The 1933 Korean Christmas Seal

Seals

The Christmas/TB seal program was very successful in 1932 with the seals being sold-out and raising funds for the fight against tuberculosis in Korea. The United Christmas Seal Committee, headed by Dr. Sherwood Hall, and supported by Korea Medical Missionary association, the Korean Nurses Association and other groups, continued the seals program in 1933. It was also decided to add “Xmas and New Year’s Greetings” postcards to help raise funds for the anti-TB program. These seals and postcards would continue to be made available through 1940. It should be noted that Dr. Hall targeted the sales of these seals and postcards, besides within the community in Korea, to worldwide markets, especially the USA. 

Other related items, such as folders with wood block prints to be used as Christmas cards, printed envelopes, posters, bonds, and calendars were produced for sale, and are sought out by some collectors of Dr. Hall’s material. The subjects of this article are the seals and postcards of 1933.

A Boy and Girl Singing from a Song Book
The seals of 1933 were again printed by the YMCA Printing Department in Seoul. They were issued on November 11, 1933 in sheets of 50 (5×10), perforation 11 on un-watermarked, gummed paper. Booklets were issued with 5 panes of 10 each. The size of the seal is 19.5 mm x 25 mm. There are two types of the seals, which will be discussed. It is not known how many were printed.

Fig 1: A pane from a booklet.

Distinguished from the earlier 1932 seal, the 1933 seal design is more like a traditional Christmas seal used in the West, with a boy and girl singing from a song book. See Figure 1 for a pane from a booklet. The reason that the seal is similar to what one would see in the USA, is that the YMCA staff used the design of the 1932 USA TB Christmas seal for the 1933 Korean seal. Dr. Hall had obtained permission to use this USA design. See Figure 2 for the USA Christmas seal.

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Fig 8b: Small design postcard.

Stephen Hasegawa catalogue has the larger design with the Type A “POSTCARD” address side as being the most scarce postcard, while the Type B, without “POSTCARD”, is the most common ( one half the value of the Type A). For the Type C, with no printing on the address side, the value is three quarters of the value of the Type A seal. The postcard with the smaller design is equally as common and easy to find as the larger design with the Type B address side.

All of the postcards’ varieties are extremely rare in used condition and would be a highly valuable find by a collector. If any reader has or seen these postcards in used condition, it would be greatly appreciated if reported to the Korean Stamp Society.

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