Postage Due

Articles Postage Due

(Originally from KP double number November 2012 / February 2013, Vol. 54 Nr. 4 / Vol. 55 Nr. 1) South Korea or R.O.K. never seemed to get into postage due stamps, and that was probably a good savings of money as no expense was used to print a group of special stamps that were not vigorously consumed. But postage due was still a regular problem that had to be dealt with. So, instead of stamps being used, chops designating the amount of postage due were used, or slips of paper or chits were pasted on the envelope to give the amount of postage needed. 

(Please note this article has been split in several pages, page numbering is at the bottom of the text.)

One needs to remember that the amount of postage due being demanded is actually double the real amount of postage that was needed. So, if the chop or slip says that 14 won is the amount due, really only 7 won was the amount of postage missing. So, paying the postage due is really paying twice the real needed rate. One can almost sense a feeling of punishment in this doubling of normal cost. But then there is also the thought that the receiver of the mail who has had to pay twice the going rate will eventually get around to “bawling out” the sender who didn’t put on the right amount of postage.

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Figure 1: Simple postage due notification

Figure 1 is a perfect and simple postage due notification. It is a chop that is 55mm long. To the left, it says “me nap” (default in payment/nonpayment) and “poo jok” (shortage). Then, there is the write-in of the amount to be paid, and under that is given the name of the post office (Seoul Central Post Office).

When the Post Office Department (part of the Department of Communications) does not supply “everything” but tells all the post offices around the country to “have your own chops and chits made” locally and to try and follow certain general guidelines, then all sorts of variations can happen until supplies and conformity become universally established.

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Figure 2: Missing post office name

The chop in Figure 2 is 40 mm long and the left box is in vertical writing. Below the “2”, half of the space is empty where the name of the post office could be either written in or chopped in; so the bottom box just says “post office”.

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Figure 3: 40 won postage due is part of the chop

The chop is 30 mm long in Figure 3 and this time the writing in the left box is in the horizontal instead of the vertical. The “40” is not a write-in but is actually part of the chop. There may have been the expectation that 40 won was going to be the amount of postage due for a long time ahead. At the bottom, the p.o. is “West Tae Gu,” and the post office word, “Oo Chay Gook,” has been shortened to just “Gook”.

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Lyman Hale
Lyman L. Hale Jr., M.D. (1921-2019) was a longtime KSS member, also editor of KP. Lived in Korea between 1958 and 1986.

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