Figure 1 illustrates three essay stamps recently sold by Michael Rogers in a private treaty sale, while Figures 2 and 3 illustrate the front and back of essays originally owned by Jim Kerr and sold by private treaty after being withdrawn from auction. These essays, referred to as both Cheon or Plum Blossom Essays, have been controversial. According to (Meiso) Mizuhara (1993, English version, 1998), the so-called plum blossom stamps were issued in a currency that was not yet in place (p. 302). This may be reflected in the fact that the essays illustrated are not in the currency in which the stamps were ultimately issued.
Mizuhara (1993, English version, 1998, page 304) did mention the existence of essays. He wrote:
Essays: The Three kinds of essays are known, 5 poon in green, 1 cheon (10 poon) in blue, and 2 cheon (20 poon) in red. All of them have L10 perforations.
And that is all that is said. Further, there are no illustrations of the stamps shown.
Can any of our readers offer any other information regarding these essays?
Mizuhara, M. (1993; English, 1998). Korean postal history, 1884-1905. Tokyo: Japan Philatelic Publications.
[Editor (2019): please note some price details + names withheld for this republication of this 2006 article. Despite the article being 15 years old we are still very much interested in reader’s views on this subject. Please leave your remarks below this article if you know more about this subject.]