Today in Postal History


West New Guiinea to United States
April 17, 1963

This air letter sheet was sent by a Sergeant stationed with the
United Nations Temporary Executive Authority in West New Guinea (West Irian).

The boxed cancellation was used in Biak, the headquarters of UNTEA.
The circular portion has UNTEA  at the top, two stars at the side,
BASE BO at the bottom and the date in the middle.

This cover was sent near the end of the UNTEA mission
which went from October 1, 1962, to April 30, 1963.

The stamps are overprints of UNTEA on stamps of the Netherlands New Guinea.
There were four overprintings.
The first letterpress overprints were made locally in Hollandia on 19 values.
The second printing for all 19 values was made in Haarlem in the Netherlands.
The second printing in some cases even involved making new plates for the stamps.
There are gum and shade differences as well.
Most of the second printing were sold to collectors at the UNPA in New York and Geneva.

Very few got to New Guinea.

The lettersheet is franked with a 2c. deep orange and
a 15c. deep yellow and red brown (?) (Scott 2 and 7).
This appears to be from the second printing.
The difference in printings is established by the difference in height
between the the right leg of the U and the left leg of the N in the overprint.
The leg of the N is shorter on the first printing and
the legs are equal on the second printing.

Demand for topical stamps in the set gave rise to a
third (8 values) and fourth printing (2 values).


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