Korean Souvenir Books and Reprints issues of 1903-1906 (Part III: Additional Souvenir Books)

Old Korea Stamp Folders

In addition to the early editions souvenir books, different types of souvenir books were issued up until 1938 by the Japanese government and later by the South Korean government. Kerr has the only list of these souvenir books that is known in English and it goes through 1961. On Page 71-2 of his book, he lists eight different types of books. See Figure 13 for Kerr’s list which also has the description of the early souvenir books discussed in part one. It is known that there are at least four other types of souvenir books that were issued up through 1961, not on Kerr’s list, and there are probably many other types.

Figure 13: Kerr’s List of Souvenir Books.

One of these souvenir booklets not on Kerr’s list contains stamps and images similar to the first two books and was issued October 16, 1907, and commemorated the “Visit of the Crown Prince to Korea”. See Figure 14 for the cover page. This type of souvenir is more like a booklet, with the cover having soft cardboard, not hard cardboard, like the early editions souvenir books. The pages are stapled together with one large staple in the middle of the booklet. Within the booklet, the first issues are not the actual stamps, but unlike the sepia colour of the first two souvenir books, the first images are printed in the actual colours of the stamps.

Figure 14: Cover of Souvenir Booklet issued in 1907 to Commemorate the Visit Crown Prince of Japan to Korea.

The other pages of the booklet are similar to the first two edition books with the actual stamps pasted into them; however, the last page has just an image in colour (not the actual stamp) of the Japanese 1905, Scott 110 agglomeration commemorative. While the high value Blossom Plums stamps in this booklet are reprints, the 6 ch in this booklet is the common perforation 11, dark blue, not the lighter blue reprint. The author has seen the early version souvenir books and this booklet of 1907 sold in auctions for around $2000-$5000.

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Figure 20A: Loose Items inside the 1960 Dwight Eisenhower Souvenir Book.
Figure 20B/20C: Loose Items inside the 1960 Dwight Eisenhower Souvenir Book.

In summary, there are many outstanding questions about these souvenir books. Just some of many are:

  1. How many versions of the early souvenir books were actually published? Were there three versions, as Kerr believed, the one in 1905 and two types of 1906? Or perhaps there were two versions of the second edition? Or were there just two versions as Meiso wrote in his book? Or is the Korean blogger correct that there were two, one issued in 1906 and one in 1909? Some evidence supports the Korean blogger that at least some were published in 1909.
  2. Why and when were the 6 ch light blue perforated 12½ reprints issued?
  3. Which souvenir books does the 6 ch actually appear in, if any?
  4. Were there other early souvenir books/booklets published in the early years after the Japanese takeover like the one issued in 1907 for the Crown Prince Visit to Korea?
  5. When was the Emperor’s Crown imperforated reprint issued?

The author has never seen a comprehensive list of these souvenir books. It would be very helpful if any reader knows of one in English or Korean and/or could provide information on any of the souvenir books to the KSS.

Figure 21: Cover of Souvenir Book issued in 1961 with Reprinted Stamps.

It is highly recommended that serious collectors of Korean stamps obtain a copy of the “Korean Kingdom and Empire Philatelic Catalog and Handbook”, by James W. Kerr, Ph. D. It was first published for the Korea Stamp Society in 1965 by David G. Phillips, Miami Florida and updated in a 1990 edition by Michael Rogers, in Winter Park, Florida. Collectors should also try to obtain a copy of “Korean Postal History 1884-1905, English Edition, by Mizuhara Meiso issued in 1998 by the Japan Philatelic Publications. An earlier version in Japanese was issued in 1993.

Unfortunately, neither of these two books is in publication, but occasionally you can find them online on eBay or in used online book stores, like Abebooks.

The author would like to thank Stanley Kim, Florian Eichhorn , Stephen Hasegawa, and Ivo Spanjersberg for the very valuable information they provided to the author to help create this article. Without their vast knowledge, this article would not have been possible to present to the KSS.

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