After learning about the existence of the online database of the National Archives of Korea (NAK) I quickly discovered a treasure trove of documents related to Korean philately. Thousands of documents with listings of stamp values, revenue stamps issues (including local revenue stamps) and meter marks, often even shown with (simple) drawings. And that’s just the beginning!
Let’s start with one hard truth though. The system has one enormous drawback for non-Koreans: you must be able to understand Korean and know how to search using Korean language terms only. That’s perhaps not much news perse as it was to be expected, but don’t underestimate what that means in practice. If you have no or little knowledge of Korean, then all of this information is out of reach for you.
But what information are we talking about? Here are some examples to give an idea:
New revenue stamps issued in 1951 (수입인지발행(재무부고시제44호; NAK BA0158992)
This must seem like a very unremarkable page, but it shows the revenue stamps issued on 30 August 1951. The values are listed in hanja at the top of the page. See for instance “五十圓”, which is 50 won. For the other values look from right to left (and top to bottom): 20 won, 50 won, 100 won, 500 won, 1.000 won, 5.000 won and 10.000 won. In the KPSC these are numbers RP29-RP35.
1968 Meter mark (국가검정동물약품검정규칙중개정의건(농림부령제293호); NAK BA0191030)
If you like meter marks, then you can find a few dozen examples from the 1960s and 1970s in the archive. Here is one example:
1962 Consular and general revenue stamps (NAK BA0188818)
This was the year in which South Korea changed back from the hwan to the won. That meant new coins and banknotes, but also postal and revenue stamps in new values. Here are some (but not all!) of the revenue stamps shown in the NAK archive published in 1962 for this occasion.
There is a LOT more waiting to be found in the NAK database. If you find new information, please send us a message.