In Vietnam, immediately after their invasion of South Vietnam in 1859, the French colonialists had organized postal services, mainly for military purpose and French senior official at that time.
According to many archives, the first postage stamp officially circulated in Cochinchina (now South Vietnam) in 1863 by the French colonialists. The stamp features the image of imperial eagle. This stamp was used in all French colonies (the difference had been only seen on the postmarks of each colony).
Most of researchers share the view that the first type of commercial stamps appeared in Vietnam in the period between 1886 and 1887, overprinted with the letters C.CH (abbreviation of Cochinchine - now South Vietnam).
In 1888, this kind of stamps was widely used by French colonialists of which in central Vietnam was overprinted with the letter A (abbreviation of ANNAM - now central of Vietnam) and used in northern Vietnam were over-printed with the letter T (abbreviation of TONKIN - now North Vietnam).
In 1889, the Indochinese stamps officially came into being and were used in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. These were colonial stamps over-printed with "INDO-CHINE", the number 1889 or 89, the two letters R and D and the number 5 (the letter R is the abbreviation for RICHAUD, the French Governor’s surname; and the letter D - DEMARS the surname of the Postmaster general)
From 1941 to 1945, almost all of Indochinese stamps were designed by Vietnamese painters and printed in Vietnam as well.
On 2 September 1945, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam proclaimed the independence. The young Republic could not immediately issue its own stamps, so some of the Indochinese stamps were temporarily used with surcharged "DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM’, "INDEPENDENCE, FREEDOM, HAPPINESS’, "POSTS", "FAMINE RELIEF" and "PEOPLE’S LIVELIHOOD"...
Altogether, 13 different inscriptions were overprinted on 53 different Indochinese stamps converting into 57 Vietnamese stamps.
On 2 September 1946, marking the first National Day of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, the Postal Administration of Vietnam issued the stamp-set featuring the President Ho Chi Minh’s portrait upon decree No. 172/SL signed on August 27th by the Government President. This stampset consisting of 5 values of the same design with different colours and face values designed by painter Nguyen Sang. Among these denominations, there were two with extra-tax for national salvation. The issuance of this stamp-set was an important stage in the development of Vietnam Postage Stamps.
In the arduous years of the resistance war against the French colonialists (1946 - 1954), the Postal Administration of Vietnam also issued postage stamps in order to meet the need for pre-paid postage on postal network and at the same time to popularize the Party and State’s policies and victories of the Vietnamese people and army such as the stamp-set: "Production and thrift", "Dien Bien Phu victory", "Liberation of the capital" etc. Stamps were printed by the most rudimentary means, using all the local material available, even perforated by sewing machine or other rudimentary tools.
Noteworthy was that some stamps were printed with face values in kilograms of rice. The first stamps of such kind are the series "Production and thrift" issued in 1953 with 4 face values of 0K600, 1K000, 2K000, and 5K000.
By the victory at Dien Bien Phu, the French Government was forced to sign the Geneva Agreement and the peace restored in North Vietnam. Since then, a new stage of development has been opened to Vietnam postage stamps.
From 1945 to 1975, Vietnam had undergone an extraordinary historical change. There existed several political regimes in the country and they all issued their own postage stamps. Historically, there were two major ideologies of stamps, namely:
A - Postage stamps issued by Revolution Government
They included stamps issued by Revolution Administrations in different periods.
I - Postage stamps issued by the Democratic Republic of Vietnam:
1 - The over-printed Indochinese stamps: 1945 - 1946 (temporary stamps).
2 - The stamps issued by the Democratic Republic of Vietnam:
From 2 September 1946 to 24 June 1976, circulated in North Vietnam.
II - Postage stamps issued by the Socialist Republic of Vietnam:
Since 24 June 1976, circulated all over the country.
III - Postage stamps issued by the National Front for Liberation of South Vietnam:
From 20 December 1963 to 1969,
And Postage stamps issued by Provisional Revolutionary Government of Republic of South Vietnam
From 22 April 1970 to 24 June 1976.
Circulated in the liberated zones of South Vietnam
B - Postage stamps issued by other regimes.
I - Indo-chinese stamps: from 1889 to 1949
and II - Vietnam National stamps (Bao Dai): from 1951 to 1955
Circulated in temporarily occupied areas.
II - Stamps of the Republic of Vietnam (former Saigon puppet regime):
From 1956 to 1975, circulated in the areas under the control of the former Saigon puppet regime.
By the 30 April 1975 victory, South Vietnam was completely liberated and Vietnam reunified, the stamps issued by Saigon puppet regime terminated its circulation.
From: Vietnam Stamp Company (COTEVINA) "..a state-run self-accounting enterprise affiliated to Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Corporation."
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