North Vietnam, First Space Flight, June 15th, 1961, Michel Nr. 166-167; Since the Soviet Union was an important ally to North Vietnam postal authorities issued two stamps to commemorate Jurij Gagarin’s first space flight. One in the nominal of 6 xu and one with 12 xu. This was the second commemorative issue that was released perforated and im-perforated. The im-perforated stamps were essentially made for collectors as there was no postal necessity for them. However, hard currency was important for many communist countries and selling stamps was an easy way to produce it.

Here is a mint set perforated 11:0

Here is a pair of the im-perforated mint set

Once in a while the 6 xu stamp is offered in rose instead of violet, however, the editor is not convinced that this is an actual color mis-print as the deviation is just too obvious to have been overlooked by quality control. More likely the rose stamps are color changelings. Sun exposure or exposure to certain solvents will affect certain stamp colors.

Rare single franking of the 6xu value on a postcard from Hanoi to Bukarest, Romania paying the correct postcard tariff. Note the error in the cancel that shows the “upside-down 1 in 61” error. Bukarest arrival cancel.

Rare single franking of the 12 xu value on a sent to Czechoslovakia on September 11th, 1961, a few months after the stamp was issued. The postal tariff to fellow Socialist countries had been reduced from 20 xu to 12 xu on March 1st, 1960 which meant that a local letter cost the same as this international air mail letter. Note that the Hanoi canceller shows an error. The “1” in “61” is set upside-down into the cancel.

Another rare single franking of the 12xu value on a letter from Hanoi to Prague, Czechoslovakia.

Here is a very rare letter (ex Klewitz). It features the complete perforated and im-perforated set on a cover mailed in June, 1961. Im-perforated stamps on postally used covers are very rare. Most im-perforated stamps simply vanished in collectors albums and were hence not used. The cover also features other North Vietnam stamps from 1961 for an overall postage 73 xu. This was too little for a cover mailed to West Germany but the sender simply wrote CHDC Duc on the address (= East Germany) and so it became acceptable to the postal clerk. The standard letter rate to a fellow socialist country such as East germany was only 12 xu and the registration fee amounted to 60 xu so the 73 xu postage was fine in the eyes of the clerk. The postage to West Germany would have been 50 xu for the standard letter plus 60 xu for registration for a total of 1.10 Dong.

Air mail letter sent from Hanoi to East Germany in June of 1961. The letter was franked with the 12xu Gagarin stamp plus one 1xu Young Pioneer stamps for an overall postage of 13xu. This appears to be 1xu above the required tariff of 12xu that came in force as of March 1st, 1960.

Letter franked with one of the 12 xu stamps sent to Klewitz in February of 1966. It is an interesting mixed currency franking. The pre 1959 stamps (960 Old Dong) had been devalued 1,000: 1 in March of 1959 so they were only worth 96 xu in 1966. Interesting also the use of the 150 Dong Official stamp from 1958. Normally these stamps were only available to Government Offices, Non-Governmental Organizations and foreign embassies. Together with the stamps in new currency the letter had an overall franking of 1.92 Dong. Since the standard 20 gram registered letter tariff to West Germany was only  1.10 Dong this large letter must have been heavier than the standard.

Registration Nr. 100550

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