchants of German philately became interested in Lithuanian stamps, and American Lithuanians also started selling them. The signs were quite artistic, small in circulation, and quickly gained prestige in global philatelic catalogs. They were created by the best Lithuanian artists A. Varnas, A. Žmuidzinavičius, J. Buračas, A. Galdikas, A. Bučas, J. Burba, V. Dobužinskis, P. Galaunė, V. Jomantas, P. Rimša, J. Steponavičius, K Šimonis, D. Tarabildienė and other artists. The authors of some of the stamps are still unknown today. The post-war post office archives of the Lithuanian Ministry of Transport and Communications were severely damaged, with some falling into private hands and some leaving Lithuania. The Trakai History Museum houses about 40 unique interwar Lithuanian postage stamp projects. According to some, stamps were issued, and some remained only projects.

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