Monday, June 23, 2008

Stamp Issuer - Annam and Tonkin

Annam and Tonkin

Annam and Tonkin were two French protectorates that made up the northern two-thirds of modern day Vietnam.

The story of how these two protectorates came under French control begins in the late 1800s. Both China and France desired control of that part of Asia for trade purposes. After mistreatment of French nationals in the area and for other reasons, France took it upon itself to claim colonial oversight of the regions. Following the Sino-France war in the mid 1880s, France achieved its military victory and installed Annam and Tonkin as protectorates. Together with Laos, Cambodia, and Cochin China, these ares ultimately became known as French Indochina.

Only one set of stamps was issued for Annam and Tonkin. The stamps are overprinted with "A & T" or "A - T" as an abbreviation for Annam and Tonkin. The stamps were issued in 1888. By 1892, stamps of French Indochina were used throughout the region. The stamp issue of 1888 was the only issue for the two protectorates.

A total of 6 stamps were issued (as recognized by Scott's Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue, 2009 edition). The stamps were handstamped with the overprint, so there are a lot of stamp variations in existence.

The first 3 stamps issued are affordable for almost anyone, as the stamps catalog roughly $35 apiece in mint condition and about $30 apiece in used condition.

The second 3 stamps are a completely different story, as these stamps are where most of the cost of the country is associated. The stamps average almost $300 for mint condition and $275 for used.

Good luck if you decide to collect this country. While the total cost of $1000 for either mint or used is not prohibitive, the stamps are not common, and thus may command an even greater premium when they are found.

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