Unified Vietnam, 5. Congress of the Communist Party in Vietnam, February 15th or March 31st, 1982, Michel Nr. 1202-1203, Block 14; Two stamps, both with a 30 xu nominal, were issued in perforation 11. There is also an im-perforated souvenir sheet that was produced by postal authorities but the exact status of the souvenir sheet is not quite clear.

Here are the mint set and the mint souvenir sheet. The stamps come in significant different colors.

Michel Nr. 1202 in orange-red

Michel Nr. 1202 in lilaq-red (the stamp also shows a significant passer-shift of the yellow print run). This second version is much rarer than the first one.

Michel Nr. 1203 in yellow-green

Michel Nr. 1203 in blue-green

Mint souvenir sheet

Here is a very rare trial proof of the souvenir sheet (ex Klewitz) that shows lighter red and yellow colors. It was printed on previously used glossy newsprint. The back of the souvenir sheet shows a blue advertisement for a liqueur!

 

Mint block of four of Michel Nr. 1202 that shows a double printing of the red color. This was caused by an insufficiently tightened rubber mat during the printing process causing vibrations of the mat.Another double printing of the red color but this time combined with an excess of red color delivery to the printing plate. This caused the near obscuration of the country name, the words “Buu Chinh” and the nominal value.

Mint block of four stamps that shows a significant passer-shift of the dark brown (downwards) and yellow color (upwards).

Mint vertical pair. The bottom stamp shows severe production deficiencies of the red printing phase:

Here is a mint block of four that shows also a very deficient red printing phase:

Mint block of four that shows an almost complete failure of the dark brown color printing run. Also the top right stamps shows the re-occuring plate error of “white semi-circle under NAM”bottom left stamp shows the re-occuring plate error of “accent after Vietnam”.

Detailed scans of the affected areas:

Mint block of four that shows a re-occuring plate error on the top right stamp “HCM with one blind eye”:

Detailed scan of the affected area:

Here is a similar re-occuring plate error that shows “HCM with a glass eye” on the top right stamp:

Detailed scan of the affected area:

Mint block of four that shows the rare color of “red-orange” plus a significant passer-shift of the light-brown color upwards:

Mint block of four that features a passer-shift of the yellow color towards the right and a printing flaw next to the sickle.

Detailed scan of the affected area:

Mint horizontal pair that shows a significant passer-shift of the yellow color to the right:

Mint horizontal pair that shows a significant passer-shift of the yellow color to the left:

Mint block of six stamps on which the printer left his/her finger-prints:

Detailed scan of one of the areas:

Mint block of four with a passer-shift of the light brown and yellow color upwards:

Mint block of six stamps. The bottom right stamp shows a re-occuring plate error that consist of the line in the top right corner of the image. The block also features a signifiant passer-shift of the dark brown color downwards:

Detailed scan of the affected area:

Mint block of four that shows a significant passer-shift of the yellow and light brown color to the left. There is also a printing flaw of a black dot next to the sickle on the top right stamp.

Detailed scan of the affected area:

Mint block of four that shows a partial failure of the yellow printing run resulting in a hammer & sickle that is partially left white.

Details scan of the affected area:

Mint block of four stamps. All stamps show an excess of the red color run resulting in the words “Buu Chinh” and the nominal to be almost totally obscured.

Detailed scan of the affected area:

Mint top left corner block of six stamps. The corner was folded over for the perforation process resulting in a mis-perforation of the top left stamp. There is also a passer-shift of the yellow and light brown color towards the left:

Mint block of six stamps that shows horizontal double perforation strikes in-between stamps:

Mint block of four that shows a paper fold affecting three of the four stamps:

Detailed scan of the affected area:

Mint block of nine stamps that shows a paper fold affecting the right column of stamps:

Detailed scan of the affected area:

Mint block of four that shows a very deficient red printing run:

Mint block of four that shows printing flaw on the top right stamp:

Detailed scan of the affected area:

 

Printing errors and flaws have ben observed. Here is a mint block of four of Michel Nr. 1203 that shows a dark brown imprint of “Viet Nam” on the two top stamps but a very light-brown imprint on the bottom two stamps:

Passer-shifts are also known on this issue. Here is a mint block of four stamps that shows a significant shift of the brown and red color.

Another passer-shift. Here the brown color was moved too far to the right:

Passer-shift of the brown color up and paper folds on both stamps:

Detailed scan of the affected area:

Mint block of four that shows a print flaw “partial failure of the green color” on the top left stamp:

Mint pair with passer-shift of brown and red color over downwards:

Mint block of four with passer-shift of the blue and green color moved downwards. Also deficient blue color printing run resulting in color smears at the bottom of the stamps.

Here is a similar error. Strip of 20 stamps (only ten shown in the scan) that shows excessive blue ink distorting the entire lower part of the stamps:

For quite a few years, the author has wondered as to why there were no postally-used samples of the souvenir sheet for the 5th Congress of the Communist Party in Vietnam (NVN Michel Block 14). Ussed souvenir sheets issued prior to 1985 are always much rarer than mint sheets, though catalogue makers clearly haven not caught on to that. But still, after looking for years, one would expect that at least a few samples would show up at auctions or in collections over time. All the author could find until recently was what looks like a First Day Cover (Exhibit 1) and a handful of purely philatelically inspired covers that were mailed a decade, or longer after the souvenir sheet supposedly was issued.

Exhibit 1

The “First Day Cover” also shows a different issuing date (March 31, 1982) than reported by catalogue makers. So, the question is, is it real or just another fake produced by a crafty forger? Clearly, if it is a forgery, the forger did not commercialize his/her venture as no other First Day Cover has been seen by the author in the market in the last ten years.

Michel and Scott show that the souvenir sheet was issued on February 15th, 1982. The “Vietnam Postage Stamp Catalogue 1945-2005” agrees with this date as it pertains to the two postage stamps that were printed with the souvenir sheet (Michel Nr. 1202 and 1203/Scott Nr. 1167 and 1168) and that show the same theme; but, surprisingly, it does not show the souvenir sheet at all. One would presume that the State owned Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group that issued the catalogue would have better access to data than both Michel and Scott and is therefore correct. Given the evidence (or shall we say lack thereof), and the fact that other unissued Vietnamese postage stamps (i.e. Michel Nr. I through IV) are also not shown in the Vietnamese catalogue, one has to deduct that the souvenir sheet was in fact never officially issued and that Michel and Scott are simply wrong. This certainly would explain the lack of postally-used samples.

The souvenir sheet has, in fact, a serious design flaw. Usually, the nominal value of a stamp is shown on the stamp itself and not just at the border of a souvenir sheet. This makes sense as stamps cut or torn from a souvenir sheet are normally perfectly valid for postage and so need to reflect the nominal value they represent. This is not the case in the souvenir sheet for the 5th Congress of the Communist Party in Vietnam. Here, the nominal value only appears at the top right margin of the sheet itself and not on the stamp. So, it is quite feasible that postal authorities, once they realized this mistake, decided not to release the already printed souvenir sheet.

It is also interesting that this souvenir sheet is priced well above what other souvenir sheets from the same time period are valued at. Scott shows a price of $60 for a mint example and Michel values a mint and used copy at €60. How Michel came up with the price for a used sheet given that they basically do not exist is something only the catalogue maker can answer. But certainly, since there are no sales of used sheets recorded anywhere, one has to seriously question Michel’s methodology of establishing a price. Nevertheless, the price for a mint sheet clearly represents an item that (at least in the early 80s) was scarcer than the ordinary souvenir sheet from the same time. This makes sense if the sheet initially was not issued; and, hence, could not be purchased at the post office or was delivered by Xunhasaba to dealers and collectors. However, corruption of postal officials has always played a major role in Vietnam.  Postal archives were routinely raided by various postmasters to improve their meager earnings by selling items in the philatelic market. Also, supervision at the State Printing Works was pretty poor, as demonstrated by the many error stamps available from North Vietnam/Unified Vietnam. So, it is very likely that some samples of the already printed sheets were initially slowly leaked into the philatelic market by people who had access to them. In later years, that trickle apparently became a flood as the souvenir sheet is now widely available on all philatelic websites often for less than $5. Michel and Scott catalogue pricing for mint sheets are totally off the mark in this regard and still appear to reflect the situation of the early 80s.

Recently the editor was able to purchase a large part of the Klewitz Collection. In it Klewitz reported that the souvenir sheet was issued on February 15th but he also stated that it was withdrawn by postal authorities within a few days of issuance. Klewitz also stated that the sheet retained its postal value and was still valid for postage after the withdrawal. Klewitz was a major news source for the Michel catalogue so the information in Michel most likely comes from him. In looking at Klewitz’ extensive collection it becomes clear that he would normally be sent a letter of newly issued stamps and souvenir sheets by his Vietnamese contacts within a few weeks or months of issuance. While this was the case with the stamps (Michel Nr. 1202 and 1203) of this issue, this did not happen with the souvenir sheet. It was only in March of 1984 that a letter with the souvenir sheet was finally sent to him. This would support the “slow leaking” theory as outlined above.

Registered letter sent from Nguyen Trai to Klewitz on March 19th, 1984. The letter carries the set and the souvenir sheet  for an overall postage of 8.10 Dong (including the red free frank for 6.50 Dong). Unusual red cancel. Frankfurt Airport transit and Fulda arrival cancels on the reverse. Green Fulda custom cachet  on front. This is one of the two postally used samples the editor has seen so far and hence is extremely rare. 

The second postally used specimen also is ex Klewitz. It is a very large registered letter that was sent to Klewitz in April of 1986. It contains the 1982 souvenir sheet plus other HCM souvenir sheets issued in 1975 and 1984. The letter also carries a military free frank issued in 1981. Military free franks were not valid for international postage due to the missing nominal value. However, it appears that the postal clerk accepted the stamp in contravention of postal regulations. The letter overall is franked with 49.64 Dong. Unusual red cancel. Green Fulda custom cachet on front. Again this is an extremely rare postal mailing of Block 14.

The author would be very interested to hear from other collectors if they have any used examples of this souvenir sheet in their possession; and, if yes, when it was cancelled. Does anyone else have a First Day Cover of this sheet? Please use the “Contact Us” feature to write to the author.

Registered letter sent from Nguyen Rai to Klewitz in March of 1982. It carries the stamp set in different color variations and errors. Red special cancel for the opening of the Communist Congress. The overall postage amounted to 10.8 Dong. Green FUlda custom cachet on front.

Registered letter sent from Nguyen Rai to Klewitz. The letter shows different varieties of the red HCM stamp. The top stamp shows the plate error of “blind right eye” and the bottom stamp significant passer-shifts. The overall postage amounted to 8.2 Dong (including the red free frank for 4.7 Dong). Green Fulda custom cachet on front.

Registered letter sent from Nguyen Trai to Klewitz in April of 1982. Th letter carries a pair of the  green Communist Party stamp with the top stamp showing the plate error “Vietnam in dark brown”. The reverse carries a large block of twenty-four Flower stamps with a red color error.Error stamps are very rare on postally used cover. The overall postage amounted to 11 Dong. Green Fulda custom cachet on front.

Registered letter sent from Nguyen Trai to Klewitz in August of 1982. The letter carries various error stamps of the red HCM stamps. Error stamps are very rare on postally used cover. The overall postage amounted to 11 Dong (including the red free frank for 8 Dong). Green Fula custom cachet on front.

Very large registered letter sent from Nguyen Rai to Klewitz in June of 1982.  It carries a block of six of the red 30 xu stamp with horizontal double perforation of the lilac-red color variety and a pair of the same stamps in orange-red with the right stamp showing the “glass-eye” plate error on the right stamp. Error stamps on postally used cover are very rare. The overall postage amounted to 12.84 Dong. Faint green Fulda custom cachet on front.

R

Registered letter sent from Nguyen Trai to Klewitz in August of 1982. The letter carries two of the red 30 xu stamps that show a double print of the red color and one stamp that shows “Buu Chinh” and the nominal value totally obscured by the red color. Error stamps on postally used cover are very rare. The overall postage amounted to 12.7 Dong (including the red free frank for 7.5 Dong).

Registered letter sent from Dalat to Klewitz in October of 1982. The letter carries a varieties of colors of the red 30 xu value, some passer-shifts and the “glass-eye” plate error. There is also a pair of the very rare Post Master Perforation (14) of the Lotus stamp. Error stamps on postally used cover are very rare. The overall postage amounted to 9.34 Dong (including the red free frank for 4.5 Dong).

Registered letter sent from Ho Chi Minh City to Klewitz in September of 1982. The letter carries two blocks of four of the red 30 xu value. The top right stamp of the left block shows the plate error “HCM blind on one eye” and the top right stamp of the right block shows a printing flaw of a “yellow circle next to HCM’s face”. Error stamps on postally used cover are very rare. There is also a military free frank  issued in 1981. Military free franks were not valid for international postage due to their lacking nominal value. The overall postage amounted to 31.9 Dong. Unusual red cancel. Green Fulda custom cachet on front.

Registered letter sent from Quan 5 (Ho Chi Minh City) to Klewitz in October of 1983. The letter carries a block of four pf the red 30 xu value that shows a deficient red color printing run. Error stamps on postally used cover are very rare. There is also a military free frank that was issued in 1981. Military free franks were not valid for international postage. The overall postage amounted to  29.68 Dong (including the red free frank DA3.1. Pitney Bowes-GB “6300” for 5.76 Dong). Green Fulda custom cachet on front.

Very large registered letter sent from Nguyen Trai to Klewitz in March of 1983. The letter carries a mass franking of the red 30 xu value that all show production errors, passer-shifts or plate errors. Error stamps on postally used cover are very rare. The letter also six of the rare Post Master Perforation of the Lotus stamp. There are also two military free franks issued in 1981. Military free franks were not valid for international postage but it appears that the postal clerk nevertheless accepted them. The overall postage amounted to 10.76 Dong. Fulda arrival cancel and Fulda custom cachet on the reverse.

Very large registered letter sent from Nguyen Trai to Klewitz in March of 1983. The letter carries a mass franking of the red and green 30 xu value that all show production errors, passer-shifts or plate errors. Error stamps on postally used cover are very rare. The letter also six of the rare Post Master Perforation of the Lotus stamp. There are also two military free franks issued in 1981. Military free franks were not valid for international postage but it appears that the postal clerk nevertheless accepted them. The overall postage amounted to 10.36 Dong. Fulda arrival cancel and Fulda custom cachet on the reverse.

Registered letter sent from Nguyen Trai to Klewitz in October of 1982. The letter carries the both Communist Party sets. The green 30 xu value of the set issued in February of 1982 shows a printing error of the turquoise color (excess color). Errors stamps on postally used cover are very rare. There is also a block of six of the 2 Dong Bulgaria stamp for an overall postage of 13.4 Dong. Green Fulda custom cachet on front.

Registered letter sent from Nguyen Trai to Klewitz in November of 1982. The letter carries both Communist Party sets and two of the rare Post Master Perforation (15) of the 12 xu Lotus stamp. The 30 xu stamp issued in March shows a double printing of the black color. Post Master Perforations and error stamps on postally used cover are very rare. The overall postage amounted to 13.84 Dong (including the rd free frank for 7.5 Dong). Green Fulda custom cachet on front.

Very rare air mail letter mailed from Nguyen Trai to Klewitz in September of 1983 featuring half of the im-perforated Soccer set plus some perforated stamps from the same set. There is also a 30 xu HCM stamp that shows a passer-shift of the yellow color towards the left. Im-perforated stamps and error stamps on postally used cover are very rare. The overall postage amounted to 6.71 Dong (including the red free frank for 2.19 Dong).

Another very rare air mail letter mailed from Nguyen Trai to Klewitz in September of 1983 featuring the other half of the im-perforated Soccer set plus some perforated stamps from the same set. There is also a 30 xu HCM stamp that shows a too heavy red color obscuring the words “Buu Chinh” and the nominal value.  Im-perforated stamps and error stamps on postally used cover are very rare. The overall postage amounted to 6.53 Dong (including the red free frank for 2.21 Dong).

Registered letter sent from Nguyen Trai to Klewitz in February of 1984. The letter features four of the 50 xu Bulgaria values. The two bottom stamps both show plate errors, as described above. Error stamps on postally used cover are very rare. Communist Party stamps on the reverse. The overall postage amounted to 10.7 Dong. (including the red free frank of 5.5.Dong). Unusual red cancel. Fulda arrival cancel on the reverse. Green Fulda custom cachet on front.

Registered letter sent from Nguyen Trai to Klewitz in November of 1983. The letter carries a number of the Bulgaria stamp plus two blocks of four of the HCM Communist Party stamps in two color versions. The top right stamps in each block show the plate error of “left exe of HCM covered” and “right eye of HCM missing”. The overall postage of the letter amounted to 13.5 Dong (including the red free frank for 4.9 Dong). Fulda arrival cancel on the reverse. Green Fulda custom cachet on front.

Registered air mail letter from May of 1983 featuring the Summit set plus the two color varieties of the 30xu HCM stamp from the Communist Party Congress set.  The overall postage amounted to 15.7D. The zero money free frank was required to produce the r-label for the letter. Green Fulda custom cachet on front.

Very rare air mail letter sent from Nguyen Trai to Klewitz in February of 1982. The letter carries half of the im-perforated Dahlia set, perforated Dahlia stamps plus the rare color of the HCM Communist Party stamps for an overall postage of 5.2 Dong. Im-perforated stamps on postally used cover are very rare.

Very rare air mail letter sent from Nguyen Trai to Klewitz in February of 1982. The letter carries the other half of the im-perforated Dahlia set, perforated Dahlia stamps plus the rare color of the HCM Communist Party stamps (which also shows a double print of the red color) for an overall postage of 5.4 Dong. Im-perforated stamps and error stamps on postally used cover are very rare.

Registered letter sent from Nguyen Trai to Klewitz in October of 1983. The letter carries two sets of the Environment set in different color shades. The red HCM stamp (Communist Party set) shows on over-inking of the red color that partially obscures the nominal value and Buu Chinh. Error stamps on postally used cover are very rare. There is also a pair of two military free franks issued in 1982. Military free franks were not valid for international postage due to their missing nominal value, however they appear to have ben accepted in this case. The overall postage amounted to 8.34 Dong (including the red free frank for 5.5 Dong).Green Fulda custom cacher on front.

Very rare air mail letter sent from Ho Chi Minh City to Klewitz in May of 1983. The letter carries half of the im-perforated Harmful Insects set plus other NVN stamps for an overall postage of 5.2 Dong. Im-perforated stamps on postally used cover are very rare. Communist Party stamps on the reverse.

Registered letter sent from Nguyen Trai to Klewitz in May of 1983. The letter carries two pairs of the 30 xu October Revolution stamp. The left stamp of each pair shows the plate errors of “Thang damaged” and “black line under 9 of 1982”. Error stamps on postally used cover are very rare. There are also a number of Communist Party stamps that (the HCM stamps feature both colors this stamp was produced in). The overall postage amounted to 18 Dong. Fulda arrival cancel on the reverse. Green Fulda custom cachet on front.

 

Registration No. 103140

Comments are closed.

error: Content is protected !!