South Korean Revenue Stamps Issued Under U.S. Military Rule: On Document

Articles Revenue stamps

I have found the collecting of Korean revenue stamps to be very challenging. Revenue stamps have not been much valued in South Korea, itself, and, until the publication of Stephen Hasegawa’s The Standard Catalogue of Korean Revenue Stamps in 2005, there was not a good resource for identifying Korean revenue stamps. (Hasegawa’s catalogue will be used to identify the stamps in this article). We still do not have good reference sources for North Korean revenue stamps, for municipal revenue stamps, and for several types of federal revenue stamps. 

However, gradually, over time, I have been relatively successful in putting together a good collection of revenue stamps. I have been frustrated, though, over attempting to find examples of such stamps on documents. Two lots of such stamps — one a gift from a fellow philatelists and the other located during PHILAKOREA2004 — have gone a long way in starting to fill in those voids. I hope, over the next few issues of KP, to share some of these documents with you.

Figure 1: KR15, Japanese 5sen brown, provisional overprint, 8/1/46, issued under U.S. Military Rule. Used in Nam-won on a receipt for payment to a bank.

The first set illustrated in this article are the revenue stamps issued in South Korea after Liberation from the Japanese and, thus, issued under the direction of the U.S. Military.

These are not in very good shape. When you consider that these were issued before the Korean War and, thus, had to survive the chaos of that conflict, and the fact that most are on documents made of tissue paper, it is amazing that they survived at all, let alone in reasonable shape. Further, given the lack of interest in such stamps in South Korea, it is really a surprise that these documents revived at all. The first stamp illustrated in KR15, the 4sen brown Japanese stamp issued as a provisional overprint in August 1, 1946 (Figure 1).

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4 thoughts on “South Korean Revenue Stamps Issued Under U.S. Military Rule: On Document

  1. Hello, Your illustrations show stamps with the plum blossom listed as both part of the plum blossom series and part of the Tong Dae Mun (Great East Gate) series. Are some photos mislabeled or were the two designs part of the same series. I part of the same series is there a separate plum blossom series and how is it different from the similar stamps in the Tong Dae Mun series?
    A rank amateur with small accumulation of S. Korean Revenues.

  2. Hi Will, you are right, the stamp on that document (fig . 3) was indeed mislabeled. I have changed the text here. Thank you for noticing.

    By the way, which Korean revenues do you have? And do you have them on document?

    1. Sorry, Nothing on a documnt. I have the plum blossom series 1w (4), 5w(4), 10w(5), 50w(4) and 100w(10); in the Tong Dae Mung series 2w(5), 2w(1); stone pagodas – Dabotap – 10w blue (9) and blue with Korean number characters, light brown w/ Korean number characters (3). A nine or ten story pagoda 50w(10). Six of a red 10w with a person or statue wearing a pagoda like hat on right side and a pagoda in background left side 30mm x 32mm. Red and blue 20w bells. Then the 28-30mm x 53mm series. Singman Rhee? 10000w brown + red, 1000hw blue + red, 100hw brown + green, Astronomy tower 1000hw, ?? building with S. Korean flag 500hw brown, and blue 5000w.
      All I know about S. Korean Revenues is what I have read on this site.

  3. Well, if you want to see a lot of Korean revenue stamps please check out my own website: However, you won’t find many of the “national” revenue stamps (i.e. the revenue stamps shown here in this page), I collect all the other types of (South) Korean revenue stamps.

    Regarding the national revenue stamps you mention: do you have the KPSC 2019 catalogue? See for more information. It lists all the national revenue stamps including the ones you mention.

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