There are two towns in Lithuania with the name “Naumiestis” which are usually differentiated by a further geographic addition. The Naumiestis in Žemaitija, in the district of Tauragė, is postally known as “Naumiestis (Taurag.)” or, more popularly, as “Žemaičių Naumiestis”.
The second Naumiestis is in Suvalkija, in the district of Šakiai, and during the czarist period was named Vladislavov. In 1919 it was known postally as Naumiestis (Šak.) and in 1934 it was officially renamed Kudirkos Naumiestis.
Naumiestis (Šak.) is situated on the border of what was East Prussia and became a battle zone on the very first day of World War One (August 1, 1914). After the eventually disastrous Russian incursion into East Prussia and German counter-advance, Naumiestis was taken in mid-September 1914 and for a few weeks held by Landwehr-Division Königsberg. After the German retreat into East Prussia and during their second counter-offensive, Naumiestis was conclusively recaptured by 42. Infanterie-Division on February 10, 1915.
Naumiestis had had a czarist post office (Vladislavov). During the German period a civilian Postgebiet Ob.-Ost post office (Wladislawow) was opened on April 20, 1916 and closed down on December 26, 1918. In 1919, Naumiestis was not harassed by any further military conflicts.
The Pašto Valdyba had made advance arrangements to take over the Naumiestis P.O. and a mandate for an įgaliotinis or postmaster, Antanas Kutaitis, was issued as early as December 20, 1918. Naumiestis was among the first Lithuanian post offices to be opened for business, though the exact date of its debut is not known with certainty. As from July 16, 1919 Antanas Kutaitis was transferred to a position in the Pašto Valdyba in Kaunas and was replaced by Kazys Venclovas from Panevėžys. On December 1, 1919 Kazys Venclovas went as postmaster to Vilkaviškis to be succeeded by Saliamonas Bagdanavičius until then postmaster at Kretinga.
As an early Lithuanian post office, the stamps Naumiestis received consisted of First and Second Vilnius Issues followed by the Second Kaunas Issue, though apparently neither First nor Third Kaunas Issues were supplied (?). Exceptionally, as Norton reported, Naumiestis had some First Berlin values, and mail has also been seen with some Second Berlin values. Before long, the usual common issues of Fourth Berlin, the Sėjėjas etc. followed.
Having no formal postmarker to begin with, for cancelling Naumiestis used a makeshift two-line rubber cachet showing place and date. So far, this provisional two-liner has been seen only on First and Second Vilnius, and First and Second Berlin stamps. Nor has it been seen on Kaunas Issues.
A standard calendar-type postmarker was provided relatively early, in April 1919. Earliest date, as held by Brazdeikis, is 22. IV. 19. Apart from strikes on subsequently ubiquitous Fourth Berlin values, this canceller has also been used on First and Second Vilnius Issues. However, a formal registration cachet was supplied much later, probably in late 1919.
Known provisional markings:
Cancelling by two-liner cachet:
24. 1. 1919 single, Second Vilnius 20 [colln. Bubnys]
12. 2. 1919 single, Second Vilnius 20 [colln. Doniela]
19. 2. 1919 cover to P.O.W. Camp Germany, Second Vilnius 20, 30 [colln. Bubnys]
3. 3. 1919 single, First Berlin 10 [formerly Norton]
5. 3. 1919 single, First Vilnius 15 [colln. Bubnys]
10. 3. 1919 single Berlin II 30 [colln. ?]
20. 3. 1919 cover to Germany, First Vilnius 10, 15, Second Vilnius 20, Berlin II 30 [colln. Bubnys]
26. 3. 1919 singles, First Vilnius 10, 15 [colln. Bubnys]
26. 3. 1919 single, Second Vilnius 30 [colln. Doniela]
…3. 1919 single, Second Vilnius 30 [colln. Bubnys]
…3. 1919 single, Second Berlin 20 [colln. Doniela]
9. 4. 1919 single, Second Vilnius 20 [colln. Brazdeikis]
Registration in MS:
225 13. VIII. 19 cover to Switzerland, Berlin II cpl. set [colln. ?]