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LATVIA GOVERNMENT - (Military map as paper for stamps of the newly formed Latvia.) No. P. 17 Birze)

LATVIA GOVERNMENT -  (Military map as paper for stamps of the newly formed Latvia.) No. P. 17 Birze)
(Military map as paper for stamps of the newly formed Latvia.) No. P. 17 Birze) - LATVIA GOVERNMENT
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Title : (Military map as paper for stamps of the newly formed Latvia.) No. P. 17 Birze).
Date : Riga, Schnaekenburg printing, 1918-1919.
Size : 14.2 x 16.3 inches. / 36.0 x 41.5 cm.
Colouring : Uncoloured.

Description :The first stamps of Latvia – printed on German military maps almost 100 years ago. Military map with red 5. Kap stamps - the rarer perforated and gummed version, showing the area with Biržai and Pasvalys in Lithuania.
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!
In November of 1918 the new Latvian government placed an order with the Schnaekenburg printing plant in Riga for 3,000,000 postage stamps, to be printed on the backs of German World War I infantry maps. Although there was a severe wartime shortage of paper, there was a surplus of war maps with excellent paper quality. These maps were from the series Karte des westlichen Rußlands. Janis Ronis[†], who was a boy at the time, remembers seeing these maps used to wrap fish in the Riga market.
The stamps were printed on the unprinted backs of unfinished maps
The unfinished maps were in storage in Riga, the German military headquarters for the region. Although the map series contained maps of a large area east of Germany, these maps showed southern and eastern Latvia and most of Lithuania. Some of the maps had become obsolete when new editions replaced them others were obsolete because WWI was over.
Receipts exist for 11,956 sheets [2,725,968 stamps]. They include 4,750 sheets delivered before the government evacuated Riga for Liepaja on January 2, 1919, and 7,206 sheets after the government returned to Riga on May 22, 1919. The receipts for the initial 4,750 sheets show 1,874 perforated sheets and 2,876 gummed sheets. Gummed appears to mean imperforate.
There is no information about how many of the 7,206 sheets were imperforate. Imperforate stamps are more common than perforated. A large portion of sheets are ungummed.
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.
More about cartographical curiosities [+]

Condition : The map paper is a dark cream colour. The map dated 1915. Very good condition. Paper size 360x415mm.

ID: 32071

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