Entire of Tae Geuk stamps with Imchisa markings in Gärtner auction

Auction News Old Korea

Gärtner auction nr. 40 contained an interesting envelope with both an 1895/96 Tae Geuk 5 Poon bluish green and a 10 Poon dull blue stamp. These stamps are listed in the KPSC as numbers 3A and 4A respectively. 

The complete description from the Gärtner website:

1895/96, Tae Geuk 5 P. bluish green resp. 10 P. dull blue (3 mm pulled perfs and handwriting of addressee) tied bisected circle “Impa Kwangmu 5.7.11” (July 11, 1901) to reverse of cover (creases) via “Oggang 5.7.13” to Seoul w. arrival “Hansung 5.7.18”. Impa was a temporary p.o. (imchisa) in Cheonrapukdo province. 15 P. old currency account for 3 Ch. new currency, so basic domestic letter rate. Not many entires of Tae Geuk stamps with Imchisa markings survived, cert. Eichhorn BPP (2013) (T)
Front of entire.Back of entire

Because of the certificate I asked KSS member Florian Eichhorn about this particular cover. He gave me some additional information:

“Temporary” in the auction description should be adjusted to “Provisional”. “Oggang” should be “Okku” (old name of Kunsan/Gunsan).


  • Impa =  臨陂
  • Okku =  沃溝
  • Imchisa (Imsisa) =  臨時司, or full designation Imchiuch’esa =  臨時郵逓司
  • Cheonrapukdo or North Chonra province =  全羅北道

This is a registered cover from a provisional post office manned by a town major or borough head. Old Korea then had p.o. 1st and 2nd class manned by postal officials, 1 postmaster and several postal clerks. These p.o.’s supervised a few “receiving agencies” in branches within Seoul and Busan, railway stations or the Gwendoline mining area. A full list of these p.o.’s and agencies (in hanja characters and hangul) is on page 15 of the KPC 2014-2015 (last published I think) stamp catalog with opening dates.

KIM Jae-Sung in his essential book “The facts of korean classic stamps” (Busan, Imje University Press 1998) gives a much more detailed, chronological list of these p.o.’s and branches on pp. 205-232 with opening dates and re-classifications including referring to official notifications from the govt. gazette. The whole rest, 300+ installations were Provisional Post Offices (imchisa).

KIM on page 232 relates:
Postal service network as of Dec. 1903

  • Headquarter p.o. 1
  • 1st grade p.o. 16
  • 2nd grade p.o. 27
  • Branch p.o. 3
  • Post Station 2
  • Provisional p.o. 304

Total 353

Ibid footnote 9: “Provisional post office had not its own office and postal clerks. Postal services, as well as postage stamp sales, mail receiving and dispatching were done by the local head borough, but the cancelers were officially supplied by the Communications bureau or authority.” KIM p. 168/172 has also a chapter “Differences between Branch Post Office and Post Station” with the relevant details.

The page in the Korean catalogue Florian mentions (KPC 2014-2015) contains this information:

Copyright: Dea Kwang Sa (Cheonan, Korea)

Please note this information is apparently no longer included in this catalogue, it is no longer available in the 2015-2016 and 2019 editions.

And finally there is also the certificate as mentioned in the description:

In the end the item did not sell at 1400 EUR.

Copyright graphics: Auktionen Gärtner and Dea Kwang Sa.


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