North Vietnam, 4th Congress of International Democratic Women Federation, May 30th, 1958, Michel Nr. 74; Women already played a much more prominent position in Northern Vietnam society in the 1950’s, as compared to Western countries. This had to do with the fact that women had fought as equals in the war against the French but also as they were desperately needed to re-build a country that lost hundreds of thousands of people during a brutal war and due to famines and floods in the 1940’s. Vietnamese postal authorities therefore issued a single stamp to honor the International Democratic Women Federation. The nominal was 150 Dong which covered the standard domestic letter rate at the time. Michel and the Vietnamese Postage Stamp Catalogue indicate that the stamps were issued with perforation 13.0 but none of the stamps in the editors collection do match that. All of them are instead perforated 12.75, so the catalogues may be wrong here. Perforation holes were very small and often not fully punched out resulting in generally poor perforation on this issue. Well perforated stamps warrant a surcharge. Sheets contained 100 stamps each. This is the mint stamp from the top right corner of the sheet. Here is a mint block of four of the stamp. Note the small perforation holes. Most used stamps are cancelled to order. Postally used stamps such as the stamp below are worth at least ten times that of CTO stamps. Please note these stamps were produced using “line perforation” in which first one direction was perforated and then the other. This resulted in rather irregular corner perforations often leading to a missing corner. So these are part are a result of the production method and they do not mean the stamps is damaged. Rare postally used piece cut from a letter that contained two of the Women Federation stamps. Given the 500D postage it was most likely a letter sent to Eastern Europe. Letters with this stamp are quite hard to find. So far, the editor only managed to obtain a single one. Here is a mixed franking that also represents an interesting mixed currency franking. The Old Dong was devalued on March 1st, 1959 at 1,000:1, which meant that the pair of the Women Congress stamps was now worth 300D: 1,000 = 0.3 New Dong or 30 Xu. The overall franking to Czechoslovakia hence amounted 39 Xu so it was most likely sent by surface. Large envelope sent in June of 1960 by a member of the Czechoslovakian Embassy and by registered mail to Czechoslovakia. This letter is interesting in that it features a triple mix franking of official service stamps and general postage stamps in Old and New Dong. The collection of Old Dong stamps (August Revolution, Cam Phase Mine, Trade Exhibition, Peoples Sport, Union Congress and Democratic Women) amounted to a total of 3,650, the official World Union Congress stamps to 200D and as of March 1st, 1959 were worth only 3.85 New Dong. Together with the stamps in New Dong (Hong-Xuan Sluice, Radio Station Me Tri, 10 Years Peoples Republic of China, Women Day, Hung Vu’o’ng Temple and National Assembly) that amounted to 0.63xu the total postage came to 4.48 New Dong. Very unusual and rare combination.
Registration Nr. 100085

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