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World: Europe: Latvia Stamps  
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Scott #1 [1918 5k Imperforate, Coat of Arms] NH VF FULL SHEET OF 228 STAMPS, PRINTED ON BACK OF GERMAN WWI MILITARY MAP. Excellent quality, totally complete, folded once vertically in half (probably better than typical) with only the usual minor creases and bends in the edge areas. Map printed in black and brown, stamp plate II, gum type yellowish-brown with vertical brush strokes. The map is "T17. Wyschki." an area in western Russia, with B118 in lower right of map frame (there were two T17 types). I have not been able to find any map checklists that include rarity suggestions, but it is clear that some are much scarcer than others; I do not know where this falls in the rarity spectrum. A forgery does exist, but I have confirmed that this example is absolutely genuine and I guarantee it to be so. The Latvian map stamps are one of the very interesting chapters in philately; during the printing there was still great chaos -- the printing plant had to be evacuated and the stamps protected from falling into enemy hands. Assuming that this is one of the more commonly found maps (full sheets are not "common"), in recent years I have seen varying prices (and quality) ranging from around $200 to $750 per sheet. This example is priced very realistically; keep in mind this sheet contains 228 stamps (12 rows of 19 columns) and that the per-stamp catalog value is $1, but it is not uncommon to see single and blocks selling for several dollars per stamp. Even if this is not your specific collecting area, such a map would make a wonderful display if properly mounted so that both sides are visible and then hung in an open area where it can be viewed from both sides -- your non-philatelic guests will just have to ask you about it!
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