Last lats-stamps due to expire at Postal Service

Residents of Latvia with stamps whose value is shown in the no-longer valid former national currency, the lat, are urged to use them up now this month, as they will no longer be honored at the state postal service Latvijas pasts beginning with the New Year, January 1, 2015, Latvian Radio reported Tuesday.

The stamps can still be traded in at postal offices for euro-nominal stamps during the entire first half of 2015.

The retail sales of stamps picks up significantly this time of year, and while the old lats-stamps are still available at postal service stations, people are mostly using 50-cent euro-nominal stamps for domestic mail, says postal center operator Jana Grīnberga at Riga’s downtown Sakta location.

Letter-senders can currently still combine the old lat-based stamps with the transition-year stamps displaying both currencies side by side, or the strictly-euro display postmarks to remain in effect after being transitioned in henceforth.

Postal service prices remain unchanged through this transition – €0.50 cents for domestic mail, €0.78 cents within the EU and €0.85 cents to the rest of the world

The service’s Philately Department chief Edmunds Bebrišs told LR “December 2014 is the final month the lat-nominal stamps will be honored. Therefore we urge all residents who have hoarded too many of these to either use them now or still use the chance to trade them in for usable euro-nominal stamps during the first half of next year.”

Over the past twenty-two years Latvia’s Postal Service has issued more than 600 various stamps. The most popular have been the series featuring Latvia’s symbols, landscapes, animals. They will remain after the full transition to euro stamps.

The postal service worker admits to harboring a certain feeling of nostalgia that the public is likely to feel too, perhaps forever: “There’s a kind of sad farewell to a good old friend, like it was with the lats. It’s a bit funny. But there will always be stamps with the name ‘Latvija’ and one will be able to tell from which nation it came.”

Bebrišs reminded the public that the stamps will retain their collectible value even after they are no longer honored as payment for courier services. He did not doubt that with time many would actually increase in their value as such.

The Postal Service itself has kept copies of its stamp issues and plans to exhibit them at some point in the future in the Postal Museum and any other philatelic shows where it will be taking part.

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