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Olsztyn (Ger Allenstein) is a city in north-east Poland on the Lyna River, with a population is 175,000. Olsztyn is the capital of the Warmian-Masurian Voivodship, previously Olsztyn Voivodship.

The town is beautifully situated in a lake region of forests and plains, barely touched by man. There are 11 lakes inside the administrative bounds of the town and many more surrounding it: Krzywe, Dlugie, Zbik, Redykajny and others.

For industry, it features a tire company, Stomil, a subsidiary of Michelin. There are also food processing plants and furniture manufacturers.

Nicolaus Copernicus once lived in the Olsztyn castle and was in charge of the city's defense against the Teutonic Knights.

Postage stamps

5-pfennig stamp

Originally the town was in a district of the Monastic State of the Teutonic Knights In 1920 a plebiscite was held to determine whether the people wished to become part of East Prussia or Poland. In order to avoid bias, and to advertise the plebiscite, special postage stamps were produced by overprinting German stamps and sold from 3 April. One kind of overprint read PLÉBISCITE / OLSZTYN / ALLENSTEIN, while the other read TRAITÉ / DE / VERSAILLES / ART. 94 et 95 inside an oval whose border gave the full name of the plebiscite commission. Each overprint was applied to 14 denominations ranging from 5pf to 3m.

The plebiscite was held on 11 July, with 98% of the voters opting for East Prussia. However, Olsztyn and East Prussia was denied autonomy and the district was directly incorporated into Weimar Republic. The stamps became invalid 20 August. Despite the short period of use, almost all the types of these stamps are cheaply available both used and unused.

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