Lanarkshire Philatelic Society
Mr Raymond Baldock
a member of the Lanarkshire Philatelic Society, presented his most interesting display on ‘Latvia’ at the meeting on Friday evening. (5th March)
As one of the Balkan states, Latvia has had a very varied history. In 1721 the three states of Courland, Latgale and Southern Ivonia formed the Republic of Latvia – all part of the Russian Empire. The first item on display was a letter of 1824 - from Britain to Riga, another of 1853 from Riga to Beppo (in Estonia)
During the German Occupation of 1915-1918 letters were sent to Konigsberg for censoring – and letters also had a great variety of types and shapes of postmarks during this period.
Latvia declared Independence on 18th November, 1918 and printed its own stamps – but! – there was a shortage of paper so these stamps were printed on the blank side of 1914-1917 German General Staff War Maps!
In 1919 stamps were issued to mark the 1st Anniversary of Independence and these were printed on the back of Bolshevik banknotes!
1920 saw the raising of postal rates and the stamps had to be overprinted. In 1921 the first airmail stamps were issued – on inverted triangle shaped stamps. In 1923 Latvia changed its currency from KOPS and RUBLI to SANTIMI and LATS and stamps had to be issued to suit. In 1926 Railway Newspaper stamps were issued. Various fund raising issues appeared– 1928 – for a memorial to commemorate the country’s independence; 1930 Anti- tuberculosis; 1933, stamps which were issued for the first Riga to Bathurst flight became, after it crashed, fund raising for the Latvian Airmen Fund.
In 1940 the last stamps of the Democratic Republic of Latvia were issued. In 1939, Russia obtained the right to set up military bases in Latvia. These were strategically placed that Latvia was ‘squeezed’ and ‘asked’ to be admitted to the Soviet Union.
In 1941 Germany invaded Latvia and Russian stamps were overprinted with LATVIJA and thereafter German stamps were used throughout the war. Latvia then returned to be part of the Soviet Socialist Republic.
A few interesting Anti-Poaching cards for members of the public to report any instances of poaching known to them were shown.
On 4th May, 1990 Latvia reaffirmed its Independence – and the 30th June, 1992 was the last day that Russian Postage Stamps could be used.
Latvia now issued various lovely and colourful commemorative stamps including; 1994 Winter Olympics; 1995 Nature Conservation Year; 1996 Motor Vehicle manufacture in Latvia; 1996 800th Anniversary of Riga; 1997 Scouting; 2000 Latvian Literature; also a stamp booklet issued to commemorate for the Stamp Show being held in London.
Ian Gray, in giving the Vote of Thanks remarked that he had learnt a lot of the history of Latvia from this most interesting display.
Our next meeting in St Andrews Parish Church Hall, Avon Street, Hamilton, is on Friday, 19th March, 2010 at 7:30pm when Dr Stuart Gardiner FRPSL will give his display on ‘Poster Stamps’.
Anyone with an interest in stamps, postal history, postcards etc is very welcome to attend.