Postal and communications routes in Korea (1913)

Maps play an indispensable role in philatelic research, offering a unique lens through which to explore the intricate tapestry of history and geography that stamps represent. As miniature canvases of cultural and political narratives, stamps are more than just a means of postage; they are a reflection of the changing landscapes, borders, and identities of […]

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Thoughts about Korean Philately (Looking at 2023 new issues)

We all know and sadly recognise that the Korean nation has been divided since the end of the Second World War, and that a devastating civil war was fought there in the early 1950s. These two unfortunate facts, however, are the source of a major difference in the way in which the two governments of […]

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Postal history documents from the USAMGIK period in the NAK archive

The database of the National Archives of Korea can be a valuable resource for philatelists interested in the postal history of the 1945-1948 USAMGIK period in Korea. By utilizing the database effectively, a philatelist can gain insights into the postal system during this time, including stamp usage, design, and production, as well as the broader […]

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Korean Stamp Review 4th Quarter 1992 article on the Korea 1940 unissued seal

The Korean Stamp Review was a quarterly magazine published in English from 1976 to 2014 by the Korean Philatelic Center and authorized by KoreaPost. Ivo Spanjersberg published an article about one of the issues on the Korea Stamp Society’s (KSS) website. At that time Ivo wrote that some issues were available online on the KoreaPost […]

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Korea Illustrated –The Embassy of Korea Magazine issued by the Korean Information Office in Washington, D.C.

In one of my boxes with all things related to Dr. Sherwood Hall’s Christmas and New Year/Tuberculosis seals, I found a copy of the English language Spring Issue of the “Korea Illustrated’ magazine from The Embassy of Korea issued in May, 1973 by the Korean Information Office in Washington, D.C. It has a good article […]

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Stamps, Nationalism and Political Transitions

The academic publishers Routledge has just published a new book edited by Prof. Stanley D. Brunn of the University of Kentucky on the subject of stamps as a source for documentary research on political trends, changes and transitions. Stanley Brunn, along with Jack Child and David Scott, has been among the leading Anglophone scholars to […]

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Stamp collecting promotion posters from the 1980s and 1990s on NAK website

The South Korean government has been promoting the digitization of archives for several decades now. This is great for stamp collectors, as highly detailed information on South Korean postal and revenue stamps has come to light thanks to the efforts of South Korean archives. If you can read/write (type) Korean, a lot of information can […]

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North and South Korean Issues During the Korean War: Ideological Conflict

Much has been written on the logistics, causes, and effects of the Korean War (25 June 1950 – 27 July 1953). Charles Armstrong was correct to assert that the Cold War was a campaign of propaganda and psychological warfare,1 with the Korean War being no exception. It was not just a physical conflict, it was […]

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The Semiotics of the First Korean Issues

As a philatelist, my principal interest has been in the semiotics of the stamps, the meaning of their design. The first stamps issued by a national government or stamp issuing authority are particularly intriguing. This is a government’s first opportunity to present itself graphically to the world. What do they put on their very first […]

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North Korea’s Interpretation in 1959 of the Korean War

On 25 June, 1950, the DPRK invaded the Republic of Korea (South Korea) in a war for the unification of the nation. Due to immediate United Nations military action this invasion was unsuccessful. An armistice agreement was signed between the UN forces and the forces of the DPRK and the People’s Republic of China on […]

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The Semiotics of Postage Stamps: Tiny Bits of Paper as Government Documents

There are many ways of collecting and studying postage stamps – for their intrinsic collectable interest, for thematic interests, as a representative of the history of the postal service in different countries, and many other aspects. One approach which I follow is to examine the semiotics of the design of stamps. That is, what is […]

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North Korean National Identity, Expressed Through Postage Stamps, 1948-1970 (Conclusion / Bibliography)

[David Hall’s undergraduate thesis “North Korean National Identity, Expressed Through Postage Stamps, 1948-1970” is published in full on the KSS website. This part contains the Conclusion, several other parts such as abbreviations, and the Bibliography.] 

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North Korean National Identity, Expressed Through Postage Stamps, 1948-1970 (Chapter 3)

[David Hall’s undergraduate thesis “North Korean National Identity, Expressed Through Postage Stamps, 1948-1970” is published in full on the KSS website. This is “Chapter Three – North Korea and the Changing Nature of East Asia, 1963-1970”.] Due to North Korea’s successful economic recovery and Kim Il-sung’s consolidation of power through Juche and purges, North Korea became […]

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North Korean National Identity, Expressed Through Postage Stamps, 1948-1970 (Chapter 2)

[David Hall’s undergraduate thesis “North Korean National Identity, Expressed Through Postage Stamps, 1948-1970” is published in full on the KSS website. This is “Chapter Two – Reconstruction, Consolidation, and Juche Ideology, 1954-1962”.] Damage brought by the Korean war exceeded 420 billion won and thousands of factories, homes, and social infrastructures were destroyed.49 Therefore, Kim Il-sung used […]

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North Korean National Identity, Expressed Through Postage Stamps, 1948-1970 (Chapter 1)

[David Hall’s undergraduate thesis “North Korean National Identity, Expressed Through Postage Stamps, 1948-1970” is published in full on the KSS website. This is “Chapter One – State Building, Nationalism, and War, 1948-1953”.] The North Korean state was established 9 September 1948, two years after liberation from Japanese rule and subsequent Soviet administration. From its immediate establishment, […]

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North Korean National Identity, Expressed Through Postage Stamps, 1948-1970 (Abstract / Introduction)

[David Hall’s undergraduate thesis “North Korean National Identity, Expressed Through Postage Stamps, 1948-1970” is published in full on the KSS website. This part contains both the “Abstract” and the “Introduction”.]  

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Examples from the National Archives of Korea (NAK) online database

After learning about the existence of the online database of the National Archives of Korea (NAK) I quickly discovered a treasure trove of documents related to Korean philately. Thousands of documents with listings of stamp values, revenue stamps issues (including local revenue stamps) and meter marks, often even shown with (simple) drawings. And that’s just the […]

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“The Two Koreas’ Societies Reflected In Stamps” by Gabriel Jonsson

The article “The Two Koreas’ Societies Reflected In Stamps”, written by Gabriel Jonsson, was published in “East Asia” magazine in 2005. Mr. Jonsson is currently working as researcher at the Department for Asian, Middle Eastern and Turkish Studies at the Stockholm University’s Faculty of Humanities. 

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A Short History of Korean Stamps

(From KP May 2012 Vol. 54, No. 2, pages 13-15) Nowadays, many veteran philatelists are quite pessimistic about the future of their hobby. Fifty years ago, every schoolboy was collecting stamps, but now the tradition is obviously dying out. Perhaps, several decades ago, before TV, the internet, iPhones, and video games, stamps were among the […]

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