Raseiniai is a major town north-west of Kaunas. In World War One, when German forces advanced into Žemaitija on April 27, 1915 Raseiniai was taken the same evening by fast moving Bayersche Kavallerie-Division. After a Russian counter-offensive Raseinai was re-taken by 78. Reserve-Division. During the German withdrawal from the East at the end of 1918 Raseiniai was spared further hostilities and was able to form local self-administration, including an effective Raseiniai District Committee of Five elected on November 30, 1918. Among other initiatives the Committee undertook to create a local postal circuit.
In the czarist period Raseinai had had a post office Rossieny. During German occupation a branch within the civilian Postgebiet Ob.-Ost system, Rossienie, was opened on July 1, 1916 and formally closed down on December 31, 1918 though its functioning had stopped some ten days before.
The local Lithuanian postal circuit, organised by the Committee, is reported to gave begun on January 2, 1919 and lasted for about a month. For this purpose a local Apskritis (=District ) stamp was produced which eventually underwent two printings. [For differences and analysis of the two printings of the Raseiniai Local Issue see a study by Audrius Brazdeikis, this webside under “Raseiniai 1919 Local Issue Printings“. For a Register of mail franked with the Raseinai Local issue see Vytautas Doniela, this website under “Raseiniai 1919 – Local Issue 15 k on Mail“.]
The local postal network was partly replaced, partly incorporated into the Lithuania-wide postal system when Pašto Valdyba appointed a postmaster (įgaliotinis), Konstantinas Jefimavičius, mandated as from January 26, 1919. On May 10 he was transferred to set up a post office in Naumiestis (Tauragės) and was replaced by Petras Naidionovas. A further addition as valdininkas was Jonas Žaldokas, starting ca. September 7. On September 16, 1920 Petras Naidionovas was promoted to postmaster of Šiauliai and his place at Raseiniai was taken by Vincas Jacevičius till then postmaster at Telšiai.
Apart from the Raseiniai Local Issue the early stock of Lithuanian stamps seems to have consisted of Third Kaunas Issue, though previous issues cannot be ruled out altogether. The Third Kaunas was followed by Fourth Berlin, with some evidence of Raseiniai having had some Second Berlin stamps, in particular the 30 value.
To begin with, for cancelling Raseiniai used the locally produced postmarker. The first version of the local postmarker, with the year written as “19”, had been used for the Local Issue (first printing) only and covers the period January 2 to 12, 1919. There is no known surviving mail cancelled with this postmarker.
The second variety of the local postmarker with the year written as “1919” was in use for a longer period and is found on stamps of Third Kaunas as well.
Before long, Raseiniai was supplied by Pašto Valdyba with a standard calendar-type postmarker. It was received and put to use some time between May 10 and 19, 1919.
In addition, in 1919 there exists a further provisional one-liner cachet in bold letters whose full spelling probably was “Roseinen”. Its purpose and origins are not known, but it seems to have been a cachet used by some Grenzschutz entity connected with Raseiniai.
In the absence of a regular registration cachet, Raseiniai made use of paste-on paper strips with printed “R” and “No.”, the serial number etc. being filled in by pen. A regular registration cachet was supplied by Pašto Valdyba in the second half of 1919 but later it may have been lost or mislaid, for in 1920 at least for a while Raseiniai resorted to registration in manuscript.
Known provisional markings:
Cancelling by Local Canceller with “1919”
12. IV. 1919 single, Berlin II 30 [colln. Doniela]
15. IV. 1919 cover to Kaunas, Kaunas III 10 strip of 3 [colln. Bubnys]
17. IV. 19 cover to Kaunas, Kaunas III 30 [colln. Bubnys]
17. IV. 1919 cover to USA, Kaunas III 30 pair [colln. Lapas]
10. V. 1919 cover to Kaunas, Berlin IV 10, 20 [colln. Lapas]
Various dates IV 1919, singles, Kaunas III various values [several collns.]
Cachet bold lettering “Rosein..”:
…V. 19 single, Berlin IV 30 [colln. Doniela]
Provisional registration label:
343 13. VI. 19 reg. cover to Kaunas (front only) [colln. Doniela]
Registration in MS:
255 13. X. 1920 reg. cover to Turkey [colln. ?]
1016 29.VIII. 20 reg. cover to Kaunas (Adomas Varnas), Inaug. Ass. 10, 20, 30, 40 [colln. Bubnys]
373 7. IX. 20 reg. cover to Kaunas, Inaug. Ass. 20, 80 [colln. Bubnys]
746 10.VIII.21, reg. cover to Austria, Kaunas Col. 20, Sėjėjas 40 x2, 2a [colln.Brazdeikis]
234 13. X. 21 reg. cover to Marktredwitz, Kestutis 1a x4[colln. ?]