Today in Postal History


UNTEA West New Guinea to Netherlands

October 3, 1962

This airmail cover with a preprinted bilingual airmail etiquette was cancelled in
Hollandia (now Jayapura) on the north coast of the island of New Guinea.
Hollandia was at the eastern edge of West New Guinea (West Papua).
The destination was Vlaardingen, a suburb about 8 km west of Rotterdam.

The Dutch were preparing West New Guinea for
self-government but Sukarno of Indonesia threatened war
to recover what he claimed was part of Indonesia.

A difficult negotiation in the summer of 1962 ended with the Dutch making concessions
based on United States pressure which was undertaken to gain
United States favor with the Indonesians.

The transition from West New Guinea to Indonesia became the responsibility
of the United Nations Temporary Executive Authority (UNTEA).

UNTEA took over on October 1, 1962, and ended April 30, 1963 when Indonesia took control.
The record of the actions of the United Nations, the United States,
and Indonesia in handling this affair is not a pretty story.

There is only one CDS used to cancel all three stamps.

The stamps are from the first printing made in Hollandia by local overprinting
of existing Netherlands New Guinea stamps using a letterpress.
A total of 19 different values were overprinted.
Eleven values were made available on October 1, 1962.
The remaining eight values were not made available until November 1.
The only first day service was in Hollandia and then only on blank covers.
There are backdated first day covers made with CDS 7 as used on this cover.
There were no first day service covers.
You can find the stamps here.

It would be nice if this cover had some receiving or transit markings
to confirm that it went through the mail and was not among those
which were backstamped and subsequently addressed.
Here is a cover that did have a less philatelic nature.

This cover was cancelled on the 3rd day of availability.

There were three additional printings made in Haarlem, Netherland, to provide stamps for
philatelists buying through the New York, Geneva, and other sales agencies.
Some from the subsequent printings actually found their way to New Guinea and were used there.

This cover is franked with two 30c blue Queen Wilhelmina and
one 25c red Queen Wilhelmina (Scott 12 and 11).
The quantities printed were 241,000 for the 25c and 216,000 for the 30c.


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