Cover with 1884 stamp and cancellation: your thoughts?

Q&A

James E. Rogers is listed in several KSS member lists, starting in the 1956 listing with membership number #91. At that time he was listed as part of “GCA Unit, # 23 N A F Navy # 510” with his address listed as “FPO New York NY”. The listing shows James Rogers as a contemporary of other well-known members such as James Kerr (KSS #90) and Captain Kirby (KSS #93). James Rogers apparently owned a cover which was said to be from 1884. His son, John Rogers, has the story.

My Father was an early Korea Stamp Society member. After his passing in 1979, a good portion of his Korea collection was sold through Harmer’s of San Francisco September 21-22, 1981 auction. He was proud of one item in particular – a copy of #2 tied to an 1884 cover, lot #1239. He purchased the cover in 1957 from L. F. Livingston of Baltimore, Maryland, purportedly from the Woodward collection.

From the very beginning the existence of postally used examples of #1 and #2 on cover has been controversial. Before he purchased the cover from Livingston, he wrote to a friend in Korea who indicated his belief “that no postally used covers could possibly exist, however there were some reportedly used to commemorate the new Korean Postal System and that these were but only favors and delivered by the regular mails.” He believed that this was one of those favor covers.

Given the status of this cover in his collection, I purchased it at the auction. There were several subsequent references to it in Linn’s Stamp News, including an assessment by Dr. Jason Hyun that it “is a forgery in my opinion.” I tucked the cover away over 40 years ago and recently brought it out, having time in my retirement to research its history further and perhaps assist other researchers with details not previously reported, including the original purchase receipt and correspondence from Livingston.

Here is the cover, front and reverse:

Fig. 1: Front of cover
Fig. 2: Reverse of cover

Also, for good measure, here is the cover with a ruler next to it to give an idea of the size:

Fig. 3: front with ruler shown for size.

So, what do you think? Please leave your ideas in the comments below.

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2 thoughts on “Cover with 1884 stamp and cancellation: your thoughts?

  1. Hello As the cancellation appears to be from the Japanese post office of Incheon (December 2X?), it is questionable to me whether this cover was genuinely mailed for postal purposes. Plus, I wonder if such a domestic letter, purportedly from Incheon to Seoul, would carry the address that begins with “朝鮮京城府”, reading “Joseon, Gyeongseong-bu”, which sounds like the way Seoul was called under the Japanese rule in 1910-1945. My article on “Japanese Offices in Korea Double-Circle Date Stamps (1876-1888)” was posted on the KSS website on (21 August 2021.

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