Unified Vietnam, For Military Personell 1976, October 21st, 1976, Michel Nr. M28; A single stamp with no nominal value was issued in perforation 11.0. The stamp comes in two printings. The fist one shows a red base color while the second printing shows a pink-carmine base color. Steve Carol member of the Society of Indochina Collectors believes that the second printing was specifically produced for Vietnamese troops in Cambodia and the stamp clearly has been used there (see cover below) but the darker stamp also occurs from other locations. Michel indicates that the second printing was done in 1977 but all of the editors letters with the stamp are from 1979 or later.

Here are both color variations sie by side. The left stamp is of the red base color while the right stamp is the pink-carmine version.

Here is a mint block of four of the orange red variety on which the top right stamp shows the plate error “broken Q in Qước”.

Detailed scan of the affected area.

Single franking of the red base color on a local letter sent from HCM City to Tien Giang in October of 1980. Go Cong Tay transit cancel on the reverse.

Single franking of the red base color on a letter sent in January of 1978 by a military guard at Long Thanh Re-Education Camp near Bien Hoa. Bottom line instructions to addresses mother to forward letter to her son. Covers sent by military guards from re-education camps are very rare. HCM City arrival cancel on the reverse.

Single franking of the stamp in pink-carmine sent by a soldier stationed in Cambodia in April of 1979 to HCM City. The letter carries a HCM City machine cancel as all mail from Cambodia was transported in bulk to HCM City first and then processed centrally.

Single franking of the stamp in pink-carmine sent in February of 1979 from HCM City to Binh Thanh. HCM City transit cancels the reverse.

These stamps were not valid for international mail as they lacked a nominal value and were handed out free of charge as social cause. Here is a letter set from a soldier in Sam Sun to a comrade in Czechoslovakia. Since the free frank was invalid for this purpose a black “T” hand stamp (postage due) was applied by the postal clerk treating the letter basically as unfranked. A 60 xu penalty was applied but there is no indication that that was in fact collected in Czechoslovakia.

Rare multiple franking of the stamp in the pink-carmine base color that must have represented the second weight level on an air mail letter sent from Hanoi to HCM City in November of 1979. Fragment of HCM City machine arrival cancel on the reverse.

Another rare multiple franking of three of the pink-carmine stamps on a local letter representing the third weight level sent from Pleicu to HCM City in November of 2006. Saigon arrival cancel on the reverse. This is the only triple franking of this stamp that the editor has ever seen.

Mixed franking of two red military free franks together with two five 5 xu Communist Party stamps sent by a  member of the military (note the Hoc Tau number in the sender line) to a civilian in HCM City in February of 1978. A single free frank was only sufficient to send a standard 20 gram inland letter. Additional services (higher weight level, registration, express) were charged in addition so this letter exceeded 20g. The envelope contains a calligraphic letter that also features a burn drawing of two Vietnamese lanterns in a tree. Very unusual.

Registration Nr. 102471

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