Examples of Korean War era Dutch soldiers’ cards in Dutch auction

Auction News

The Dutch mail auction ‘Sheraton & Peel’ by René Hillesum Filatelie (since 1991) offers a selection of Dutch (and Colonies) and international philatelic materials. The upcoming auction of December 23 is offering several postal history items of interest to Korea collectors.

The first lot we come across (lot 5072) is a very special one. It is a picture postcard (Panama Canal) sent by a Belgian UN soldier (Korea, January 1953). Mail from Belgians is not seen very often (especially mail not made by request) but in this case there is something special. It was carried by the Dutch steamer s.s. Waterman. This ship did not call in Korea, so the soldier had to make a stopover. The card has as sender a Belgian UN soldier and he is writing while on board of the Waterman. There is also the one line postmark (for freedom of postage) in two languages, Dutch and French, as it should be in Belgium: S.M.-Coree M.D.-Korea. (s.m. = Service Militaire and M.D. = Militaire Dienst.

Fig. 1 (address side)
Fig. 1 (picture side)

The second lot (5442) is a small booklet (Dutch language) named ‘De echte waarheid‘ (‘the real truth’). It is a comics booklet, as satire on the communist daily ‘De Waarheid’ (‘the truth’). It was staunchly anti-communist and this issue of May 1953 is also dealing with Korea. There is a chapter: “De Noord-Koreanen hebben geen belangstelling voor gewonde gevangenen.” (‘The North Koreans have no interest in wounded prisoners. ‘)

Fig. 2: cover of booklet. The text ‘Doet U ons ook eens een plezier, kiest onze filiaalhoudster in Nederland’ is a sarcastic remark meaning ‘Do us a favor, vote for our branch in the Netherlands’. The red pencil offered by the communists in the picture was (and still is) used in Dutch elections to colour a spot on an election form indicating a vote for a particular candidate. Combined this refers to (Dutch) elections in which people could vote for the Dutch communist party.

Next lot (6048) is more common. A picture postcard from a Dutch soldier in Korea sent home. There is only the indication ‘militair‘. On arrival by plane at Schiphol, Amsterdam the card got a postmark ‘Portvrij Uitreiken/Exp.Bur. Asd/Schiphol‘ (‘Delivery free of postage due/Expedition Office Amsterdam/Schiphol’).

Fig. 3 (address side)
Fig. 3 (picture side)

Lot 6049 is more unusual. It is a Dutch franked postcard which has been sent by a collector to get a postmark. The card is hand written by the ‘facteur’, the mail man of the Dutch troops. The card has been sent through the American field post. An extra pictorial postmark for air mail service.

Fig. 4 (address side)
Fig. 4 (text part)

And finally: a “safe conduct pass”. This type of leaflet was used to entice North Korean or Chinese soldiers to more readily surrender themselves to UN troops. By making it look like a North Korean 100 won banknote soldiers were tricked into picking up the “note”. Possession of such leaflets usually meant execution on the spot for a DPRK or Chinese “volunteer” soldier. The same type of leaflet was also used the other around, aimed at UN troops. This type of leaflet is still being used by South Korean organizations to this very day. They are nowadays send by balloon into North Korea, where they are scattered at altitude across North Korea by the wind.

Fig. 5: Propaganda text on leaflet
Fig. 5: Image showing one side of a North Korean 100 won bank note

The catalogue can be viewed on www.filatelist.com. The entire text is available as pdf and high quality scans can be found on the website as well.

[Editor: René Hillesum is a member of the KSS in good standing. However, as always stated underneath auction news, please note that the KSS has no financial or legal links with any auction company including ‘Sheraton & Peel’. All business between the public and auction companies is strictly between private parties and falls outside of KSS responsibility.]

1 thought on “Examples of Korean War era Dutch soldiers’ cards in Dutch auction

  1. Now, this is very interesting. As a collector of Netherlands and Colonies and Korea, I had never thought before about collecting philatelic items that connected both the Netherlands and Korea together. Thanks Ivo.

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