North Vietnam, Cencus, February 20th, 1960, Michel Nr. 120-121; Identifying details on the national population became crucial after the war in order to better prioritize economic development under the communist planing regiment. As a result a first census was conducted in 1960 that yielded a population of 34.7 million people (Wikipedia). The population in 2016 amounted to 92.7 million people (Wikipedia). Two stamps were issued in the nominals of 1 xu and 12 xu. The 1 xu stamp was a pure extension value while the 12 xu stamp covered the standard domestic letter rate.

Here is a mint block of four of the set

Postally used set. Postally used stamps are at least ten times rarer than cancelled to order stamps.

Printing errors are known as can be seen on the upper stamp on this pair (printed on slightly tanned paper). Due to a print flaw or plate error (it has not been determined which version applies). The “U” in “Chu” and the “CO” in “Cong” is missing from the inscription on top.

Here is a very rare imperforate trial print in blue color of the 1 xu value, printed on slightly tanned paper.

The issue was rich in plate error as pointed out here by the annotations of Klewitz. He writes that the sheet of 100 stamps was made of of two identical cliches of 50 stamps. He indicates that hence plate flaws exist on stamps 19 and 69, 30 and 80 and finally 50 and 100 of each sheet. 

Here is an image of the top left stamp the shows that parts of the red background are missing.

This plate flaw on the bottom right stamp shows the red in the elbow of the depicted woman broken.

None of these plate flaws have bee catalogued yet.

There are also small printing flaws that exist. Here are two postally used stamps of the 12 xu value that both show “a comet” to the left of the star.

Letters with the stamps are rare. Here Here is a letter mailed one day after the first day of issuance to Theo Klewitz in West Germany.  The letter features both values of the set plus other new currency values for an overall postage of 20 xu, which was insufficient for a mailing to West Germany at that time (required rate of 50 xu). However, the clever sender wrote Cong HOa Dan Chu Duc which stood for East Germany and a standard letter to East Germany only cost 12 xu. So this letter may have been heavier than the standard 20 grams.

Colorful mixed franking from 1960 featuring stamps from five different sets from the time. The overall postage amounted to 30xu. The letter rate to Western countries, such as England, amounted to 50xu as of March 1st, 1960. So, while this letter was under-franked this was not noted by the postal clerks.

Colorful mixed franking of the 30xu Artist stamp with other NVN stamps (including the 1xu Cenus stamp) for an overall postage of 72xu. The letter, sent from Bin Luc (small post office)  was addressed to Theo Klewitz in West Germany and so should have cost 50xu postage plus 60xu registration fee for a total of 1.10D. However, the sender only wrote “Germany” on the envelope leaving it open if the letter was going to East or West Germany. The postal clerk hence accepted the lower 12xu postage to East Germany by mistake.

Mixed currency franking of the old Dam and Socialist Republic stamps (120D) that were devalued by 1,000:1 on March 1st, 1959 and hence were only worth 12xu at the time of mailing. Together with the stamps in New Dong (13xu, including the 1xu Cenus stamp) the overall postage amounted to 25xu. This tariff was above the 20xu standard letter rate to fellow Socialist countries that came in force on April 15th, 1959 so the letter was most likely heavier than the standard 20g.

Rare single franking of the 12 xu stamp paying the standard letter rate to fellow socialist countries in force as of March 1st, 1960. The required tariff for postcards was only 6xu but the sender was probably not aware of this.

Here is a letter with a rarer single franking of the 12xu value sent from the East German embassy to East Germany. In this case the postage is correct.

Registered letter mailed to Klewitz on the First Day of Issuance of the 20 Years Republic issue and featuring a mixed currency franking and one of the 1 xu stamps. The Jade Temple stamp from 1958 of 150 Dong  had been devalued by 1965 (1,000:1) so it was only worth 15 xu and the overall franking amounted to 112 xu which was 2 xu above the required postage for a standard registered letter to West Germany.

Registered letter sent from Nguyen Trai to Klewitz in October of 1982. It carries a strip of three of the 50 xu Year of Child stamps that shows a printing error of the red color. Error stamps on postally used cover are very rare. There is also one of the 1 xu Census stamps. The overall postage amounted to 21.21 Dong (inlcduign the red free frank of 9 Dong). Green Fulda custom cachet on front.

Rare registered express mail letter sent to Klewitz in October of 1980. It carries the entire set plus two of the 1 xu Census stamps for an overall postage of 4.81 Dong. Fulda arrival cancel on the reverse. Green Fulda custom cachet on front. Unusual hand-made express mail label.

Very large registered envelope that features the entire perforated Soccer set. There are also a pair of the 1974 Flower series im-perforated and the rarer Post Master Perforation (15) of the 12 xu Lotus stamp. Im-perfroated stamps and Post Master Perforations on postally used cover are very rare. On front there is pair of the 1976 military free frank in both color variations the stamp is known. Military free franks were not valid for international postage due to their lacking nominal value, however it appears that the postal clerk was not familiar with that rule. 1 xu census stamp on front. The overall postage amounted to 23.13 Dong (including the red free frank for 9 Dong). Green Fulda custom cachet on front.

Registered letter sent from Nguyen Trai to Klewitz in June of 1982. The letter carries parts of the Bird of Prey and the Pigeon set plus other NVN stamp for an overall postage of 10.86 Dong (including the red free frank for 7.7 Dong). Census stamp on the reverse. Green Fulda custom cachet on front.

Registration Nr. 100340

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