North Vietnam, Postage Due Stamps with numeric design, December 1st, 1958, Michel Nr. P15-18; Given the postage tarif increases at the end of 1957 postal authorities apparently felt it necessary to issue new postage due stamps. So far 50 Dong was the largest value (issued in 1955). Four values were printed (10D, 20D, 100D and 300D). Michel and Scott report that the stamps were perforated 12.5 but the Vietnamese Postage Stamp Catalogue indicates a perforation of 13.0. Below is the official stamp bulletin that ws released upon the issuance of these stamps. Note that the perforation indicated there is 11.5.So the editor measured all the stamps in his collection and it turned out that all of his stamps measured 12.75. So, it appears that none of the catalogue makers is correct here. The perforation holes were very small resulting in general poor perforation of the issue. Well perforated stamp are rare and they hence deserve a surcharge. The stamps were produced in sheets of 100 stamps each. These are the last postage due stamps issued in North Vietnam until today. For unknown reasons the country reverted to the “T” or “T.T.” hand stamps that were applied to the envelope as previously used in Indochina to indicate any postage due. Below is the official bulletin issued by the Vietnamese Philatelic Department that announces the issuance of these stamps. Note the wrong perforation reference (11.5).

Here is the mint set.

Mint set in blocks of four:

All used stamps available are cancelled to order. At least the editor in over 25 years of collecting Vietnamese stamps has never seen postally used stamps that were off cover.

There is a re-occuring plate error on the 100 Dong stamps on which the red dot under “D” and to the right of “100” is missing. Here is a mint block of four with the error stamp at the top right.

Complete letters with these stamps are exceedingly rare. By definition they were only used on under-paid incoming domestic or international letters. That meant that the only way to collect covers was inside Vietnam. Due to the very humid climate that destroyed paper in a matter of years, perpetual warfare in the country and a chronic raw material shortage virtually all of the envelopes that may have carried these stamps were destroyed. The editor has only seen these two envelopes that bear them. They are both ex Klewitz. Klewitz wanted to collect all of North Vietnam’s stamps on cover and so was already tuned in to them in the late 1950’s. These two covers represent modern rarities.

Here is a local letter that was mailed inside Hanoi but franked with only a 50D stamp. The correct tariff however was 150 Dong at the time. This meant that it was under-paid by 100 Dong. In order to discourage people to enter under-paid letters into the mail stream the penalty for under-paid postage was one hundred percent. So, the postage office attached two 100 Dong Postage Due stamps to cover the additional postage due.

Klewitz also intentionally sent under-franked letters from his home in Fulda, West Germany to his contact in Vietnam. Here is  very rare letter sent on January 13th, 1959 to Hanoi via Peking (now called Beijing). Note that he annotated the top left of the letter with the weight (10g) and the fact that it was sent as “Printed Matter (imprimes)”. On arrival in Hanoi on January 29th, 1959 the post office added one of the 100D and one of the 300D postage due values to account for the underpayment plus penalty.

Registration Nr. 100090

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