Back of the Book Issues

Western Army

Note - in many cases, clicking on the image may open a larger copy of the image for better inspection.

The Western Army was a group of troops from Germany, the Baltic states and Russia.  It was formed in Courland (Kurland), under the command of Colonel Avalov-Bermondt, in 1919 but refused to join forces with the North Western Army under General Yudenich.

Note that a different source refers to the commander as General Bermondt-Avalov (Rosselevitch in Rossica Journal 51, quoted in Dr R J Ceresa's Postage Stamps of Russia 1917-23, Volume 3 The Armies, Parts 1/2 The Northwest and Northern Armies).

In October 1919 this army unsuccessfully attacked Riga in Latvia, being defeated by the 'Red Latvians (Latyshskiye Strelki).  It subsequently evacuated Courland on 29 November, 1919 and retreated out of Latvia in disarray.

A number of valid postally used stamps were issued as well as some stamps prepared for Colonel Avalov-Bermondt's force which were never issued.

The overprinted letters 'Z.A.' stand for Zapadnaya Armiya, or, in English, Western Army.  The overprinted letters 'L.P." stand for Latvia Pashparvalac' or 'Free Latvia'.

Stanley Gibbons has a separate section on these stamps in their specialised catalogue.

Catalog Info



apparently unlisted in Scott, although it is suggested that they might appear in the Latvian section under "Russian occupation".

commented on but unnumbered and not valued in SG.

commented on but unnumbered in Michel, valued at DM4.50 or 3.00

These are the stamps that were prepared but never issued.  Forgeries exist.

An eBay auction in May 00 offered them for sale along with a set of Army of the North issues and one Army of the Northwest issue (total Scott value $7), with the total group offered for $9 and sold at offering price.

eBay MNH opened for $1 and closed with no bids (June 00).

M, opened for $1 and sold at that price (Sep 00).

A set of perf and imperf varieties of all eight stamps (except for no perf 50k) and totalling 24 stamps in total opened for $1.50 and sold for that price (Nov 00).

three overprinted varieties of the above stamps M, opened for $1 and four bidders took up to $2.25 (Nov 00).
  Found on another website with the following information about what it is.

I quote from one of my favourite sources "Carl von Scharfenberg and H.Werth attribute this bogus "commemorative" set to the Western Army. The 50 k. value in a shade of orange and inscribed "In commemoration of the Liberation of Russia" is fairly common. Von Scharfenberg's collection also contained a single example of the 60 kop. depicting a bugler in a similar format to the 50 kop. and a 70 kop. value in horizontal format". H. Werth article was a contribution to British Journal of Russian Philately in 1954.

This must be some kind of propaganda label, as the inscription translates roughly as "Break open Russia's Liberation".

Speculative issue Western Army - The "man who breaks the chains" is a speculative issue year 1919, supposed to be of West Russian Army. It exists also with different overprints. It is listed in many different Russian and German specialist catalogues and articles.

SG 43-53 MNH opened for $15 and six people bid up to $44.  SG values at 106 or about $160 (Aug 00).

This exact same image was shown for another set MNH that opened for $22.50 and four people bid up to $107 - all four bidders offering more than the $44 closing price of the August lot!  (Sep 00).

Another identical set opened for $23.50 and two bidders took up to $73 (Oct 00).

  MH, opened for $7 and four bidders took up to $33.85 (Aug 01).
  MH, interesting for the three overprinted stamps which SG does not refer to. Opened for $1 and sold at that price (Aug 01).
Either SG 37 or 42 M, opened for $2 and three bidders took up to $8.25 (Aug 01).

This page last modified on October 12, 2013