Unified Vietnam, For Military Personell 1975, May 19th, 1975, Michel Nr. M25; A stamp without a nominal was issued as a military free frank in the same design as the stamp issued in 1973 but this time in a orange-red base color, in a slightly smaller size and with the inscription “BUU CHINH” instead of “TEM QUAN DOI”. The stamp was perforated 11 but it has also been observed in perforation 10.75 (not catalogued so far).
Here is the mint stamp in the perforation variety 10.75
Mint block of four in perforation 11.0
There are some color variations that can be observed. The left stamp shows the standard orange-red base color while the right stamp shows more of a salmon color. Also note that the black was printed first and red second on the left stamp while it was the other way round on the right stamp.
This stamp was not officially released imperforate however a small number of imperforate trial proofs have come to market. Here is one which shows an imperfect impression of the black color.
Here is the official trial proof that was presented to postal authorities in order to make the final decision on printing the stamp. Note the much clearer print, the slightly darker color, the flat newsprint type paper and the positional marks surrounding the stamp.
First Day Cover
Beware of forged First Day Covers. Here is a sample of a forgery. It shows the wrong first date of issuance and also is cancelled with a canceler using the five digit zip code. These new type cancels were only introduced in 1977/1978 so could not have been available in 1973.
Here is a sample of North Vietnamese Army ID Card (front and back) from 1975 when the stamps issued.
Single franking (Perf. 11.0) on a letter sent by a member of the NVN military (Note the Hom Thu number in the sender line) sent to Saigon in February of 1976. Note the red propaganda cachet that states “Voters go vote”. Full contents preserved. The writer writes about spending the past two months in Laos and that he did not receive any mail during the whole time. He also states that he is to return to Laos in 15 days. This documents that the NVN Army kept using Laos territory even after the fall of Saigon.
Here is a rather ratty and soiled cover with a single franking (Perf. 11.0) of the stamp from November of 1975 that would normally be discarded were it not for the fact that it originated by the NVN troops that liberated the former U.S. Navy base at Cam Ranh Bay. The cancel is the type using the Mien Nam “M.N.” addition that was added after the fall of Saigon. Illegible transit cancel on the reverse.
Here is a single franking with the stamp (Perf. 10.75) in the rarer salmon base color and sent in October of 1976 from Cho Bim to Ha Bac. Lac Nam transit cancel on the reverse.
Military free franks were not valid on international mail as they carried no nominal value and were handed out free of charge as a social cause. Here is a rare international letter that was sent by a member of the NVN military to an organization in East Germany in February of 1976. The letter may have been of the second eight level which is why the sender used two stamps, however, the Vietnamese postal clerk realized that these stamps were invalid which prompted the application of a black “T” (Postage due) hand stamp. It indicated that the letter was short of 60xu which prompted a delivery charge of 1.20D (including the 100% penalty) that was later collected in East Germany. There a violet hand stamp “Nachgebuehr” (postage due) was applied. The blue “50” on the cover indicates that the East German postal clerk collected 50 Pfenning which apparently was the equivalent too the 1.20D. Very unusual usage.
Registration Nr. 102311