From the first printed stamps in South Korea in 1946 after the WWII, up to around 1953, many of those issues can be found printed as imperforated stamps, double printed stamps and stamps printed on both sides. The stamps were issued by the US Military from 1946-1948. On August 15, 1948, the South Korean government issued its first stamps, independently from the USA. This author, while accumulating a number of these imperfs and errors over many years, has not actively collected these varieties, as he believed there was little documentation of these issues, and no catalogue values to determine the rarity. Many of these stamps are still available today by collectors in auctions and on-line philatelic website for relatively low prices. After 1953 there are very few imperforated stamps or errors found in South Korea as the security and quality control of the printings must have improved dramatically.
As normally happens, when researching information for writing articles, the author discovered he did not understand many things about these issues. The author found that “right under his nose”, there already exists on the Korea Stamps Society’s (KSS) website a resource that references many of these issues. A guide that gives information about these varieties is the “Korean Stamps Catalog”, published by Luther L. L. Dilley in 1961, updated in 1965, and later with prices updated as of 1968. It can be downloaded for free by KSS members.
This catalog was short-lived but can be a very important resource for Korean stamp collectors in many areas of Korean philately. The fact that this catalog has the many varieties of early South Korea stamps was brought to the author’s attention by one of our longest serving members and a past Board member, William Matthews.
This article will show a few examples of these varieties and the author hopes that there are other KSS members with knowledge of these issues and may know of other resources that may be referenced to gain more information.
Scott Catalog does give a bit of information about these early South Korea issues: “Imperforate and part-perforate examples of a great many Korean stamps from No. 61 onward exist. The imperfs. include Nos. 61-90, 93-7, 116-17, 119-126,132-173, 182-186,195,197-199, 202A,203, 205-5, 217, etc. The part-perfs. include Nos. 62-5, 69, 72-73,109,111-113,132, etc. Printers waste includes printed on both sides, etc. As the field is so extensive, the editors believe that they belong more properly in a specialized catalog.” As mentioned, this author does not know of any specialized catalog that details these items, except for Dilley’s old catalog.