A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzabar

A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzibar... Now what is between? For the world wide classical era philatelist and stamp collector, a country specific philatelic survey is offered by the blog author, Jim Jackson, with two albums: Big Blue, aka Scott International Part 1 (checklists available), and Deep Blue, aka William Steiner's Stamp Album Web PDF pages. In addition, "Bud" offers commentary and a look at his completely filled Big Blue. Interested? So into the Blues...

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Central Lithuania - a closer look

1921 Scott 40 6m slate & buff
"Poczobut Astronomical Observatory"
Into the Deep Blue
Clearly, one of the more obscure stamp issuing entities for WW collectors is Central Lithuania, which existed on the stamp scene between 1920 and 1922

One can learn more about the history by visiting.......

Original Blog Post & BB Checklist

Central Lithuania - Bud's Big Blue


 Central Lithuania
From Gerben van Gelder's Stamp World History
As one can see from Gerben's map, Central Lithuania was absorbed into Poland in 1922, but was split between Lithuania and the Soviet Union (Poland) in 1939.

And one can learn more by taking a look at the stamps...

A closer look
100 Fennigi = 1 Markka
1921 Scott 4 1m dark brown "Coat of Arms"
Perf 11 1/2
The first Central Lithuania issue of 1920-21 consisted of six typographic stamps (both Perf 11 1/2 and Imperf). The design clearly show where their sentiments lay: to Poland. Note the "Poczta" inscription?

CV is <$1, with used slightly higher in value.

I should mention that this issue (and many issues of Central Lithuania) can be found with color and paper shades.

I should also mention that most of the Central Lithuania stamp issues exist both perf and imperf.

During the Russo-Polish war, the territory was seized by Lithuania. But, under the leadership of Polish General Zeligowski, the territory was recaptured and occupied. During this time, the Central Lithuania stamps were issued. The territory then became part of Poland.

The next issue for Central Lithuania (November 23, 1920; Scott 13-22) consisted of Lithuanian stamps of 1919 that were surcharged in blue or black. I don't have any, and the higher values have been forged. CV is high ($40+-$1,000+).

1920 Scott 24 1m orange "Warrior"
Perf 11 1/2
The next issue of 1920 was lithographed, and had six pictorial and portrait stamps.

The designs are rather eye catching. The "Warrior" stamp (above) and the "Lithuanian Girl" ( see original blog post) are some of my favorites.

CV is <$1 to $3+, with used slightly higher.

1920 Scott 26 4m gray green & buff
"Tower and Cathedral, Vilnius
Perf 11 1/2 & Imperf - Shades
The stamps for this issue can be found in various shades. And remember, most issues are both perforated and imperforated. Scott does not separate out the imperfs and they have same Scott numbers as the perforated examples.

A word to the wise: since Central Lithuania's stamps are mostly lithographed, they provide fertile grounds for forgeries.

Pay attention to perfs, as the forgeries often have different perfs than the genuines.

1920 Scott 27 6m rose & gray
"Rector's Insignia"
This is not a very attractive cancelled stamp, but I would rather have a real genuine cancelled stamp than a "philatelic used souvenir" (CTO and the like). But I suppose this too could be a "souvenir".

1921 Scott 36 2m rose & green, Perf 14 
"St. Stanislas  Cathedral, Vilnius
Perhaps the high point of Central Lithuania's stamp output design wise was the 1921 eight stamp eight design issue (Scott 35-42). 

1921 Scott 41 10m red violet & buff, Perf 14
"Union of Lithuania and Poland"
The postmark date here is December 27, 1921, just before the election to determine Central Lithuania's fate (January, 8, 1922). Actually, with the 27,000 strong Polish occupation army in place, the Lithuanians in the territory refused to vote (considering it a sham), and naturally the election went for Poland. Lithuania refused to acknowledge (accept) the results of the election, and there was considerable tension between the two countries between WW I and WW II.

1921 Scott 42 20m black brown & buff
"Tadeusz Kosciuszko and Adam Mickiewicz"
I should mention that this issue can be found forged. The forgeries have Perf 11 1/2, while the genuines are Perf 14 or Imperf.

CV is <$1 to $1, with used a bit higher.

There is another 1921-22 six stamp six design issue (Scott 53-58) celebrating the opening of the National Parliament and the entry of General Zeligowski into Vilnius. CV is $3+ to $6 with used higher. Alas, I don't have any of these stamps.

1921 Scott B1 25f + 2m red (Black Surcharge)
On Scott Nos 1-6
The 1921 six stamp semi-postal issue consists of regular issue Scott 1-6 surcharged in black or red. The surcharge reads "For Silesia, 2 marks". The stamps were intended to provide funds (in favor of Poland) for the Polish-German plebiscite of Upper Silesia. This time the Germans won.

CV is $1+ with used somewhat higher.

1921 Scott B13 2m + 1 (m) claret
Scott 25 Surcharged, Imperf
In 1921, two stamps (Scott 25-26) were surcharged as shown for use as semi-postals.

CV is $1.

1921 Scott B19 10m + 2m brown & yellow
"General Lucien Zeligowski"
Also, Scott 25-26,28 were surcharged as shown. CV is <$1.

For more on General Zeligowski, see this

1920-21 Scott J1 50f red violet, Perf 11 1/2
"University, Vilnius
Varro Tyler (Focus on Forgeries) has a page on this stamp: the 1920-21 50 fennigi postage due stamp. He states that the forgery, created by a photolithographic process, is impossible to distinguish from the crude original lithographc stamp except for some loss of detail.

However, the genuine is printed on white wove paper, Perf 11 1/2 or Imperf, and has multiple shades: here red violet or lilac red.

1920-21 Scott J1 50f  "purple" (shade) Perf 11 1/2
"University, Vilnius
This is a probable genuine on white wove paper with Perf 11 1/2 and a "purple" or lilac black shade.

1920-21 Scott J1 50f  Imperf  "University, Vilnius"
On Brown paper, Forgery
The forgery is found on "browned" paper, and either Perf 10 1/2 or Imperf. 

1920-21 Scott J5 5m red violet, Perf 11 1/2 
"Castle Ruins, Troki"
The 1920-21 postage due issue consists of six stamps and six designs.

1920-21 Scott J6 20m scarlet, Imperf
"St. Anne's Church, Vilnius"
CV for the issue  is <$1 to $2, with used somewhat higher.

I guess one could say the stamp is so crude, it is almost modern in design. ;-)

Deep Blue
1921 Issue in part  (Scott 35-37)
In Deep Blue (Steiner), there are six pages for the 1920-22 stamps of Central Lithuania. All of the Scott major numbers have a space. I have a quadrilled page for the additional shades found for Scott 1-6.

1921 Scott B14 4m + 1m gray green & buff
Scott 26 Surcharged, Imperf
Out of the Blue
Long forgotten by most except for Polish-Lithuanian history buffs and WW stamp collectors, I would think an interesting collection could be formed if one wishes to sub-specialize. The CVs are modest indeed.

Note: I used Gerben van Gelder's map of Central Lithuania for this blog post. I had general permission from him to use his maps, and as his StampWorldHistory web site is not presently active, I have included it here.


Comments appreciated!


  1. Way off topic, but I don't know where else to post this. I want to get a new feeder album. It seems like Ebay might not be the place to do this. Seems like most decent collections are broken out and sold by country now. Is that true? The per stamp price is much higher this way and I certainly understand why a seller would want to do this. Are there other auction houses? Dealers? that might be a good place to look.

    1. Hi Joseph
      No, I don't think it is off topic - it definitely is of interest. It depends how advanced the WW collection is. For myself, I only buy country collections as feeder albums because a generic WW album does not provide enough depth of material. I agree that really good WW collections are these days broken down by country and sold by country. If you still want to purchase a general WW collection, you may need to buy from the collector before a dealer breaks the collection down. Good luck!

  2. You might try finding feeder albums at auction houses. Auctionzip, a web site, usually has some listed. I search for "stamp album" in quotes on their site. Also, some auction houses specialize in stamps, such as Fusco, Dutch Country, and Kelleher, and they often sell albums. Of course, as your collection progresses, feeder albums will yield fewer desired selections.

    Another strategy to follow when you need only a few stamps: Talk to the ebay seller about the possibility of taking a few stamps from country pages he/she is selling, then having them sell the remainder. Or you could sell the remainder yourself on ebay. There is definitely a gamble in doing this, but I've found it usually works for me.

    1. Another thought. Some dealers at stamp shows have feeder albums that customers can pick from at a per-stamp or per-page rate. The stamps are usually cheaper that way. Such dealer are not the ones who have all their offering neatly encased in glsssene or on stock pages. But I ask anyway.

  3. Tyler's comment on the 50f may be incomplete. There are at least 4 or 5 different forgeries I have found and the genuine comes in various papers, so brown newsprint is not a good key for forgeries. If you look closely at the ones you posted there are many differences especially in the shape and separation of the letters in the last top word. One thing I have learned about forgeries is that if someone says there are 1 or 2 types - then there are probably a few more
    Regards RM


    1. RM - Ha-ha, thanks for the comment and appreciate the reality check. ;-)

      I agree that for many stamp entities, including this one, it is trying to figure out the genuine one among all the forgeries. ;-)