Testing the South Korean postal system after first liberation of Seoul

Shown here are two cards, one sent by correspondent Richard Johnston, the other by correspondent Charles Grutzner, both to their own (postal) addres. Neither were actually handled handled by the US Army-Air Force Postal Service, which means they probably do not qualify as ‘private usage’ in this instance. (See this KP article for the background […]

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Flags of Countries Participating in the Korean War: Flag Errors

In 1951 Korea issued a series of 42 stamps featuring flags of 21 countries that provided assistance in the Korean War (June 1950- July1953). Armed forces were sent from 16 United Nations countries, most from the United States. Five others, including Italy, the only Non-member State to participate (becoming a member on 14 December 1955), […]

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Post-war reconstruction of South Korea through 1973 tourism stamp

After the Korean War for well over a decade the economic development of South Korea was at a stand still. The country was considered an economic “basket case”. However, during Park Chung-hee’s reign the country began to grow rapidly. One visible effect were the many newly constructed roads and bridges, which featured a lot on […]

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Custodian Force, India in Korea 1953-1954

This cover illustrates the use of stamps overprinted for the Custodian Force, India (CFI). This was a deployment of Indian forces, including the 60th Parachute Field Ambulance unit (which had been in Korea from November 1950) to oversee the repatriation of POWs after the armistice. The CFI was in Korea from late September 1953 until […]

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Use of APO services by non-military organizations in Korea in the 1940-1950s

Affording missionary organisations the facility of using APO numbers was something that began with the US occupation of South Korea after WW2. The USA Military Government in Korea started its own parallel Army Post Office organisation on landing in September 1945. Approved missionary organisations, together with commercial suppliers to the military (usually Korean subsidiaries of […]

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The story of the independent independence activists

Notice something about the sheet for stamps KPC3331-3334? Look again. And then again. It’s really there. Yep, it’s a typo. Look at the first English sentence: “indepence”. Very understandable typo, can happen to anybody. So I emailed the philatelic agency and told them about the error. They emailed back after a couple of days, telling […]

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2018 Winter Olympics PyeongChang: two years ago

Held between 9 and 25 February 2018 in Pyeongchang County, the 2018 Winter Olympics were a triumph for (South) Korea in two ways. Not only did it show a very modern and well-organized Korea, an image completely different from just one generation ago when Korea was still one of the poorest countries in the world, […]

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Having fun with the Korean postal services: cancellations

Because of the extreme emphasis of Koreans on education there are, even today in times of digital communications, a lot of stationery shops in Korea. These shops sell hundreds and sometimes even thousands of different products, one of them being whole series of sticker stamps. These stickers look like stamps because of their “perforation” and […]

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Christian Literature Society correspondence illustrates different surface mail cachets

A series of covers, recently offered for sale on Ebay, show another interesting piece of Korean missionary history. The Christian Literature Society of Korea (대한 기독교 서회) was and is a major publisher and bookseller in Korea, and dates back to the earliest years of Protestant Christian missions. It is an ecumenical organisation as is […]

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Methodist mission address “IPO Box 1182” in Seoul

From the late 1800s a lot of Christian missionary activity took place in Korea. Given that these people usually were very well educated they inevitably wrote home. Many of these letters including the envelopes in which they were sent were saved by the recipients. In recent years with the passing of many of the post-World […]

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1963 cover from important Methodist medical missionary educator

This envelope is particularly interesting from a postal history point of view. The writer, Dr. Roberta G. Rice, was writing to Dr. Charles Mayo the head of the renowned Mayo Clinic, and his wife in a personal capacity. Dr. Rice was a member of the (American) Methodist Mission who had been appointed after the Korean […]

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The 1951 provisional inflationary surcharge issues of Korea (1961): Part 4

(Part 4 of 4) The 1951 provisional Korean stamps were issued with overprinted inflationary denominations of 100, 200, and 300 won on the basic stamps whose values range from 4 to 100 won. These overprinted stamps afford not only an exciting challenge to the casual collector, but also an excellent opportunity for specialization by the […]

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The 1951 provisional inflationary surcharge issues of Korea (1961): Part 3

(Part 3 of 4) The 1951 provisional Korean stamps were issued with overprinted inflationary denominations of 100, 200, and 300 won on the basic stamps whose values range from 4 to 100 won. These overprinted stamps afford not only an exciting challenge to the casual collector, but also an excellent opportunity for specialization by the […]

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