Recently, in going over my Korean inflationary issues and presentation sheets, I was struck by a cancellation that is almost too perfect for a routine postal strike: neat, clean, sharp and almost printed-looking. Reviewing KOREAN PHILATELY, I found I am not alone in my suspicion – but its status is still indeterminate.
First, to review the literature. Comroe introduces a useful classification based on the number of bars in the comb. The 8-bar is divided into types A to D. B is smaller (24 mm circle) and C is larger (26 mm) than A and D (diameters not given), which are the same with an inner circle diameter of 15 mm. D has a distinctive hump on the right in the lower bar of the date bridge. In this article, we are going to deal chiefly with A and D, and my cancels are all type D. Comroe’s illustration of A is dated 9 Sept 1946, the earliest use so far, and his D is dated 5 April 1953. This is the latest usage, and the only one with a four-digit year.
Phillips illustrates a presentation sheet with an 8D cancel. His differs from mine as to the position of the cancel. He also shows a set of Scott 122-25 on cover with two Pusan 7-bar, thick cancels with the correct date of issue: 1 – 4 – 51.
Strout (1970) illustrates C2 and C3 with 8D cancels dated 7-6-49, the published date of issue. They are labeled “highly suspicious.” On the preceding page is an illustration of C2 with a domestic cancel dated 82-6-9 with a notation that the stamps were not available of the 7th. This is an addressed cover while the first two are unaddressed.
Mathews presents copies of 8D on Cl (10-10-47), C2 and C3 (7-6-49) and C4 (1-1-50). The 1947 date should be 1 October, the date on C2 and C3 has been discussed above, but the 1-1-50 date is correct for C4. In addition he shows 8A on Scott 103, 109, and 111-13 — all cancelled with the correct dates of issue between 1-7-49 and 1-12-49 Because of similarities in letters and an indentation above the “0” he suggests 8D is a damaged 8A. Two more examples of the 8D cancel may be found in the May., 1968, and Nov., 1969, issues of K.P.
At this point I should present the nine 8D cancels I have They are unusual in that not one is on typical FDC material. They are all clear strikes, without halo, in a bluish-purple color. The outer circle measures 24.6 mm and the inner 14 7 mm. The top comb is 13.3 mm wide at the bridge. The first three stamps are on plain, inexpensive, unaddressed envelopes measuring 9 7 X 14.7 cm. The stamps are Scott 128a and 177a (inverted sur-charges) and K.S.S. 204b (the double surcharge not listed by Scott). The stamps appear genuine to me. The have the “design errors” – prolongation of the central bar of the NE trigram and the protruding lower lip of the “3”. These are reminiscent of the “secret marks” of the Dragon stamps of Japan and are probably intentional. All three are dated 5-7-51, However, #128 was issued June 5th and the other two on December 3rd.