Olympics on Korean stamps

Other stamps

First of all, I believe, I should shortly introduce myself and describe my way here. I am Victor E. Afanasiev, a freelance translator from Minsk, Belarus. I started collecting stamps as a boy, in a small Belarusian town, and to my late 50s I have come through the stages of collecting Sports in general and a number of chronological collections to exclusively the Olympic and Paralympic themes.

A reference in one of the threads at the Postage Stamp Chat Board & Stamp Bulletin Board Forum led me here. It’s always good to have a place where you can find an expert advice and assistance on stamps of the countries that are otherwise hard to cope with for a speaker of a European language. So, I am here, and I hope I could be of some help for other members of the Korea Stamp Society.

KSC3709 (issued 24 September 1996) sheetlet for the 1st Asian Championship in Gymnastics, with Olympians Pae Gil-su, Chen Cuiting, Li Jing and Kim Gwang-suk featured in it.

At Ivo Spanjersberg’s request, I would like to introduce a relatively small informal group of Olympic philately enthusiasts that spontaneously was created at a Russian philatelist forum. It unites Russian-speaking philatelists from different countries (Russia, Belarus, the USA, Israel, Ukraine) who are not just accumulate stamps with Olympic rings in their albums but are eager to find more behind the stamps.

In March 2014, I started a thread there where I offered to join the thread all those who were interested in finding Olympians in otherwise non-Olympic stamps, and I was happy to find out that I wasn’t the only one who was interested in the subject. The group gradually grew, and the scope of its thematics expanded, too. Now, we maintain several thread where we continue discussing non-Olympic stamps with Olympians, and try to disclose who is who in numerous contemporary Olympic issues (many of them are designed after photography, others are just perforated and gummed photographs). Our common effort has led to a tremendous result that is evident at a special website created and maintained by an active member of our forum group Pavel, another Belarus-born philatelist living in the USA now.

Mini sheet (KPSC 1923-1946 / Scott 2105) issued by the Republic of Korea in 2002 for the FIFA 2002 World Cup, with football players of the national team, including several Olympians (Choi Seong Yong, Yu Sang Cheol, Choi Tae Uk, Lee Yeong Pyo, Choi Yong Su, Lee Cheon Su, Yun Jeong Hwan, Hwang Seon Hong, Park Ji Seong, and Song Jong Guk).

Pavel transferred all information related to specific Olympians depicted in postage stamps from the book by Mark C. Maestrone and Joan R. Bleakley, “Olympians on Stamps: 1896 – 1994”, a kind of the Bible for those interested in the theme. He continues adding new information, both from his own findings and posted by others in the forum.

Sheet from series KSC2026-2034 (Scott 1999), issued 20 October 1980.

The listings in Pavel’s website contain thousands of stamps from different countries that feature specific Olympians. The information is structured into three groups: by specific stamps / countries, by athletes, and by specific Olympics. You can find many stamps from the two Koreas there, as well. As an example of our effort I would like to discuss a souvenir sheet issued by North Korea in 1980 in commemoration of the Moscow Summer Olympics (Sc 1999).

The lower part of the souvenir sheet is a collage of photographs, and neither catalogue names the athletes present in it. However, you can find most of them in Pavel’s listings, thanks to the joint effort of our group.

Left to right first row:

  • Elisabeth Max-Theurer (Austria, equestrian),
  • Waldemar Cierpinski (GDR, marathon),
  • Bernd and Jörg Landvoigt (GDR, rowing),
  • Miruts Yifter (Ethiopia, long distance running),
  • Tatyana Kolpakova (USSR, long jump),
  • Rica Reinisch and Ines Geißler (GRD, swimming);

Second row:

  • Tatyana Kazankina (USSR, middle distance running),
  • Pertti Johan-nes Karppinen (Finland, single scull),
  • Marlies Göhr (GDR, sprint),
  • Kornelia Kunisch (GDR, handball),
  • Frank Paschek (GDR, long jump),
  • Viktor Saneyev (USSR, triple jump).

The lower right corner of the souvenir sheet features the men’s coxless four from GDR: Jürgen Thiele, Stefan Semmler, Andreas Decker and Siegfried Brietzke who won the gold medal in Moscow in 1980.

In general, North Korean stamps are an interesting field rich in findings for a philatelist who is ready to go beyond catalogues. And I hope to find more information by joining the Korea Stamp Society.

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