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Latvian Philately

Latvian Map Stamps Literature

1920. The first known list of Latvia stamp maps is “A Latvian Map Check List” by Major C.L. Bagnell, D.S.O. [Stamp Collecting; April 10, 1920]. Andrejs Petrevics[†], [“Latvia No.1 - Map Checklist”, The Latvian Collector, issue 19, February 1977] reported that it listed 56 existing maps and 4 that probably existed.

1923. The second known list of Latvia stamp maps is in “Die Generalstabskarten” (The Military Maps) by Alexander Bungerz [Baltic Philatelist; Nummer 6/8, 1/3 des II. Bandes; Aug.-Dez. 1922, Jan.-Juni 1923; Georg H. Jaeger, Libau, Latvia; pp. 27-28]. It lists 68 maps as “existing” and many as “questionable”. Nine of the questionable maps (H18, J18, J19, K20, L20, M20, O20, T20, U20) are from the military areas <Ostgruppe I>, <I Nordwest>, <I Nord>, and <IV Nord>, but Latvia's first stamps are known only on maps from the areas <II West> and <II Ost>. The questionable map Q19 does exist with stamps. Q20 was not listed as questionable, but is in <I Nord> and unknown with stamps. Bungerz lists maps M15, N15, M18, M19, and O15 with Mitau as the main town. N15 is correct; the others are errors. Bungerz also lists maps M15, M18, M19, and O15 with their correct main towns.
   The list has R18 Rakis in error for R18 Rakischki. It has U17 Antonopol in error, which should be U17 Puscha.

1939. Jan Poulie[†] reported the map H14 Strandhof in “Hoofdstuk I verscheen” [Nederlandsch Maandblad voor Philatelie, Nr. 11, 16 November 1939; reprinted as “De Postzegels van Letland Deel 1” (The Stamps of Latvia Part 1) in Het Baltische Gebied No. 20, July 1991].

1940. The Rīgas Latviešu Biedrības Filatelistu un Numizmatu Nodaļas Izdevums published a specialized catalogue of Latvian stamps, Die Briefmarken Lettlands (The Stamps of latvia). In German, with a small print quantity, it became, deservedly, the classic catalogue of Latvian stamps. Unfortunately its list of 86 maps has most of Bungerz' errors, but none of Bungerz' question marks. After removing obvious and likely errors, 69 maps remain.
   This catalogue was a primary source for later catalogues. It is generally very reliable, with an esxception for its list of maps printed with stamps.

1950. Frank L. Browne in “The Story Behind the Stamps” [S.P.A. Journal, April 1950] listed 63 maps, without the questionable maps from the Bungerz 1923 and Riga 1940 lists. Unfortunately the article has many serious typographical errors.

1958?. Ernst Becker and Rolf Jacobsen published “Eine abschließende Steindruckstudie über Lettland” (A Final Printing Stone Study of Latvia) in Sonderdruck der Sammler-Dienst. According to Petrevics, they list 63 maps, without questionable maps. Please email if you have a copy.

1958. Karlis Kezbers published Latvijas Pastmarku Katalogs [Chicago, USA; 58pp + 4], a Latvian language specialized catalogue of Latvian stamps. Its coverage of map stamps is basically a copy of the 1940 Riga catalogue with its errors. This catalogue is notable for including English translations of Latvian philatelic terms, listing standard Latvian postal cancels, and listing Latvian revenue stamps.

1961. O. Pilants listed maps in “Ko Intresantu var redzēt manā Latvijas pastmarku kolekcijā?” in Latviešu Filatelists [No. 34, Jūnijs 1961, pp.9-10]. He listed 80 maps with their map types and noted 16 as unknown. The 16 are basically the “questionable” maps from the 1923 lists.

1963. Osvalds Priede[†] published Latvijas Pastmarku, Robojumi un Udens Zimes (Latvian Stamps, Perforations and Watermarks) [Elsternwick, Victoria, Australia; 94pp +2]. The list of 86 maps is from the 1940 "Riga" catalogue with its many errors.

1963. Viktors Kents listed maps in “Stamps of Latvia #1 and #2 on Maps” and “Corrections and Additions” in Kollekcionārs 14, June 1963, and 15, September 1963. Kollekcionārs later joined with Latviešu Filatelists to become the Latvian philatelic journal Krājējs. The list has 56 different maps, with no “questionable” maps, from a reader survey with over 150 maps. The list includes the printing direction, the plate number I or II, and the amount of plate wear. Excellent.

1977. Andrejs Petrevics[†] published “Latvia No. 1 - Map Checklist” in The Latvian Collector [issue 19, February 1977; an English language insert in the Latvian philatelic journal Krājējs]. It showed the types of maps used for stamps, their grid locations, and marginal inscriptions. It detailed the 59 maps in the author's collection, including 3 different maps for P17 Birže [dated 1915, 1917, and undated]. Excellent.

1979. Karlis Kezbers published The Stamps of Latvia [Stereo Stamps, Chicago, USA; 50pp]. This an English edition of his 1958 specialized catalogue of Latvian stamps and lists the questionable maps with the map type as fine for each. Unfortunately this English edition does not include the lists of Latvian philatelic terms or revenue stamps from the Latvian edition.

1983. John Barefoot's Latvia Map Stamps [European Philately 12; York, UK; 36pp] is the best-known English reference on map stamps. It has many errors, mostly small. Its section on cancels is weak - it spells LATWIJA as LETWIJA, JELGAWA as JEGLAWA, AIZPUTE as ALZPUTE, and illustrates a Jelgava provisional cancel with a Liepajâ straight-line cancel. It reports a tête-bêche and a black proof on glossy paper, but these are from later issues of 5 kap sun stamps. It reports that imperforate map stamps resulted from a perforator breakdown. Recommended with caution.

1984. In 1984 Jūlijs Plostiņš, published Latvijas Pastmarku Speciāl Katalogs (Latvian Postal Stamps Specialized Catalogue). This Latvian language reference became the best specialized catalogue of Latvian stamps, but is almost unknown. Its list of maps used is based on the 1940 Riga catalogue with its many errors. Otherwise it is excellent.

1991. N. Jakimovs [† 2000] and V. Marcilgar published The Postal and Monetary History of Latvia, 1918 -1945 [Johannesburg, South Africa] with “moral support” from the Latvian Cultural Foundation, Riga. Its interesting and useful English language commentary on map stamps [pp 3-11 to 3-17] details the first deliveries to post offices in Riga and nearby towns. It refutes the perforator breakdown story reported by Barefoot and raises helpful questions about map stamps. This vital source of information on Latvian philately suffers from poor English and voluminous typographical errors.

1994. Miklos Pinther wrote “Collecting the Latvian Map Stamps - Part One” and “Part Two” [The Carto-Philatelist, Vol 39 No 2, June 1994; Vol 39 No 4, December 1994]. In English. Its excellent summary of Latvian map stamps has a detailed list of 65 maps.

1998. Harry v Hofmann published Lettland Handbuch Philatelie und Postgeschichte, Die Briefmarken in Rubel-Währung 1918-1922 // Latvia Handbook of Philately and Postal History, The Stamps, Ruble Period, 1918-1922 [Hamburg, Germany]. This new edition of the 1988 German handbook is bilingual in German and English. It now includes N. Jakimovs’ corrections to the arrangement of clichés in Plate II of map stamps. The English translation by Philip E. Robinson is excellent. This is a fundamental catalogue for Latvian philately, one of a series of excellent specialized handbooks.
   The discussion of map stamps [pp 25-51] is excellent. It lists 12 questionable maps which Harry v. Hofmann, the publisher and an expert on Latvian stamps, wrote were confirmed by the late George Lindberg, though Hofmann had no chance to check them. The map list does not includes the 2 additional versions of map P17 reported by Petrevics [1977]. It does mention map H14 and it lists two different R15 maps and two different R18 maps.

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Updated Wed, 2014-05-07 .
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