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first issues > countries > vietnam, north and south


16th August 1951

Asia 14

South Vietnam
North Vietnam
  1951 Sc1 SG61 [1951] Sc1a SG-N5a

Description Design / Date Scott# SG# Mi# Y&T# Notes
South Vietnam
10 cents olive-green 1 1 61     Bongour Falls
2oc deep plum 1 2 62      
30c blue 1 3 63      
50c red 1 4 64      
60c brown 1 5 65      
1 piastre chestnut-brown 1 6 66      
1.20p yellow brown 2 7 57     Emperor Bao-Dai
2p purple 1 8 58      
3p dull blue 2 9 69     earliest issue according to Gibbons
5p green 1 10 70      
10p crimson 1 11 71      
15p red brown 1 12 72      
30p blue-green 2 13 73      
North Vietnam
100 dong brown 1951 1 N5     Ho Chi Minh
100d brown 1955 1a N5a     perf 11¼
100d green 1951 2 N4      
100d green 1955 2a N4a     perf 11¼
200d rec 1951 3 N6      
200d rec 1955 3a N6a     perf 11¼

From Wikipedia, "Vietnam was part of Imperial China for over a millennium, from 111 BC to AD 939. An independent Vietnamese state was formed in 939, following a Vietnamese victory in the Battle of Bạch Đằng River. Successive Vietnamese royal dynasties flourished as the nation expanded geographically and politically into Southeast Asia, until the Indochina Peninsula was colonized by the French in the mid-19th century. Following a Japanese occupation in the 1940s, the Vietnamese fought French rule in the First Indochina War, eventually expelling the French in 1954. Thereafter, Vietnam was divided politically into two rival states, North and South Vietnam. Conflict between the two sides intensified in what is known as the Vietnam War. The war ended with a North Vietnamese victory in 1975.

Vietnam was then unified under a communist government but remained impoverished and politically isolated. In 1986, the government initiated a series of economic and political reforms which began Vietnam's path towards integration into the world economy.[8] By 2000, it had established diplomatic relations with all nations. Since 2000, Vietnam's economic growth rate has been among the highest in the world, and, in 2011, it had the highest Global Growth Generators Index among 11 major economies. Its successful economic reforms resulted in its joining the World Trade Organization in 2007. It is also an historical member of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie. Vietnam remains one of the world's four remaining one-party socialist states officially espousing communism." [accessed 7th July 2016]

National Front for the
Liberation of South Vietnam
1963 Sc1-3

Tim Balm wrote in the FICC Journal, Oct-Dec 2012, Volume 20 Number 4 Page 8 that,

"I am sure that most of us in FICC have the first issues of Vietnam (Sc#1, issued 1951, top stamp shown below right, 75%), South Vietnam (Sc#27, issued 1955, middle stamp shown below right, 75%), and North Vietnam (Sc#1, issued 1951, bottom stamp shown below right, 75%). However, I suspect that very few members have the Vet Cong first issued stamps in their album.
As a recap of the politics involved, the French territories of Cochin China, Tonkin and Annam combined to form Vietnam in 1949. The Communist Viet Minh forces were already fighting against the French at that time. The French were defeated in 1954, and the country officially divided at the 17th parallel into North Vietnam and South Vietnam. The war continued, however, with the Communist North Vietnamese forces battling the South Vietnamese and American forces until the Americans withdrew and the two Vietnams reunited in 1976.
During the period from 1954 to 1976, the Viet Cong, a group of South Vietnamese people that were sympathetic to the Communist cause, also fought against the Americans using guerilla warfare tactics. By 1960, the Viet Cong formed the National Liberation Front, or NLF, to encourage noncommunists to aid their cause. Although the NLF was never recognized by the UPU, they issued their own stamps that were used fairly widely. These stamps are listed in both the Gibbons and Michel catalogues (and maybe Yvert & Tellier, I do not know).
The NLF’s first set of stamps, shown at left, each has the same design depicting the Viet Cong flag and the words INDEPENDENCE, DEMOCRACY, PEACE AND NEUTRALITY in English (SG#1), French (SG#2) and Spanish (SG#3) All were issued ungummed out of Hanoi."

It was reported in the FICC Journal, Nov21-Jan22, Volume 29 Number 4 Page 6 that,

"Volume 6B of the 2022 edition of Scott now lists stamps for Viet Cong (also known as the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam). These listings are found between the listings for South Viet Nam (Republic of Viet Nam) and North Viet Nam (Democratic Republic). Seventy stamps are listed for Viet Cong.
The first issue is a set of 3 stamps issued on October 5, 1963. The 3 stamps have the same 20-Xu denomination and differ only by being printed in 3 languages: English (Sc#1), French (Sc#2) and Spanish (Sc#3). The Sc#1 has an SCV (mint or used) of $6.50 and the set of 3 has an SCV (mint or used) of $19.50."

Vietnam Democratic Republic
Independent State
South Vietnam,
Independent State
1945 Sc1L1 SG17 1951 Sc1 SG61 1955 Sc27 SG-S1
South Vietnam,
National Front for the
Liberation of South Vietnam
North Vietnam
1956 Sc36 SG-S11 1963 Sc1 SG-NLF1 1946 Sc SG-N1
North Vietnam
Central Annam
North Vietnam
General Issues
Socialist Republic
1950 Sc1 SG-NA5 1954 Sc6 SG-NA14 1975 Sc830 SG99

Postally, starting with the Gibbons structure:

Gibbons SG Date Scott
Vietnam Democratic Republic,
Indo-China overprints and surcharges
1-60 §
North Vietnam
Independent State, within the French Union
South Vietnam
- Independent State, within the French Union
South Vietnam
- Republic
National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam
North Vietnam, Vietnam Democratic Republic
- Tongking
Republic of North Vietnam
1-829 §
- Central Annam
- General Issues
Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Socialist Republic of Vietnam

These are the FICC #1s for South Vietnam and North Vietnam
§ The catalogues differ on the sequencing of issues.
The first set of three are simiilar designs but with inscriptions in English, French and Spanish. The English version is shown.

International Commission,
International Commission,
Laos and Vietnam
1954 India Sc1
1954 India Sc1

International Commission in Indo-China

India, Canada and Poland supplied troops under the International Control Commisions for Indo-China in 1954 and India organised their postal services using overprinted Indian stamps. Gibbons lists these as a separate entity in Part 21, South East Asia, Scott lists them after India, with sections for Cambodia, Laos, Laos and Vietnam, and Vietnam.

Sources: ScS, SGP21, Wikipedia.

Images from David Olson, ebay.

FI ref: 635, 643 Page credit: NB

Page created 30 Jun 2016 Page updated 31-Oct-2021