South Vietnam Largest Imperf Blocks

(Published: July, 2009, Volume 9, Number 2, Issue #28) (Table Of Contents)
(Author: John Hotchner)

Sometimes one is in the right place at the right time. Summers and holidays while attending the University of Virginia (early '60s) I worked in the Stamp and Coin Department of the old Woodward and Lothrop department store in Washington, DC. It was one of the nationwide Jacques Minkus operations; headquartered at Gimbal's in New York City.

A case can be made that this was like throwing the fox into the chicken coop. If I had to get a job, working in philately was about as good as it got. And of course the paychecks were always reduced by the amount of purchases; something of a sore spot between me and my parents. My father was a collector, and knew Minkus, so he was not quite so hard a nut to crack on this score as my mother.

But I digress. One of the many tasks to be done by the front line troops in the store was to use times with a paucity of counter customers to break down incoming material to standing-order envelopes, and to put leftover material in store stock. But working on the material gave me an inside track on what was available. The details are hazy - after all this is nearly 45 years since those days. But when I completed clipping imperfs out of the panes of Vietnam anti-malaria sheets we had gotten from New York, there were large blocks left. Given that the set cost pennies, and there was no premium for multiples, and at that time I collected anything worldwide that connected to the United Nations, I added the plate blocks to my tab.

Here it is all these years later; and I long ago gave up UN worldwide as impractical, in favor of World United Against Malaria, World Refugee Year, and Saving the Nubian Monuments, Swiss Officials, and United Nations New York (UNNY) First issue imprint blocks. I had no idea of the significance of the large Vietnamese blocks, until Larry Fillion went through my collection recently looking for out of the ordinary material. He recognized them as something unusual.

Perhaps there are more large blocks 'out there', but until they are discovered, I am glad to have come up with the world record imperf blocks.

Scott 185 Imperf Block of 8
Image Of Stamp
Scott 186 Imperf Block of 8
Image Of Stamp
Scott 187 Imperf Block of 8
Image Of Stamp
Scott 188 Imperf Block of 8
Image Of Stamp

Editor's Note: 'World Records' are always being broken. Below is an image of a block of 12 of Scott 187. Personally, I like the blocks of 8 because there is a set of 4 blocks and the blocks are corner blocks with the date of printing. There is some serious staining on the block of 12.

Scott 188 Imperf Block of 12
Image Of Stamp

*If any reader has other large blocks of these imperfs, please contact me at