How to determine the cost of sending a telegram in a society with two different character sets?

South Korea

A problem which is very uncommon in most parts of the world is the Korean question of what to do with the fact that Koreans could use either (Korean) hangul or (Chinese) hanja characters when sending a telegram? While they can convey exactly the same message in Korean, the two writing systems are completely different and therefore require a completely different way of transmission.

How this would work technically is a different story, requiring quite a lot of explanation with regards to how the Korean language works, but how much would you have to pay for a hangul or hanja based telegram? How can you look up the exact price at a given point in South Korean history? Interestingly South Korea has digitized most of its archives in the last ten years. That makes it possible to search online for documents containing information on just this particular subject.

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Ivo Spanjersberg
Currently KSS Publisher/Webmaster, previously KSS Chairman (2018-2019). Living in Amsterdam. I collect Korean revenue stamps, see my website:

1 thought on “How to determine the cost of sending a telegram in a society with two different character sets?

  1. Ivo, your article got me thinking about how many countries used stamps to send telegrams, how many had special “telegram or telegraph” stamps just used for sending telegrams or how many countries didn’t used any stamps at all? I realize it is a philatelic subject I know hardly anything about. I guess there must have been some private telegraph companies that made their own stamps,too? It could be really fascinating area for collectors. I wonder if any of our members specialize in these?

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