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Category:   1918-1940 Postals   Group:    Sun Design

     The design of this stamp is primitive, and the majority of the stamps contain printing errors, but nevertheless no other Latvian stamp of this design has been subject to such extensive research and analysis as issue "A".  It is the first stamp of the Republic of Latvia, and the interest in it was certainly enhanced by the fact that it is the only stamp in the world, as far as is known, which was printed on the reverse of military maps of different types, and covering territories of the later Republics of Latvia and Lithuania.  It was printed by the Schnakenburg printing works in Riga.  Issues "B", "C" and "D" were printed by the G.D. Meyer printing office in Liepaja, and the later issues were printed by the Government Printing works in Riga. (Copied from The Postal and Monetary History of Latvia 1918-1945 by N. Jakimovs, V.Marcilger)

    Please select an Issue to get more detail on the stamp set.

Issue A B C D E F G H
Sample (Front)
Sample (Back)            
Paper Military 
Blue Lined Pelure Wmk.
Honey Comb
Laid Wove Surcharge Surcharge
Type I II II II I I + II II  
Sc# 1/2 3/8 9/24 25/33 57/58 76/82 86 132/133
Mi # 1/2 3/5 6/14 15/23 30/31 46/50 58 114/115

    The design twice includes the symbolic number of three, representing the three provinces of Latvia as described in the introduction.  Inside the sun are three rye ears held together by a ring symbolizing unity, and around the sun are three stars which appear in most allegorical representations.  Although the stamps were printed in much greater quantities than required, forgeries exist on genuine maps, where the sun is surrounded by four stars.  Here the forger obviously did not realize the meaning of the stars and added the fourth star for the sake of symmetry.

    Two different plates (see above - Type I and II) were used, differing mainly in the branch-like ornament below the sun.