Indochina and the French Offices in China: Use and Nonuse of the French Colonial Allegorical Group Type & Indochina Military Mail Between 1893 – 1905
Indochina Military Mail: 1893-1905
I have been collecting the French Colonial Allegorical Group Type for more that twenty-five years, and most recently completed a new ten frame exhibit on its use in Indochina, the French Offices in China and China.1 While working on this exhibit, I was struck by the diversity of military mail available to a collector during the first dozen years of the Group Type’s use.
At this time the French Colony of Indochina consisted of five provinces or areas of French administration: Cochinchina, Annam, Tonkin, Cambodia and Laos, each with its own and very distinct character. Cochinchina and Laos represent the alpha and omega of the areas, with French dominance over Cochinchina extending back to the 1860s. French commercial, political and military activities were well-established in Cochinchina by the time of the Group Type’s arrival in 18932, and strongly reflected in the Group Type’s extensive use in the province. On the other hand, French military activities and influence were just beginning in Laos, and this is reflected by the paucity of all types of mail from this area. The remaining three provinces are distinctive in their own ways, as will be elaborated here.
The bible for Indochina remains the seminal work of Desrousseaux,3 though it is becoming out of date, and it is poorly illustrated and complex in organization. Key elements of Indochina postal history are often only briefly mentioned and difficult to find. This is not surprising given the breadth of the book’s coverage, and the overall complexity of Indochinese postal history. The area remains ripe for in-depth views of specific portions of its postal history.
From the perspective of twenty-five years of collecting the Group Type issue and all that transpired during the period of its use, I would like to look at and expand on one aspect Indochinese postal history: that of military mail during the 1893 -1905 period. This turns out to be an exceptionally complex period from the military and postal history viewpoints, given the extent and diversity of French military and political activities in Indochina overall.
The military mail reflects the 15centime military concession rate for a letter of 15 grams or less in lieu of the prevailing 25c French Community rate for troops not engaged in active combat, and military franchise mail (free transit of mail) for troops engaged in active combat. The 15c military concession rate was in effect until January 1899, when it was abandoned as the French Community rate dropped from 25c to 15c. The military mail situation was further complicated during this period by the arrival and use of the franchise militaire stamps in 1901 (F.M. overprints), which were meant to simplify the processing of the military franchise mail throughout the French community. In addition to these two major aspects of military mail, there are a number of smaller issues that will be addressed as they become relevant. The provinces or areas of Indochina are here discussed in the order of the development of French influence.
Cochinchina was the southernmost province in Indochina with French incursions beginning in the late 1850s. By the 1890s the French were strongly established economically and politically in the province, and the principal function of the French military forces in the area was occupation and maintenance of French dominance. Military units were located throughout the province, and most of the mail reflected the 15c (c = centimes) military concession rate in lieu of the current 25c French Community rate. Authorization of this rate was required and normally accomplished by use of a military post office or military unit cachet or manuscript endorsement and commander’s signature applied at the point of the letter’s origin, typically a military post office or command center.
Figure 1. Basic military concession rate letter of 15c in lieu of the 25c regular rate with excellent strikes of the military unit cachet validating the rate, the Saigon octagonal military datestamp and the French Packet Line N military datestamp used in transit confirming the military rate.
Upon reaching the nearest civilian post office, mail would be processed employing octagonal military datestamps, many of which initially saw use in the province in the 1860s. If any aspect of military mail from this period can be said to be common, it would have to be mail from Saigon, the province’s capitol. On the other hand, letters from the smaller villages range from scarce to genuine rarities, often with just one or two examples recorded.
Figure 2. The Group Type 15c letter card typically used for local mail within the Colony until 1899, when the French community rate became 15c and the military concession rate ceased. This example shows chance use at the 15c concession rate in 1894 from Saigon. Use of letter cards for this rate is extremely rare.
Despite the relative availability of military mail from Saigon, basic concession rate letters still bring hundreds of dollars on the open market, and the relative abundance of mail offers the opportunity for the collector to seek more unusual examples. Figure 1 illustrates a typical 15c military concession rate from Saigon, and nicely reflects all of the attributes that this category of cover should have. The letter bears a cachet of a rifle unit of indigenous troops, which served to validate the rate. The 15c Group Type stamp is tied by a bold strike of the octagonal CORR. D. ARMEES SAIGON, 11 AOUT 94 military datestamp. The letter was carried onboard the French Packet Line N the next day, and bears a doublecircle military datestamp of that line: COR. D. ARM. LIG. N PAQ FR No 1, 12 AOUT 94 (Salles #1952).4 Ships of Line N regularly served Indochina at this time via the port of Saigon. The letter was received at its destination on Sept. 9, 1894.
A much more unusual example of this rate is shown in Figure 2. It is based on a properly used 15c Group Type letter card, quite unusual for military mail as these cards were generally available at the military areas only by chance. The 15c letter cards were typically used for local mail prior to 1899, and are extremely rare used for the 15c concession rate. The validating cachet is from an artillery unit, and the letter was processed with the same octagonal Saigon military datestamp (March 15, 1894 ) as used on the letter in Figure 1. The red MODANE A PARIS datestamp on the front of the card confirms transit through the mails and arrival in France. The card bears a Le Mans arrival datestamp of April 15 on the reverse and a full message on the inside. Of the approximately twenty-five-hundred Group Type covers in my overall collection, I only have one other 15c military concession rate based on a letter card, and that is from Saint Louis, Senegal.
Military concession letters franked with combinations of Group Type stamps to prepay the 15c rate are also seen. Most typically the 5c and 1 0c stamps are combined, sometimes three 5c stamps are used. Combinations of the lower values of the Group Type stamps are infrequently seen. Shown in Figure 3 is a military concession rate letter franked with three 5c Group Type stamps, validated by the cachet of an officer’s unit. Again the stamps are tied by the Saigon octagonal military datestamp (February 15, 1898 ), and the letter was sent to Bastia, Corsica. The reverse of the letter bears Marseille transit and Bastia arrival datestamps. The combination of the use of the 5c Group Type stamps and the unusual Corsican destination make this a most desirable cover. One of the most striking frankings that I have seen on a 15c military rate concession rate mourning letter is shown in Figure 4. It bears the following Group Type stamps: 2 x 1c; 2 x 2c; 4c and 5c, all tied by the Saigon octagonal military datestamp of September 27, 1898. The validating cachet is from a pharmacy/medical unit.
The military concession rate was also applicable to higher weight letters, with the rate of 15c per 15 grams in effect. Registration was also possible at the standard 25c registration charge. Such letters are quite rare, and the one example that I have in this category is shown in Figure 5. It is a remarkable double weight military concession rate letter based on a 15c large-format Group Type envelope. It bears the same artillery unit validation cachet as that in Figure 2, and it left the military post office at a simple single weight letter. Upon arrival at the civilian post office in Saigon, it was determined to be at the second weight level (15 to 30 grams), and received a T in triangle for postage due. For civilian letters the due charge was normally twice the deficiency in accord with UPU regulations.
However, for military mail no penalty was assessed for due mail, and the recipient was only responsible for paying the unpaid postage. This is correctly reflected in the manuscript due markings on the letter with the blue 2/0x15 indicating a double weight letter at 15c per weight unit, and the black manuscript 0.15c indicating 15c was due on delivery. The stamp was canceled by the standard Saigon octagonal military datestamp of September 30, 1895, and the regular circular SAIGON CENTRAL datestamp was used as a transit handstamp. The letter was transferred to packet Line N as indicated by the October 5 military datestamp (Salles #1949). Since the addressee was a member of the Madagascar expeditionary forces, it was necessary to transfer the letter to Packet Line V which called at Madagascar. Such was probably done at Obock, a common stop for both lines, and the letter received a Line V military datestamp (Salles #2310) on its journey to Madagascar. Thus, this remarkable, underpaid military concession rate letter bears three different military datestamps reflecting its transit through the mails.
As already noted, the handling of military mails was well established in Cochinchina by the 1890s, and most of the small offices which were apt to handle military concession mail already had octagonal military datestamps. Within my collection, I have examples from Cap St Jacques, Chaudoc, Long-xuyen, Tan-an and Vinh-long. A particularly nice example from Cap St Jacques is illustrated in Figure 6. The letter bears a sender’s manuscript endorsement: Corps d’occupation de la Cochinchine, clearly indicating that it was sent by a member of the occupation forces and not a combat unit. A validating unit cachet, manuscript endorsement and commander’s signature are on the reverse. No census exists on the number of Group Type covers from the small villages, but they are generally quite rare and sought after by collectors. I recall seeing possibly one or two other military rate covers from Tan-an franked with Group Type stamps in more than twenty-five years of collecting this material.
During the late nineteenth century the small villages of Bentré and Soctrang were supplied with circular military datestamps, and these are extremely rare on cover. Desrousseau notes that there was one second lieutenant and twenty-two soldiers at Bentré at this time.3 Only two Group Type covers with this datestamp have been recorded to date, and the better of the two is shown in Figure 7. Again, the validating unit cachet, manuscript endorsement and commander’s signature are on the reverse of the letter. At present there is but one Group Type cover recorded illustrating the Soctrang circular military date stamp and it is shown in Figure 8. The unit cachet and other markings are on the front of this striking cover.
It was also possible to post military concession rate letters at the dock or onboard the French Packets of Line N at this time. The stamps on these letters were canceled by various octagonal and circular military datestamps in use by Line N during this period, and typically bear anchor military cachets of marine units. Figure 9 illustrates an unusual example of a packet datestamp (CORR D ARMEES PAQ FR No 7, 27 AVRIL 98 – Salles #1950) in that it does not indicate the packet line providing the service. According to Salles this was a replacement datestamp for one that had been lost, and saw service from 187 until 1898.
Troops engaged in combat at this time typically were accorded full military franchise privileges, that is, they could send their mail free of charge because of their combat service. Examples of such letters from Cochinchina are not common, because the French conquest of the province was complete, and the number of new native insurrections were few. I do not have an example of such a letter, but an example of a failed military franchise letter is shown in Figure 10. This letter was endorsed by the sender: Corps expeditionnaire du Tonkin indicating it was to be a military franchise letter. However, it received no unit cachet or officer’s endorsement and signature that would have validated the franchise privilege. It arrived at the civilian post office at Saigon with other military mail, and the military franchise was rejected because of the lack of validation.
The letter was handstamped in Saigon: Trouvé a la Boite (Found in the Box), a rare and seldom seen Colonial marking, and a regular SAIGON CENTRAL COCHINCHINE, 24 JUIL 95 datestamp applied. The letter was also struck with a T in triangle for postage due, but no amount was specified. Thus, it was left to the arrival office in France to determine the due charge. Two possibilities existed: the letter could have been charged 50c due–double the regular 25c French Community rate; or the letter could have been charged 30c due-double the military concession rate. Apparently the office in Moulins s/ Allier treated the letter as an unvalidated military concession rate based on the sender’s manuscript endorsement and the Trouvé a la Boite handstamp, and charged double the 15c rate. Had the concession rate been validated but not paid, the due charge would have been 15c. The circumstances surrounding this letter are very unusual, and I have not seen the regulations on how to treat an unvalidated military franchise letters. There should have been an indication of the amount due, but such was not done. The arrival office simply applied the French 30c Duval due stamp and settled the matter.
The military franchise system for handling unpaid military mail (see the next section on Annam for the first examples in this article) was a cumbersome system used throughout the French Community, requiring extensive handling and processing of the military mail prior to its entrance into the regular postal system. To simplify the handling of this mail, the French issued the first franchise militaire stamps in 1901. A 1906 article by Reichenheim remains the definitive work on the issuance and use of these stamps.5 The then current 15c French community Mouchon stamp was overprinted F. M., and the stamps were distributed to military postmasters through the French Community for use.
Each soldier was provided with two stamps per month to send two separate first weight-level letters home. Letters reaching higher weight levels or needing registration required additional prepayment in regular postage stamps. Local military postmasters were required to keep records on the distribution and use of the franchise militaire stamps to assure that proper procedures were being followed. Use of the early franchise militaire stamps is relatively common from France proper, but their use from the Colonies or Offices is considerably rarer. Figure 11 illustrates use of the first of these stamps from the small village of Cap St. Jacques on the eastern cost of Cochinchina. Although the letter bears the cachet of an artillery unit, such was not required to validate use of these stamps.
Although Annam shares its southern border with Cochinchina and was the second of the five Indochinese provinces or areas to come under French influence, its military postal history during the 1893 -1903 period is quite different from that of Cochinchina. Commercially it was a less significant province, and much of the French military effort to establish control over it was done during the 188 0s. Throughout the 1890s efforts were directed towards cleanup and stabilization of French control. Thus, there is much less military postal history from this province.
Figure 12 shows what appears to be a military concession rate letter from March 21, 1895, bearing a red cachet of a military unit or military post office which cannot be read. The 15c stamp was placed over the cachet and canceled by the date stamp of Figure 11. Use of the 15c franchise militaire stamp from the small village of Cap St Jacques in 1904. 66 the small village of Thuanan reflecting entry into the regular posts. The letter was addressed to an officer in a military camp at Hoang-tubi in the neighboring province of Tonkin, and bears Tonkin transits from Hanoi (April 5 ), the Haiphong-Hanoi rail line (April 6 ) and Tuyen-Quang (April 9 ). This is not a military concession rate as the letter did not travel to an international French Community destination. Fifteen centimes is the correct local rate within Indochina, and this letter turns out simply to have originated at one military post office in Indochina and sent to an addressee in another. Since it originated at a military post office, it received the cachet of that office, but such was not technically necessary. This is an example of mail originating within the military postal system, but not reflecting any special military rates. As a rule, collectors tend to ignore such letters, and dealers tend to overvalue them because of the military inscriptions. In fact, they are very much a part of the military mail system, and illustrate how non-concession rate mail originating in the military areas was handled. Another example of such to an overseas destination is seen in the section on mail from Tonkin.
Figure 13 illustrates an unusual backwater of Annam’s military postal history – use of the special Madagascar military franchise stationery. This stationery (simple and send-reply post cards and a letter card) was prepared for use of the troops fighting the 1895 Madagascar campaigns. No other French colony received such special treatment. At first pass one might conclude that the troops in Madagascar were accorded this special treatment because of the extent of their numbers, and the need to expedite the handling of military franchise mail, a problem subsequently addressed with the preparation of the franchise militaire stamps a few years later. In fact, my Madagascar collection suggests that this is not the case. Little of this stationery was used and much of the used material is philatelic in origin. Properly used stationery from Madagascar is quite scarce, whereas military franchise letters are plentiful.
Regardless, some of the Madagascar military units were transferred to Indochina and the stationery was brought with them. A simple violet overprint was created validating use from Annam and Tonkin.6 Most of the known examples of use of this stationery are from the village of Tourane in 1896 as is the example illustrated in Figure 13. In addition to having an appropriate message on the reverse, this one has a variety of handstamps including: a military unit PLACE DE TOURANE military post office origin, a CORPS EXPRE TONKIN administrative cachet, a Tourane civilian post office transit from May 26, 1896, a packet Line N transit and a Lyon arrival.
The limited military activity in Annam is reflected in the paucity of its military franchise mail. A typical example is shown in figure 14. The full franchise privilege was typically extended to troops in combat and standard validation was required. The sender normally inscribed an area declaration at the top of these letters. This letter is fully validated with a military cachet of a medical unit in Quinehone, and a full manuscript endorsement and commander’s signature. These were typically placed in the lower left hand corners of the envelopes. The letter entered the civilian post at Quinehone on December 1, 1899, and transited via French Packet Line T to Bordeaux.
Figure 15 shows another franchise militaire letter. This is posted from the small village of Banghoi, a small village on the southeastern coast of Annam. It bears a standard anchor cachet of a marine unit, although such was not necessary for this usage. Again, I am struck by the paucity of colonial covers illustrating use of these stamps from the French Colonies, even the large colonies such as Indochina.
Military activity was most prevalent in the province of Tonkin during this period, and this is clearly reflected in the voluminous quantity of military franchise mail available. Indeed, I have seen complete eight to ten frame exhibits of military franchise mail of Tonkin. Desrousseau remains the key work in the area, though it is incomplete and lacking in detail. The fifteen centime concession rate is also seen from this province, but with its own characteristics.
Figure 16 shows a typical 15c military concession rate from the capitol at Hanoi. The letter bears a standard sender’s endorsement at the top, and a blue military post office/rate validation cachet at the lower left. The extensive series of military datestamps developed and used in Cochinchina was not duplicated in Tonkin. Instead, mail typically was brought to the nearest civilian post office for further validation and transfer.
This letter was processed at Hanoi in December 1897 employing the standard circular datestamp with an expeditionary forces datestamp used along side to confirm the rate. The same style of processing of the concession rate was used in the small village offices in Tonkin. Because of the lack of specific military datestamps, these letters do not attract the strong attention of military mail collectors, and are more moderately priced than those bearing military datestamps. Examples from the villages of Moncay and Sept Pagodes are shown in Figures 17 and 18. A continuing observation is the variety of military cachets used to validate the military mail. They vary considerably in design and size, and clearly there was no attempt at standardization by the local military offices. Most were probably fabricated locally. That shown in Figure 17 is particularly unusual in that it is from a marine unit designated for service in Indochina and French Oceania. Desrousseaux does not list this cachet.
Figure 19 illustrates an aspect of military mail that is often ignored by collectors- mail originating in the military offices to foreign destinations. The military concession rate was not valid outside of the French Community, so mail traveled at the regular overseas rate of 25c until the end of the concession rate period in January 1899. The letter shown originated with a marine infantry unit in the Langson area (near the northeastern Chinese border), and entered the posts at the Langson civilian office enroute to Berlin. The letter bears 10c and 15c Group Type stamps, and was addressed to a French officer in Berlin. Based on the violet German manuscript additions, the Berlin post office made a considerable effort in locating the addressee.
This article will not seriously address the military franchise mail of Tonkin. As noted, it is a vast topic and would support a number of articles and dedicated exhibits. Also, the franchise privilege began in Tonkin in the 1880s, which is outside the scope of this article. However, I will take the liberty of noting three examples because of their unusual nature. The first is illustrated in Figure 20. It is a standard franchise letter with appropriate cachet and validation at the lower left that entered the regular mail on the Langson-Hanoi auxiliary rail line on April 3, 1901. The undulating datestamp used on this line is derived from those used on the extensive Convoyeur rail system in France connecting into the main rail lines. Although more common in French collecting and the subject of many specialized collections, these rail markings are much rarer from the colonies, particularly at this early date. Having an example on a military franchise letter is quite unusual.
The second Tonkin military franchise item of note is shown in Figure 21. It is a military franchise wrapper posted locally from the small village of Tuyen-Quang in 1903 to Hanoi7 It bears both the military post office and civilian post office handstamps of that village. This carefully constructed double wrapper band and protective card assembly probably contained a military printed matter item. Also, franchise mail was posted on the French Packets at this time. An unusual example is shown in Figure 22. It bears the standard sender’s endorsement from the troops of Tonkin, the military cachet of the commandant on the steamer Cholon with a proper endorsement and signature. At this time (December 1899 ) mail from Indochinese origins could be transferred to Line V, serving Madagascar and Reunion, at a common calling port north of Madagascar, and the mail received a special packet datestamp created for this service (CORPS EXPEDITIONNAIRE TONKIN LIGNE V 1 – Salles #2313).
A related point is illustrated by the military franchise letter shown in Figure 24. This letter left the military post office at Mon-Cay (red cachet at left) as an ordinary military franchise letter. Upon entering the civilian post office at Mon-Cay it was recognized that this letter reached the second weight level. Such was noted by the various markings placed on the front of the envelope, and the franchise privilege was invalidated because the letter reached the second weight level. The military franchise was applicable only to letters weighing fifteen grams or less; the first weight level. Thus it arrived as an unpaid due letter in Bordeaux and was charged 60c due, double the 2 x 15c French community rate in effect in 1905.
Relative to the three Indochina areas already noted, military mail from Cambodia and Laos is quite rare and seldom seen. I have but one example of the 15c military concession rate from Cambodia which is shown in Figure 25. The circular CORPS EXPEDRE CAMBODGE datestamp was created for use on military mail in this area as shown by this example posted on Jan. 23, 1896. Although no civilian post office datestamp is present, the cachet of a military hospital in Pnompenh on the reverse confirms origin from the capitol. I also have two military franchise letters from Pnompenh confirming that both the concession rate and military franchise were available in Pnompenh at this time. Both employed the same Pnompenh circular military datestamps used on the concession rate letter.
A most unusual Cambodian military franchise letter is shown in Figure 26. It originated in the small village of Pursat about 15 0 km northwest of Pnompenh. It bears a red POSTE DE PURSAT military post office origin and signature for validation, a Pursat civilian post office datestamp and a CORPS EXPEDRE CAMBODGE military datestamp, used from Pursat since the dates within the datestamps are identical. These letters represent the extent of my Cambodian military mail; I have not seen anything significantly different in my travels.
French military incursions into Laos did not begin until the 1890s. In general Group Type letters from Laos, save for those from Vientaine and Luang-Prabang, are rare. Military mail is exceptionally rare. The only Laotian military cover that I have is shown in Figure 27. It bears a manuscript Troupes du Mékong sender’s endorsement used on Laotian mail of the period.3 The manuscript endorsement at the lower left reads: Le capitaine comd de la poste de Muong Sen-Brosset-Heckel. Desrousseaux notes that Muong Sen was a northern garrison without a post office in the area of Khone at the southern end of Laos. This item is a registered letter to Lyon franked at the proper 5 0c French Community registered rate. No military concession or franchise rate is reflected in this letter because the sender was an officer and not eligible for such. The letter is to a family member of Brosset-Heckel, most probably his wife. It entered the regular post at the Cambodian office of Khong on Jan. 9, 1895, a remarkably early date for Laotian military mail. Quite possibly it is the earliest known military letter from Laos. It entered France on the Modane-Paris rail line and has a Lyon arrival on the reverse.
Beyond this letter, I am aware of one military concession rate letter from Khone, Laos, in 1896 which resides in the Millet collection in Paris,8 and I bid on two military franchise letters from Haut Laos from the 1890s in an Apfelbaum sale in the early 1990s. All I can remember of the latter is that I was not among the serious bidders in this sale, despite what I thought to be ambitious bids. Even then the prices realized were frightening. I have also seen a Xerox copy of the Laotian military franchise letter with the octagonal CORRESP D’ARMEES K IAI datestamp, which may come to the market presently. If so, the price will be in the range of some of the classic covers of early France, or so I have been led to believe.
Kouang Tchéou Wan
There remains one small addendum to the Indochinese military mail of this period- that relating to mail from the territory of Kouang Tchéou Wan. Like the other European nations, the French too wanted access to China, and began a military campaign in southern China in the very late 1890s, which resulted in the leasing of this territory in 1899.10 The area was initially administered by Tonkin and the early datestamps used contain an Indochine inscription, hence its inclusion in this article. A small amount of military franchise mail exists from this period.
The franchise letter shown in Figure 28 is typical of the period. It bears the military POSTE DE NAU-CHAU CHINE military cachet and transited via the principal office of Quang Tcheou. Note the Indochinese indicia at the bottom of the datestamp. A more unusual franchise letter is shown in Figure 29. It bears a TCHÉ-KAM military cachet origin and entered the posts at the small village of Tché-Kang. Again the Indochinese administration is noted in the datestamp. The latter is one of presumably two known franchise letters sent via Tché-Kang.10 As already noted, the intent of this article (beyond the new information contained herein) has been to illustrate the breadth and diversity of the military mail available from Indochina from the early period of the Group Type’s use. Such has not been done before, and possibly this article will incite readers who also have unusual military material from this period to bring it into the philatelic literature.
References and Notes:
1 Collectors Club Presentation by E.J.J. Grabowski: “Indochina and the Postal History of the French Colonial Allegorical Group Type,” January 10, 2007. This exhibit has been recently shown at the Garfield-Perry, WESTPEX and NAPEX shows.
2 Various citations in the literature note that the Group Type stamps were shipped to the colonies in November 1892. Although the earliest dates of use remain to be established for the various colonies, the earliest usages from Indochina based on my observations occur during January 1893. The earliest use of the Group Type in my collection is on a letter from Obock posted December 1, 1892.
3 J. Desrousseaux, Postes & Courriers Francais en Extreme-Orient, Musée de la Poste, Paris, 1984.
4 R. Salles, La Poste Maritime Française Historique et Catalogue, Tome V, Les Paquebots de l’Extreme-Orient, Imprimerie Alençonnaise, 196. The Salles series is now available in reprint.
5 F. Reichemheim, London Philatelist, Volume 15, 29-35, 1906.
6 R. Bentley, The Indo-China Philatelist, Volume XVII, Number 4, 71-72, 1987.
7 This wrapper was also included in my CCP article on Group Type printed matter. See: E.J.J. Grabowski, Collectors Club Philatelist, Volume 85, 107-110, 2006.
8 Alain Millet collection, Paris, France – personal correspondence.
9 S.J. Luft, France & Colonies Philatelist, Whole Number 283, 3-5, 2006.
10 There are no good census data for covers of this period from all of Indochina and related areas. This would be a worthy project for the ambitious.
Edward J.J. Grabowski
Collectors Club – January 2007
Royal Philatelic Society – October 2007
Collectors Club of Chicago – March 2008