South Vietnam

Military Free Frank 1960

South Vietnam; July 1st 1960; Military Free Frank (Michel Nr. M 1a); this stamp was issued without a nominal value for members of the South Vietnamese military (Army of the Republic of Vietnam) and handed out at no charge and at a rate of two stamps per month. This practice ended the postage free military mail status that existed until then. The free frank was sufficient for a standard letter at the surface rate. Additional services (i.e air mail, registered letters, express letters, etc.) had to be paid in addition at the prevailing tariff. Contrary to most South Vietnamese stamps this stamp was produced locally in Vietnam. As a result it is of poorer printing quality and man error stamps that normally would have been destroyed by the printer came to market.

The stamp comes in two printings that differ in colors and in the rouletting that was applied to separate the stamps. The first printing was issued on July 1st, 1960 and is characterized by the dark green color and rouletting that features very small points where the paper is still connected while the second printing was issued on October 31st, 1960 and shows light green color and a rouletting that shows a wider spacing where the paper is still attached between the separation create by the rouletting. Here are the mint stamps. The first printing is on the left.

Postally used stamp of the first printing.

A folded letter aerogramme with the same image was also produced in two printings.

The first one is darker in colors and the red inscription in Vietnamese on the reverse is longer (Type I).

The second is lighter in colors and the red inscription in Vietnamese on the reverse is shorter (Type II).

Block of 30 stamps that shows two errors: the yellow-orange color is moved 8mm too high creating a white path in the middle of the stamp and all of the dark-brown/black color is missing.

Prisoner of War correspondence form used the ARVN Prisoner of War Camp E3 in Bien Hoa using the light green second printing of the military free frank and cancelled with the “mute” Quan Buu military cancel.

Single franking of the dark green first printing on a letter sent by a member of the military (KBC 4091/Quan Tre Military School) in May of 1964 to a civilian in Saigon. Cancelled with the “mute” Quan Buu military cancel. Black circular KBC cachet on front.

Single franking of the dark green first printing on a letter sent by a member of the military (KBC 4091/Quan Tre Military School) in December of 1969 to a civilian in Ha Giang. Cancelled with the “mute” Quan Buu military cancel. Black circular KBC cachet on front. Quan Buu transit cancel on the reverse.

Single franking of the dark green stamp on a letter sent in January of 1973 by a member of the military in KBC 4691 located in Chon Thanh to a civilian in Tan Dinh. Cancelled with the “mute ” Quan Buu military cancel. Red circular KBC cachet on front.

Single franking of the dark green stamp on a letter (full contents preserved) sent in September of 1961 by a member of the military in KBC 4091 a military Training  Academy located in Quan Tre to a civilian in Nha Trang. Cancelled with the “mute ” Quan Buu military cancel. Black circular KBC cachet on front. Saigon machine transit cancel on the reverse.

Single franking of the day green stamp from the first printing on a domestic folded letter with the leaping soldier cachet (Type I red imprint on the reverse) sent by a civilian in Gia Dinh to a member of the military (KBC 4522/Headquarter Artillery Battery). Cancelled with the civilian Saigon circular cancel.

Philatelic product using the first printing of the stamp (dark green/yellow-orange color) on a domestic letter sent in June of 1973. Nothing is known about KBC 3736 except that letters from the unit have only shown up between June 13th through June 30th of 1973. Cancelled with the “mute” Quan Buu military cancel.

Philatelic product with a multiple franking using the first printing of the stamp (dark green/yellow-orange color) on a domestic letter sent in May of 1973 from KBC 3799 (located in Binh Duong) .  Cancelled with the “mute” Quan Buu military cancel. Red circular KBC cachet on front.

Single franking of the light green stamp from the second printing on a domestic air mail letter sent from Saigon to Cholon in April of 1968. Usually cancelled by the civilian Saigon Ben.Thanh cancel. Black propaganda cachet referencing “French Day” on front.

Single franking of the light green stamp from the second printing on a domestic folded letter with the leaping soldier cachet (Type II red imprint on the reverse) sent by a member of the military (KBC 4091/Military Training Academy in Quan Tre) to a civilian in Khanh Hoa. Cancelled with the “mute” Quan Buu military cancel. Black KBC cachet on front. Cam Ranh transit cancel on the reverse.

Registration No. 200275

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