The Historic Significance of a Postal Cover from 1895

Old Korea

In a fascinating glimpse into the postal history of the late 19th century, a cover adorned with a unique combination of stamps provides a snapshot of the era’s postal practices. This particular cover, totaling 40 poon in postage, is comprised of stamps in denominations of 5, 10, and 25 poon. This combination precisely met the domestic postage rate of the time, which was structured at 10 poon per 7.5 grams, with an additional 30 poon required for registration.

The stamps on this cover bear the mark of the Incheon cancellation, dated October 6, 1895. This cancellation is distinguished by a double circular seal, and the item carries a registration number of 32 (written in red hanja/Chinese characters). Remarkably, this date also marks the issuance of the Taegeuk ordinary stamps, making the cover a first-day postal matter for these stamps. The use of the double circular seal, which was prevalent from June 1, 1895, to 1898, signifies the period’s postal regulation adherence.

Fig. 1: The front of the cover, showing the stamps and the registration text.

The year 1895 was a pivotal moment for postal regulations in the region, marked by the promulgation of domestic postal regulations under royal order No. 124, Article 80, on May 26. This was swiftly followed by the enactment of the postal delivery law between Hanseong and Incheon on May 28, alongside the announcement of postal office bylaws under Article 107. These regulations, including the stamp carrier permit law, were foundational in shaping the organized postal system of the time. This cover, therefore, not only represents a piece of postal history but also encapsulates the regulatory advancements that were instrumental in modernizing postal services at the end of the 19th century.

Dr. Joel Lee
Born in Korea, Vietnam war participation as ROK marine, Dr. of Ministry, Retired Presbyterian Pastor. 40 years collected for Korea stamps 1884-1905.

2 thoughts on “The Historic Significance of a Postal Cover from 1895

  1. Beautiful cover and informative write-up. I did a tour in Vietnam, US Army, 1971-1972. Welcome home and thank you, Dr. Lee.

  2. Mr. Kenneth J. Bryson,
    Thank you, and glad to know you.
    The Vietnam war, it was a long time ago. I was 19 year old, from December 1967 to May 1969 I was there. First 6 month I was a computer of the headquarter of the artillery battalion of the Blue Dragon of ROKMC, Hoi An. And from June 1968 to May 1969, I was at the Liaison office of the US 3rd Marine Amphibious Force, Da Nang. Almost every night, I was playing Harmonica at the next of the shrine of the ferry landing place. You made me to be back there in my memories….
    Be healthy and happy!

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