The first stamps of Latvia are scarce and come complete with a neat story.
During World War I, Latvia was one of the principal battlegrounds between the armies of the German Empire and the Russian Empire. By the end of the war, Latvia's economic and agricultural infrastructure had pretty much been destroyed.
Latvia proclaimed its independence on 18 November 1918 and issued its first stamps on 18 December. This newly independent Latvia needed stamps. But the Latvian postal authorities immediately ran into a problem. There were shortages of everything, including paper stock on which to print their first stamps.
Among the many things the retreating Germans left behind were mapped; large numbers of unfinished maps which were stored in their headquarters. The map side of these foldable maps was finished, but their backs were not yet printed.
Thus were born Latvia’s first stamps. The first stamps of Latvija were printed on the back of the stamps. The stamps were printed in red and show 3 ears of grain in the centre of a rising sun, with 3 stars spaced around the edges of the sun’s rays. The name ‘LATVIJA’ curving across the top of the sun and the value of 5 Kap is printed at the bottom.
The stamps with such a fascinating story are surprisingly affordable!
Image Curtsey: https://upload.wikimedia.org