Korean Cover to President Roosevelt


What can be said about this cover (Figure 1) addressed to President [Theodore] Roosevelt? The cover has a return address of “Pyeng Yang, Korea, Japan,” which is interesting. The cover is addressed simply to “President Roosevelt, Washington, USA.” The front of the cover contains a strip of five Japanese stamps with three faint circular cancels with the date of 11.20.20 (lunar; 12.28.20, solar). The back of the cover has a two-line rubber stamp reading “FROM THE FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT COLLECTION, AUTHENTICATED BY H. R. HARMER, INC., N. Y.” 

Its only significance is the addressee, but it does do something to a Roosevelt admirer to hold something that the “Great Man” himself once held. A few years ago, there was a solicitation in the philatelic press for information on items from FDR’s collection. I made this piece known, but it was never published.

Figure 1; Back and Front of Cover Sent from Pyongyang, Korea, to President Roosevelt.

(Originally from KP February 2007, Vol. 52, No. 1)

Errata (KP May, 2007, Vol. 52, No. 2)
In the last issue of KP (February, 2007), there was an article by Don Vorhis on a cover from the Roosevelt collection. I incorrectly indicated in the first paragraph that it was from the collection of Theodore Roosevelt, even though later in the article reference was made to the fact that the handstamp on the back of the cover clearly indicated that it was from the collection of Franklin D. Roosevelt. My apologies to Don and to the Roosevelts, and thanks to Robert Storace, James Lowe, and Vince McDermott for bringing this error to my attention. Mark it down to the fact that I was educated in Canada, and, while we did study a lot of U.S. history, I don’t remember spending much time on the Presidents.

Addendum (KP May, 2007, Vol. 52, No. 2)
Frank Allard’s Cards
I’m amazed that you can spend time on the KSS publication and commend you for all the work you’ve done in our behalf. I’m embarrassed that I have been unable to provide an article or two to keep you from running of out material. Although retired, I’m tied up with rental properties, book pro-jects, preaching engagements, and tons of other matters that keep me up during the wee hours of the night.

Just a few easy questions about your article on the last of Frank Allard’s Korean cards. I bought from Frank for the last 10 years of his life, always finding him helpful and knowledgeable. On page 18 of the current KP, would you kindly tell me the printed inscription at the top of the Pu-san card, “Our Artillery at ___________” where? I’m seeing this image for the first time, and the commemorative cancel as well, in spite of my collection of nearly 12,000 pre-1960 cards including varieties of the same images. Also, what color was used to print the back?
Second question: In illustrations 3 and 4 with commemorative cancels, what catalog did Frank use to provide documen-tation for these two cards? I have photo-copies of the Yamazaki and Shimada catalogs but only the Chosen sections. Perhaps the two “clippings” came from the greater Japanese section. Do you have access to them?
Incidentally, I’m missing seven of the Chosen Sotokufu Shisei Kyushunen Kinen anniversary cards. Have about 30 or so dupli-cates.

Finally, Teddy Roosevelt took office at the death of McKinley in 1901 and continued to 1909. As the whole world knows, FDR took office in 1932. How does the 1920 date stated by Mr. Vorhis fit into this picture? I recall that when the FDR collection was sold by Hammer, items were stamped as such. I was unable to purchase any of them at the time. Do you think this might be a fluke?

Take your time in replying. I know you are quite busy.
James L. Lowe

Addendum (KP November, 2007, Vol. 52, No. 4)
On page 6 of the May ’07 issue, James L. Lowe questions the validity of the cover from Korea to the Roosevelt White House. It appears that he has made a very common presumption that the numerical dating was consistent in both domestic and international cancels under the Japanese. While the 11-2-20 would be, as he infers, 11 February 1920 if used in a roman-letter cancel for international mail, actually is 20 February 1936 in the domestic cancel used on this letter. Domestic cancels always show the year in terms of the Imperial reign, in this case the 11th year of the Showa era, i.e., the reign of Emperor Hirohito.

Keep us the good work. You’re the glue that holds us together as a society!
Don Vorhis (former KSS president)


1 thought on “Korean Cover to President Roosevelt

  1. Korean Cover to President Roosevelt, at this time Korea was part of Japanese Empire in which Japanese postal rates were used, cover sent to USA at correct 10 sen rate, Japanese style cancel reads ‘Pyeongyang 11. 2. 20’ date is 20 February 1936,
    on what appears to be Nissen catalogue 216 2 sen green issued in June 1932.

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