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Sunday, September 6, 2009

Stamp Investment Tip: South Vietnam 1955 Refugees on a Raft Issue (Scott #30-35)

The French withdrawal from Vietnam, following their defeat at Dien Bien Phu, resulted in the 1954 Geneva Accords, which granted independence to Vietnam, and divided it into northern and southern zones. One of the consequences of this re-alignment was a flood of refugees escaping the North (controlled by the communist Viet Minh, led by Ho Chi Minh) to emigrate to the South. Many of the refugees escaped on rafts.

The plight of these original "boat people" was commemorated by South Vietnam in 1955, with the issuance of the "Refugees on a Raft" set (Scott #30-35). Only 100,000 sets were issued, and Scott '12 prices the unused set at $ 144.00. It is extremely attractive, utilizing the dramatic style of coloration and engraving characteristic of many modern issues of the French colonies, and appeals to Transportation topicalists.

It is somewhat ironic that Vietnam, avowedly communist following the Vietnam War, has now begun to embrace capitalism, and has one of the most rapidly growing economies in the Far East. With 80 million hard-working, industrious people, and another 3 million overseas Vietnamese, many of whom still possess a sentimental attachment to their mother country, it seems inevitable that the better stamp issues of both Vietnams, and also the earlier French colonies of Indochina and Annam and Tonkin, will do well in the coming years.

Regarding North Vietnam and unified Vietnam (post-1975), while there are some issues which may be suitable for investment, it is possible that certain ostensibly "scarce" stamps have been hoarded by corrupt government officials, who await an opportunity to dump them on the market. I advise taking a wait-and-see attitude.

In any case, I recommend accumulation of the "Boat People" set as a solid long-term investment, which will reflect the future economic growth of Vietnam.


  1. I am curious at the comment regarding hording by corrupt government officials. What type of issues are you talking about? Things from the 50's, 70's or 80's? I see on EBay there are sellers from Hanoi that keep supply large amount of impef sets from late 70's to 80's.

    I like Vietnam stamps. They are topical and very pretty. I think of them as PRC stamp 30 years ago. I am thinking sell some of my PRC stamp duplicates and start buy Vietnam stamps. I just want to know what period to avoid. Thanks.

    By the way I really like your blog.

  2. The comment regarding hoarding and dumping came from a discussion with a source who must remain nameless, and it applies to unspecified issues of North Vietnam and later issues of unified Vietnam (post 1975). There simply isn't enough information available about the issues of North Vietnam to determine what's out there, so I regard even the "better" seemingly scarce to rare items as extremely speculative.