World Stamps

Demand strong for cacheted FDCs from Vietnam

Apr 19, 2023, 8 AM
A cacheted, unaddressed first-day cover for the Vietnam overprinted 35-piaster Refugees on Raft stamp (Scott 54) issued Aug. 6, 1956, recently sold for $360 after spirited bidding.

Stamp Market Tips by Henry Gitner and Rick Miller

Vietnam was part of French Indochina at the beginning of the 20th century. Located in southeast Asia, it borders China, Laos and Cambodia. Ruled as part of the Chinese Empire from 111 B.C., Vietnam’s first native dynasty emerged in 939.

French traders and Roman Catholic missionaries began arriving in the 17th and 18th centuries. The French military arrived and began extending control in the 19th century.

By 1884, France controlled the entire country divided into Cochin China in the south, Annam in the central part and Tonkin in the north. Emperors of the native Nguyen dynasty were retained as the nominal rulers of Annam.

During World War II, Japan occupied Vietnam, even though it was governed by Japan’s Axis ally, Vichy France. By the war’s end, communist guerillas controlled the northern part of the country, while France retained control of the south.

The nominally independent State of Vietnam was established in 1949 with Bao-Dai of the Nguyen dynasty as emperor. After years of war and struggle, a peace accord reached in 1954 that partitioned the country into North Vietnam and South Vietnam at the 17th parallel.

In 1955, Bao-Dai was deposed, and the Republic of Vietnam was declared in the southern part of the country. Fighting resumed between the communist north and the French and anticommunists in the south. After the French withdrew, the United States moved into the vacuum in supporting the south. The war finally ended in 1975 in victory for the north and reunification of the country under the communists.

The State of Vietnam issued its first stamps in 1951 with stamp issues continuing after the country became a republic. Demand is very strong for early unaddressed, cacheted first-day covers of South Vietnam. Some examples of recent realizations include Scott 7, $125; 9, $125; 13, $102; 36-38, $28; 39, $45; 54, $360; 239, $31; and B2, $59.

Some cachets are more sought after and valuable than others. Study the market before buying or selling.

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