North Vietnam, Fulfilment of the 1. Five Year Plan, December, 1965, Michel Nr. 420-422; Three stamps, all with a 12 xu nominal, were issued perforated 11.0.
Mint set in blocks of four:
Here are two very rare imperforate trial proof sheetlets of two of the values. Note the additional blue printing run on the reverse of the blue 12xu sheetlet.
Here is a true piece of history. It is a combat cover (sometimes also referred as a bullet-hole cover) that was taken by either an ARV or an American soldier after wounding or killing a North Vietnamese mail man. Each side in the conflict was trying to gain an advantage by securing intelligence from the enemy so mail personell were a valuable target. It was a requirement that all mail taken in combat was to be handed over to the intelligence branch for translation and analysis which makes this type of mail so rare these days. So, most of these covers ended up in the files of the CIA or were destroyed after analysis. It was illegal to retain them but some service men nevertheless kept some envelopes as war trophies. This cover clearly shows the marks of bullet holes or shrapnel damage that was inflicted in the fight. The letter was addressed to another military unit as indicated by the Hom Thu Nr. on front. This address is thought to represent a collection point for letters that were intended for recipients located in the South as it shows up repeatedly on mail from different senders. The stamp was cancelled by a rare rural military cancel that had no fixed date line but required the postage clerk to enter the date manually. According to Ta Phi Long these type of roving cancels would be carried by the unit so they were used in various locations. It contains a letter that, when folded, lines up perfectly with the bullet holes. The sender lived in Cao Bang, near the border with China. He just spent a year training in China to be a mechanic and truck driver. The person was full of rhetoric beyond the typical brainwashed propaganda to the point of being fanatical. The letters date the cover from November, 1967. Very rare!
Letter franked with a pair of the entire set 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.
Rare local letter properly franked with 12 xu of a military service member mailed to Hanoi. Most local letters got destroyed in the multi-decadal war, the very humid climate that could destroy paper in a matter of years and constant paper recycling efforts intended to save on precious raw materials. The letter was mailed from army unit Buu Cuc 13, post office unit 13B with a mute cancel that lacked both, date and city. This was done for secrecy reasons so that troop movements could not be detected by the enemy. Also this made the canceler universally usable across the entire country. Hanoi arrival cancel of August 1st, 1966. Typical military “aircraft shot down” propaganda cachet on the left.
Another rare single franking of the red-orange 12 xu stamp on a letter sent to Budapest, Hungary.
This rare local letter properly franked with 12 xu was mailed from a civilian in Ninh Ninh to a member of the army unit Buu Cuc 13X. The propaganda cachet at the bottom reads: Our joint efforts are resulting in a harvest yield of 5 tons rice per hectare.
Letter sent from Hanoi to Jena, East Germany to a fellow Vietnamese sent in January of 1969 using a single of the blue 12 xu stamps for a rare single franking of this issue. The standard letter rate to fellow Socialist countries stood at 12 xu as of March 1st, 1960
Rare single franking on a letter that was most likely mailed as printed matter (the back flap was left open for postal inspection) from a Women’s Organization to Paris, France. The standard letter rate to Western countries at the time amounted to 50xu so clearly 12xu would have been insufficient for a letter to Paris.
Single franking of the blue 12xu value featuring a very unusual bar cancel (unfortunately illegible) on a patriotic letter to Leipzig, East Germany.
This is a rather interesting international letter. The domestic standard letter postage of 12 xu was also available for mailings to fellow socialist countries in what was likely a member of the armed forces recuperating from an injury in a rehabilitation center in Czechoslovakia. The letter was mailed from Phu-Ly, a small town south of Hanoi, by another soldier in unit Buu Cuc 22A through the civilian postal system (otherwise a mute cancel would have been used). The sender’s writing of the unit number was improper but apparently was not sanctioned in this case.
Very rare international letter most likely sent in the late 1960’s from the coastal city of Hai-Hung to a fellow Vietnamese who was studying in East Berlin, East Germany. The Five Year Plan stamps are cancelled with a red mute military cancel that was used by temporary post offices that were et up after permanent locations had been destroyed in American air raids or ship artillery attacks. Given that the postage applied was 48xu this letter must have been of the fourth weight level.
Mixed franking on a letter sent by a member of the North Vietnamese Armed Forces to a fellow Vietnamese in Hungary (note the mute cancel that was used) . The letter carried the red 12xu Five Year Plan stamp plus a 6xu Day of Labor stamp for a total postage of 18xu. Letters to fellow socialist countries only cost 12xu so this letter must have ben of the second weight level.
Mixed franking of two of the red 12xu Five Year Plan stamps plus the 50xu Space Exploration stamp for an overall postage of 74xu on a patriotic air mail cover from Hai Phong to France.
Mixed franking of the red 12xu Five Year Plan stamp together with the 1D Woschod stamp for an overall postage of 1.12D on a letter sent to France.