• Royal Swedish Post

  • Imperial Russian Post

  • German occupation / Ob. Ost

  • Independent Republic of Estonia


    Coat of arms of Estonia

    Coat of arms of Estonia

    (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

    The Republic of Estonia celebrates its founding day on February 24, 1918, but was initially unable to come into being because its territory was occupied by German troops at the same time (see the German Occupation / Ober Ost collection period).

    It was only with the defeat of Germany at the end of the First World War and the armistice of November 11, 1918 that German troops began to withdraw from the Baltic region from north to south.

    In Estonia, the first Ober Ost country post office to close was the one in Paldiski (Baltic port) on 15.11.1918 and the last one in Valga (Walk) on 19.12.1918.

    Postcard 1918 from Pernau to Rukkuli with postage due

    Card dated 28.11.1918 with invalid "Ob. Ost"–franking (the Ob. Ost post office in Pernau had already closed on 21.11.1918) and postage due (postmark "Doplatit") in cash.

    Letter with cash franking Rakwere (Rakvere, Wesenberg) dated 18.11.1918

    Letter dated 18.11.1918 with cash franking ("15 k. maksetud" = "15 Kopecks paid") from Rakwere (Wesenberg) to Weissenstein (Paide)

    On November 15, 1918, the first Estonian post office opened in Rakwere (Rakvere, Wesenberg), so this day is considered the birthday of the Estonian Post, even though it would take until the end of November for the first regular stamp to be issued in Tallinn (Reval).

    Stamp 2010 90th anniversary of the Peace of Tartu

    Stamp Mi No. 654 on the 90th anniversary of the Peace of Tartu (Dorpat)


    Special postmark for the 1st National Assembly ("Asutav kogu" = "Founding Assembly") on 23.4.1919

    The retreating German troops were followed by Russian Bolshevik forces from the east , so that the young republic had to defend itself against numerous external and internal enemies until the peace treaty of Tartu (Dorpat) on February 2, 1920. Emergency measures of all kinds, provisional stamps, censorships and field post were created during the war of liberation.

    Nevertheless, with the convening of the National Assembly in April 1919, the enactment of a Basic Law, the first nationwide elections and the passage of the Land Reform Act in 1920, it was possible to relatively quickly stabilise the new bourgeois republic.

    Crucial for the provision of postal services to the population was the "Law on Postal Agencies" adopted by Parliament on March 21, 1922, as well as the "Postal Agencies" set up from 1926 onwards in farms, restaurants, dairies and schools. While the number of post offices remained fairly stable between 1920 and 1939, the number of postal agencies increased significantly; the number of auxiliary postal offices, however, literally exploded:

    Postmark 1940 Lääne-Mõisaküla Postal Agency

    Postmark postal agency ("AG") Lääne – Mõisaküla (1940)





    Post offices 




    Postal agencies 




    Auxiliary postal facilities 




    Picture postcard of a shop and a postal agency

    Shop and post agency at Tõrva

    Stamps 1928: 300 Marka 3 Krooni

    1928: 300 Marka (Mark) turned into 3 Krooni (Crowns)

    Estonia was the only one of the three Baltic republics to succeed in establishing liberal and constitutional structures immediately after its creation.

    The comparatively robust economic development made a significant contribution to this. Thus, on the 10th anniversary of the Republic, the inflationary mark currency could be exchanged for the Estonian kroon at 100 senti on the gold standard..

    With the outbreak of the world economic crisis, Estonia also found itself in politically and economically troubled waters from 1930 onwards. On May 12, 1934, the "State Elder" Konstantin Päts declared a State of Emergency and dissolved parliament in anticipation of a feared coup d'état by fascist forces.

    Konstantin Päts ruled the Republic authoritatively as President until the occupation of Estonia by the Soviet Union as a result of the Hitler-Stalin Pact in 1940/41.

    In postal terms, two events are significant in this phase: With the spelling reform of January 1, 1934, numerous place names changed both in their spelling and in their naming. This led to the creation of numerous new postmarks. The same thing happened with the great municipal reform of April 1, 1939.

    Picture 1928 Constantine Päts

    Konstantin Päts

    Selected stamps and complete pieces

    Rouble currency (1918)

    Local issue Rakwere (Rakvere, Wesenberg) 1918

    Local issue Rakwere

    Mi Rakwere Nr. 4

    The first Estonian post office opened in Rakwere (Rakvere, Wesenberg) on November 15, 1918 and emitted a series of provisional issues the following day. They used Russian postal stationery and cut-outs of eagle drawing from 1891 and Tsar Peter drawing from 1913. The editions of these so-called "local issues" were tiny: Michel Nos. 1-4: 173, 402, 137 and 26 pieces. They are therefore great rarities. They remained valid only until 27 November 1918, because in the meantime there existed regular stamps.

    Postcard 1918 Rakwere P2 I

    Postcard 1918 Rakwere Mi P2 I

    Flower pattern, the first

    On November 24, 1918, the first regular stamp of the young republic was issued, first at the counter of the main post office in Tallinn (Reval) and then nationwide. The stamp in the simple floral design was issued imperforated, in lithographic printing and in rouble currency, although it was sold in marks and pennies (marka and penni) from January 1, 1919. The same applied to the 15 kopeck stamp issued on November 30, 1918.

    As a result of the World War, the currencies of the various occupying powers were still circulating in Estonia and were only gradually exchanged for Estonian marks and pennies (Marka & Penni).

    wrapper with Michel number 1

    Postal item (wrapper) with Mi No. 1 (2) from Reval to Baltischport (printed matter fee domestic 51–100g from 15.11.–31.12.1918: 10 Kopecks)

    Marka currency (1919-1927)

    Flower pattern, the second

    Foreign postcard with Mi No. 4

    Foreign postcard from Dorpat 18.7.1919 to Rostock 23.7.1919 with Mi Nr. 4. postage 20 Penni for international postcard + 50 Penni registered postage (use of Ob Ost stationary as form)

    As in Germany, Finland or Poland, the inflation of the mark currency progressed rapidly in Estonia. As early as January 18, 1919, supplementary values of 35 and 70 pennies became necessary for the postage that had risen since January 1.

    The design in the flower pattern remained the same, only the currency inscription was removed.

    Eesti Post – Overprints 1919

    Provisional Reval 11 stamp

    Cover dated 7.5.1919 with handstamp overprint "Eesti Post", Mi No. 11

    On 7 May 1919, provisional stamps appeared for the second and last time, this time exclusively at the main post office in Tallinn (Reval): A total of 18 different Russian stamps with denominations between 1 kopek and 10 roubles, imperforated as well as perforated, received the handstamp overprint "Eesti Post" and were sold in denominations 1:1 against marka and penni. The issue was later declared valid for postage nationwide until September 30, 1919.

    Provisional Reval 1B stamp

    Cover dated 8.5.1919 with handstamp overprint "Eesti Post", Mi No. 1B

    Some of these stamps have extremely low print quantities, which can easily compete with those of the Blue Mauritius. The market prices suggest that counterfeiters had their eye on this issue early on. Therefore: Please acquire only BPP-inspected stamps!

    Viking ship 1919/22

    With the motif of the "Viking Ship" stamp issue in the denominations of 1, 5, 15 and 25 marks from July 28, 1919, the Estonian Post Office achieved a great success. They became icons of the mark currency era and are still a popular motif today.

    Inscribed (fieldpost) letter of a soldier of the Northwest Army with stamp "Viking Ship" Mi-No. 13x, 50+50 Penni = 1 Mark, Northwest Army, (Pleskau)–Narwa–Tallinn–Diessen 1919.

    From the time of handover to the Estonian Post Office in Narva, their field mail had to be franked.

    During the War of Independence Estonian censorship postmarks were used for mailings abroad, here a postmark from Tallinn in triangular form.

    S.K. = Sõja kontroll = war control = censorship

    Ice flight 1920

    In the winter of 1920, the ice on the Baltic Sea became so severe from mid-January that shipping had to be closed down. Enemy troops were stationed in the east and south of the country; Estonia was cut off from the outside world. In this situation, the governments of Estonia and Finland decided to establish an air link between their capitals, which was also opened up for the transport of private correspondence as far as possible.

    Towards the end of this period, an airmail surcharge stamp with a face value of 5 marka appeared on March 13, 1920, covering the additional airmail charge for a letter of 15 grams each. Because of its late appearance, the stamp could only be used for the last ice flight from Tallinn to Helsinki on March15: the third oldest official postal airmail in the world was born!

    Ice flight cover 1920 from Tallinn via Helsinki to Paris, front side

    Ice flight cover of 2nd weight category from Tallinn via Helsinki to Paris: posted on March 13, 1920, flown to Helsinki on March 15 and forwarded from there to Paris.

    Ice flight cover 1920 from Tallinn via Helsinki to Paris, reverse side

    Back of the ice flight cover with transit stamp Helsingfors 15.3.1920

    Airmail 1923/25

    From the summer of 1921, Estonia's capital was regularly connected to Europe's developing airmail network, without national airmail rates. It took until October 1, 1923 for the Estonian Postal Administration to decide to establish an airmail connection from Tallinn via Riga to Königsberg and to issue new airmail stamps. To do this, they overprinted the remaining unsold stocks of the 1920 airmail supplementary stamp with 5, 10, 15, 20 and 45 marka and the year "1923".

    Stamps Michel No. 4 to 45B, UPU archival covers from Madagascar

    Stamps Mi No. 41–45B, archival covers of the UPU, sent to the Postal Administration of Madagascar and marked there with an "ownership stamp" (click to view a high-resolution scan).

    Airmail stamps 1923 with Päevaleht perforation

    Airmail stamps 1923 with Päevaleht perforation

    400 stamps of the value rate of 10 Marka and 2,000 stamps of the value rate of 20 Marka were not only issued imperforated, but also perforated on October 8.

    Since this poor line perforation 11 ½ was done in the printing office of the newspaper "Päevaleht" (="Daily Paper"), the stamps have entered the literature under this name – and the other stamps of the issue remained imperforated.

    From February 12, 1924 the final airmail set then became available in the same value levels, perforated and imperforated, and again in the distinctive triangular format.

    Airmail cover 18 –19.5.1927 with airmail additional stamps Mi 48A+50A (5+15 Mk) and dispatch cancel Tallinn-Aeronaut.

    As of April 16, 1928, the payment of airmail fees by means of additional airmail stamps was cancelled. From then on, airmail fees were paid with general postage stamps or were completely omitted.

    Weaver & Smith 1922/28

    Cover from Narva to Tartu with 8+10 Marka weaver & smith stamps

    Registered letter (10 Marka) of the 2nd weight category (8 Marka) from Narva to Tartu, franked with 2 stamps Mi No. 38B.

    The postage stamps with the motifs of weaver and smith accompanied Estonian postal customers from February 18, 1922 until 1928. They remained valid beyond the currency reform of 1928 until December 31, 1940.

    The values of ½, 1, 2, 2½, 5, 9 and 10 Marka were first issued imperforated, then all values from 1923 only perforated.

    Local printed matter Kopli 1923

    Local printed matter Kopli–Tallinn (Kopli is a district of Tallinn, "Siin" = "Here") with single franking ½ Marka, Mi No. 32A

    Postal stationery 1923/29

    Postal stationery Michel P2, P6, P10 without and with overprints

    Postal stationery Michel P2, P6 and P10, all former 9 Marka

    The motif of the weaver was also used for Estonia's first postal stationery from February 23, 1923, initially without overprint, then with a new value overprint in "Marka" and finally – after the currency reform in 1928 – with the overprint in the new currency denomination "Senti".

    An example of the collecting field "interesting text / philatelic content":

    Reply postal stationery P6 with unanswered question part (left) for " swapping to Michel" and still attached answer part (right), from Pernau to Colmar / France.

    The signature: worthy of a notary!

    Charity stamps with surcharge 1920/27

    All surcharges of Estonian charity issues in the period of the Marka currency between 1920 and 1927 went without exception to the victims of the wars since 1914, especially to those of the War of Independence in 1918–20. Already in June 1920, the first charity stamps for the benefit of war-disabled appeared in the denominations of 35 and 70 pennies with surcharges of 10 and 15 pennies. In November of the same year, these stamps were overprinted with the new values of 1 and 2 Marka.

    In August 1921, another charity issue for the benefit of the Red Cross appeared in the denominations of 2½ marks + 1 mark surcharge and 5 + 2 marks surcharge; imperforated, partially perforated and perforated. These stamps were issued in October 1923 with the overprint "Aita hädalist." ("Help the injured") and sold at the same price.

    Inland R-cover 1921 with correct postage and Aita hädalist stamps

    Registered domestic cover, correctly franked with 5 + 10 Marka, Mi No. 46/47 A+B.

    On November 19, 1927, a charity edition was issued with five values and a 100% surcharge for the benefit of the Estonian War of Independence Memorial Committee. Due to the currency reform at the turn of the year and poor sales, the postal validity of this issue ended on January 18, 1928.

    Genuinely used and on cover this issue therefore belongs to the rarities of Estonian stamp issues before 1928.

    Registered letter with stamp set from Tallinn to Bochum 1927

    Registered letter with stamp set 28.–31.12.1927 from Tallinn to Bochum with Mi Nr. 63–67

    Kroon currency (1928-1940)

    With the economic consolidation of the 1920s, Estonia also changed its currency at the turn of 1927/28 from the paper standard in marks and pennies (Marka & Penni) to the gold standard in Estonian kroons and cents (Krooni & Senti).

    The conversion was carried out at a ratio of 100:1, so that the permanent issues valid until then retained their postal validity until they were sold out, but at the longest until 31.12.1940 (1 Mark = 1 Cent). The same applied to all postage stamps issued from 1928 onwards in denominations from 1 cent to 3 kroner.

    10 years of independence 1918–1928

    1928 airmail card from Tartu to Stockholm

    1928 airmail card from Tartu to Stockholm, Mi P 10 II, Marken Mi Nr. 68 und 70 (2).

    The first issue in the new currency appeared on February 24, 1928 on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the independence gained in 1918.

    The stamps in the denominations of 2, 5, 10, 15 and 20 senti appeared as new issues with overprint, but in the motifs of the previous issue "weaver and smith"..

    Michel stamp number 68

    Mi Nr. 68

    Postage stamps Heraldic lions 1928/40

    The Estonian national coat of arms shows three lions striding to the left and looking at the viewer. The Post Office used this heraldically striking motif for the Republic's self-portrayal on its postal stamps in the new currency.

    Between September 24, 1928 and April 1, 1935, 15 postage stamps were issued in denominations ranging from 1 cent to 80 cents, before this series was replaced from 1936 by the one with the portrait of President Konstantin Päts.

    In parallel, between 1928 and 1940, all postal stationery appeared with the motif of the heraldic lions (postcards, commemorative postcards, envelopes ordered by a public authority, semi-official card letters ordered by a welfare organisation, picture postcards) as well as, not to forget, in 1930 Estonia's only booklet of postage stamps of the interwar period with a face value of 2.10 kroons. Of the 9,890 copies sold by the end of 1940, only a few complete booklets are likely to have survived to the present day.

    Stramp Booklet Estonia MH1 front side

    Stramp Booklet Estonia MH1 front side

    Stamp Michel Number 80

    Mi No. 80

    Stramp Booklet Estonia MH1 reverse side

    Stramp Booklet Estonia MH1 reverse side

    Charity issues with surcharge 1931/40

    Between 1931 and 1940, the Estonian Post emitted seven charity issues with surcharges for the benefit of charitable institutions. In 1931 and 1933, one issue each was issued with four values supporting the Red Cross and the Tuberculosis Relief Organisation.

    Cover 1931 from Tallinn to Vienna with Red Cross surcharge stamps

    Cover 1931 from Tallinn to Vienna with Red Cross surcharge stamps Mi No. 90–93

    Letter 1934 from Valga to Brussels with tuberculosis surcharge stamps

    Letter 1934 from Valga to Brussels with tuberculosis surcharge stamps Mi No. 102–105

    From 1936 to 1940, a charity issue with surcharges in favour of the community aid "Ühisabi" was published every year.

    Letter 1936 from Kastre-Võnnu to Stockholm Surcharge stamps

    R-cover with stamp set 12.–15.2.1936 from Kastre-Võnnu to Stockholm with surcharge stamps Mi No. 109–112

    Letter 1937 from Tallinn-Telegraf to Berlin with surcharge stamps

    R-cover with stamp set 10 –13.4.1937 from Tallinn-Telegraf to Berlin with surcharge stamps Mi No. 127–130

    Cover 1940 from Tallinn to Vienna with surcharge stamps

    Express registered cover 1940 from Tallinn to Vienna with surcharge stamps Mi No. 152–155 as well as 117 (postage: 25+25+60 Senti), Estonian and German censorship postmarks

    In 1938 and 1939, one souvenir sheet each was issued in stamp drawing.

    First day airmail cover 1938 from Tallinn via Berlin to Rome

    Registered first day airmail cover 21 –22.1.1938 from Tallinn via Berlin to Rome with Mi Bl. 1 (Mi Nr. 131–134)

    FDC 1939 Kuressaare Loss AG to Tallinn

    Registered cover with stamp set 15.2.1939 from the agency "Kuressaare Castle" to Tallinn with Mi Bl. 3 (Mi Nr. 142–145) (with vignette for the book week 4.–11.12.1938 and side cancel of the castle)

    Special editions 1932/40

    The Estonian Post issued just six special issues in the nine years leading up to the Second World War:

    In 1932, the 300th anniversary of the University of Tartu (Dorpat) was commemorated with four values, followed in 1933 by three values to celebrate the 10th Singers' Festival.

    Michel stamp number 95

    Mi No. 95

    FDC 1932 from Pranglisaarte Agency to Tallinn

    Registered first day cover with set franking Michel No. 94–97 from the postal agency Pranglisaarte (= Prangli Island) to Tallinn, 1.-4.6.1932

    FDC 1933  local letter Tallinn

    Registered local cover with set franking Tallinn, Mi Nr. 99–101 and others, postage 10+10 Senti, 29.5.1933 (FDC)

    Michel stamp number 99

    Mi No. 99

    In 1936, the four-value special issue on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the founding of the Brigitte Monastery in Pirita near Tallinn followed, and in 1938 also the issue on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the " Scholared Estonian Society", the values of which were also combined in one souvenir sheet.

    R letter 1936 from Tallinn to Rakvere

    R-cover with set franking from Tallinn to Rakvere with Mi No. 120–123, 12.–13.8.1936

    Michel stamp number 122

    Mi No. 122

    Michel stamp number 141

    Mi No. 141

    FDC 1933 local letter Tallinn

    Registered airmail cover from Tartu via Warsaw to Lengnau (Switzerland), Mi Bl. 2 (Mi Nr. 138–141) a.o., postage 40+25+20 Senti, 20.–24.12.1938

    The range of special issues was completed in 1939 by four values on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the spa town of Pärnu (Pernau), which were also issued as individual stamps and combined in a souvenir sheet, and in 1940 by the special issue on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the appearance of the first stamp.

    R letter 1939 from Võsu to Rakvere

    R-cover from Võsu to Rakvere, Mi Bl. 4 (Pärnu resort, Mi Nr. 148–151) a.o., 25.–28.8.1939

    local letter Tallinn 1940

    Registered local letter with set frankage Tallinn with Mi No. 160–163), 30.7.1940

    Postage stamps Konstantin Päts 1936/40

    Like no other, he determined the face of Estonia between the world wars: Konstantin Päts (1874–1956). Whether as Minister (Interior and Defence), Prime Minister, State Eldest (Riigiwanem, five times between 1921 and 1934), State Protector (Riigihoidja, 1934–1938), State President (1938–1940) or prisoner of Stalin (1940–1956), his image shaped and still shapes that of the "first" Estonian Republic.

    14 values in 17 colours of the definitive series with his portrait marked the face of Estonian mail between 1936 and 1940. More than 106 million copies were printed.

    Letter 1939 from Tallinn to Lucerne

    Registered cover from Tallinn to Lucerne (Switzerland) with Mi No. 114, 136, 146, 22nd –24.8.1939

    Picture 1939 Päts

    Konstantin Päts as State President 1939

    Private Card Letters (Paro Letters)

    The Red Cross paid the postal fee of 10 senti per letter directly and in advance to the state treasury. This fee and the printing costs were presumably financed by the advertising income. The post offices in fact sold the postal stationery as a private item at the counter for only 5 senti – a profit for the customers, since they received a value imprint worth 10 senti and the envelope for it. The amount of 5 senti per envelope was donated to a fund for the support of suffering postmen.

    A total of 29,424 card covers were sold, so that only a few of the mathematically possible 1,050 complete series remain today.

    Card cover 1938 sent domestically from Viru - Jaagupi to Tallinn.

    Interesting the contemporary advertising, partly with European self-confidence:

    Left: "Regular flights to the whole of Europe, in summer and winter".

    Right: "Largest selection, International and national quality, furs, sale en bulk and en detail".

    Bottom left: "An advertisement appearing in the Paro arrives, because it reaches the people".

  • Soviet occupation

  • German occupation / Ostland

  • Camp Mail / Estonians in Exile

  • Independent Republic of Estonia (restored)

  • Private Mail in Estonia