Marijampolė is a major town in central Suvalkija. In World War One, it was taken by Landwehr- Division Königsberg in mid-February 1915. During the German withdrawal from Russia at the end of 1918, when the Red Army was stopped on the far side of the river Nemunas, Marijampolė was not affected by further hostilities and soon formed local self-administration.
In the czarist period, Marijampolė had a post office Mariampol. During German occupation a branch within the Postgebiet Ob.-Ost, Mariampol, was opened on April 20, 1916 and closed down on December 29, 1918.
A mandate for a Lithuanian post office was issued to įgaliotinis Juozas Gulbinas as early as December 18, 1918, that is, well in advance of the closing down of the German branch. It is not known when the Lithuanian post office did in fact start functioning but it was probably early or mid January 1919. In July 1919 the postmaster was given a deputy, Vladas Kazys Varanka, who had been postmaster of Joniškis. At some time in 1919 or 1920 Juozas Gulbinas was replaced as postmaster by Antanas Kutaitis.
For stamps, Marijampolė had the 10 and 15 values of First Vilnius and 20 and 30 values of Second Vilnius, followed by some values of Kaunas Issues (but no First Kaunas ?) and Fourth Berlin etc. However, an early postman, Andrius Bočys, recollects that at the very beginning the post office had no stamps whatever and that pre-payment in cash was noted on mail by hand, e.g. “apmokėta 30 skatikų” = paid 30 sk. So far, no survivals have been discovered.
Early cancelling, most likely, was effected in manuscript, though again as yet no such items have been noted. A standard postmarker was supplied in late January 1919, the earliest recorded date being 26(28?). I. 19, with various later dates to follow.
However, the original postmarker disappeared (allegedly stolen) in first half of July 1919, its latest known authentic use being 7. VII. 19. Officially, the loss was entered as July 12, 1919. The “lost” postmarker later reappeared as canceller on the illegal reprints of the First and Second Kaunas Issues.
In the absence of the postmarker, Marijampolė resorted to a makeshift device – a seal-like two-ring cachet with the inscription “LIETUVOS PAŠTAS / MARIAMPOLĖS KONTORA”. At first the cachet carried a five-pointed star in the centre (very rare!).
The two-ring cachet with a five-pointed star also found on the First Vilnius issue stamps, most likely as CTO.
However, within a few days the star was removed, thus leaving a blank centre which sometimes was used to write in or to rubber-stamp the date.
The two-ring cachet with the inscription “LIETUVOS PAŠTAS / MARIAMPOLĖS KONTORA” also found on the Second Kaunas issue stamps, most likely as CTO.
In the second half of 1920 the circular cachet was replaced by a more formal calendar-type postmarker which, as Andrius Bočys recalls, may have been obtained from Vilnius. (For a few months in 1920 Vilnius was in Lithuanian hands.) The design differed somewhat from the usual design of standard Lithuanian postmarkers of the period, and in this sense is unique. It is recognisable by the spelling “MARIAMPOLE” and by the shape of its index – a reclining capital “B”.
By late 1920 Marijampolė received a standard calendar-type postmarker, again with index “B” which now stood straight. For several years both postmarkers were applied to mail etc. without any special differentiation.
In the absence of a specific cachet, early registration at Marijampolė was indicated by pasting on a label written in red ink. Later this method was replaced by a simple MS frame-like notation.
Known provisional markings:
Cancelling by “KONTORA” with a star:
No date single, Berlin IV 20 [colln. Doniela]
No date, Vilnius I 10 [colln. V. Jurkša]
Cancelling by “KONTORA” without the star:
No date single, Kaunas II 20 [colln. Brazdeikis]
1/ VIII  cover to Germany, Berlin IV 30 x2 [colln. Doniela]
9. VIII. 19 cover to Vilkaviskis, Berlin IV 30 [colln. Lapas]
10 / IX  cover to Kalvarija, Berlin IV 30 [colln. Doniela]
Ca. …/ II  cover to USA, Berlin IV 60 [colln. Lapas]
24 / III / 20 cover to Germany, Berlin IV 20, 40 [colln. Bubnys]
No dates and various dates singles etc., Berlin IV various values [several collns.]
Cancelling by postmarker with the reclining “B”, in use from 1920 into late 1920s:
Various dates singles, cards and covers, Berlin IV various values etc. [several collns.]
Registration by MS or label:
80 9. IV. 19 reg. cover to Kaunas, red label, Kaunas II 60, Kaunas III 15 x2 [colln. Doniela]
90 11. IV. 19 reg. cover to Kaunas, red label, Kaunas II 60 [colln. ?]
97 12. IV. 19 reg. cover to Kaunas, Kaunas II 60 x2 [colln. Lapas]
242 11. VI 19 reg. cover to Germany , Berlin IV 20 x5 [colln. Bubnys]
392 date unclear, reg. cover to Germany, Berlin IV 30 x4 [colln. ?]
912 1 / II / 20 primitive reg. cachet, cover to USA, Berlin IV 20, 60, + [colln. Bubnys]
496 2. VIII. 1921, MS reg. cover to USA, Sėjėjas 2a x2 [colln. Doniela]