APS Stamp Chat with KSS’s Professor James Grayson ‘North and South Korea: The First Issues after the Second World War’

General Philatelic News

Professor James H. Grayson, a member of the KSS since 2000, was invited to speak on the American Philatelic Society’s ‘Stamp Chat’ internet discussion group.  His subject was ‘North and South Korea: The first issues after the Second World’.  He uses a semiotic approach to understanding the designs of stamps to discover the meanings which they convey.

James explained that; “the advantage of looking at northern and southern Korean stamps together is that both the common Korean characteristics are made clear and also the significant differences, particularly in political ethos.  Also, these documents being a record of the time can be used to confute political assertions made today, for example about the origins of the Korean War.”

James is an anthropologist and Methodist minister, who served with the Methodist Church in Korea from 1971 to 1987.  He was then appointed as a Lecturer in Korean Studies at The University of Sheffield, England and held the position of Professor of Modern Korean Studies until his retirement in 2009.

His philatelic interests are in stamps and the postal history of East Asia generally and in Korea particularly, as well as in the first issues of a country.  His particular area of interest and expertise lies in the semiotics of stamp design, namely the cultural and political meaning of the images which appear on a particular stamp.

As well as being a member of the Korea Stamp Society and a member of the KSS’s Board since 2018, he also belongs to the Sheffield Philatelic Society (founded 1894), and the First Issues Collectors Club.

Here is James’ complete APS ‘Stamp Chat’.  Enjoy and please leave your comments and questions below.

For more articles on Korean philately and science please see our Science/Archives series of articles.


2 thoughts on “APS Stamp Chat with KSS’s Professor James Grayson ‘North and South Korea: The First Issues after the Second World War’

  1. Such an interesting and educational lecture.
    As for the last question, I remembered that at time US occupied not only Southern Korea but also Japan homeland. Since they need stamps to be used in Southern Korea but no good printing facilities available, the process of surcharging was done in Japan homeland, using stocks of old Japanese stamps. So the margin was with imprint of Japan printing bureau.

  2. 23.11.2020
    Dear Yi-Fu, According to the Korean Postage Stamp catalogue only the 10 chon and 30 chon stamps were overprinted by the Japanese Imperial Printing Office. In total this amounted to over 1 million stamps. However, some of the 680,000 overprinted copies of the 10 chon stamp were overprinted by the Korean Cabinet Printing Office. The Catalogue doesn’t say how many of these 10 chon stamps were overprinted in Japan and how many in Korea. The 5, 10 and 20 chon and 5 won overprints were done by the Cabinet Office printers in Korea. The total of these issues was 1 and a quarter million stamps.

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