Fusan Customs cover Mrs. Appenzeller

News Old Korea

John Bull Stamp Auctions, Ltd. from Hong Kong has a cover in its “332nd Auction” (5 – 8 December 2019) which was sent in April 1891 from Mrs. Hunt in Fusan (Busan) to Mrs. Appenzeller in Seoul. The cover has a starting price of 1.000.000 HKD, which is approx. 127.500 US dollars or 115.000 EUR.

The family name Appenzeller is well-known in connection to Korea. Henry Gerhard Appenzeller (1858 – 1902) was the first missionary of the Methodist Episcopal Church (‘Northern Methodist Church’) to Korea. The denomination is now called the United Methodist Church. Revd. Appenzeller and his wife arrived in 1885. He died tragically when a ship that he was travelling on along the west coast of Korea sank. It is said that he died trying to save other people who were drowning, and has been treated as a martyr by Korean Methodists.

He founded the first Methodist church, Chŏng-dong First Methodist Church in Chŏng-dong, the original ‘foreign quarter’. He founded Paejae School, and was instrumental in the establishment of the Tri-Lingual Press, effectively the earliest Western-style publishing house. Regrettably, much less is known about his wife. His daughter Alice (1885-1950) was a missionary assigned to what became Ehwa Woman’s University.

Here is the original text as stated in the auction catalogue:

1891 (Apr 5) Korea Fusan Customs Mail Matter cover from Mrs. Hunt to Mrs. Appenzeller in Seoul, Mrs. Hunt, “Loomis Hunt”, Wife of J.H. Hunt, commissioner of Fusan Custom. Two pages of original letter attached (also with the translation of the letter), concerning the Fusan Customs Commissioner J. H. Hunt “has grown tired of waiting for the Customs to build, so he has commenced to build at his own expense….” and “the carpenter contracts to finish at end of June”. Cover bearing a fine struck of violet oval Fusan Customs Mail Matter cachet at upper right. The only recorded of this rare marking applying on a domestic cover in Korea. Extremely rare.


1 thought on “Fusan Customs cover Mrs. Appenzeller

  1. 1) This Fusan Mail Matter cover was sold on ebay in June 2013 at US-$12.100 and a new find then,
    It was whidely published in far east specialist circles inc. blogs.

    2) Why this start price (ebay apprx. x9.5)?

    At a recent John Bull auction, there was a cover with oval “SEOUL CUSTOMS / Mail Matter” in combination with french offices 25 C. pair canc. in Shanghai.
    It was registered, used in October 1892 to Germany (sender was F. Schoenicke of IMC).
    Hammer price was hk$ 880k (inc. commission around 100.000 euros).
    So this may be the motivation for the actual start price done by one John Bull staff.

    The 6digit pricing of course aims at the chinese-, not the korean market.

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