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Here are some more of the many articles published on our website:

Japanese era “directional cachets” used on New Ilhan covers leading the way to the USA

When I was writing my earlier article on New Ilhan (see KP Vol. 57 No. 1), I didn’t even realize I had more envelopes from the New Ilhan company. When I did realize, I looked around for more envelopes from New Ilhan and discovered several other items. All these envelopes must have come from the […]


My postal experiences in the DPRK 2012 – 2013

From early August 2012 to the end of November 2013 I was stationed in Pyongyang (DPRK) for the World Food Program of the United Nations. Because of the limited international internet access allowed to the WFP national staff in the DPRK (mainly seconded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs). There is also a WFP DPRK […]


History of the Korea Stamp Society Written in 1976

As I looking through my old Korean Philately magazines in preparation for the KP 70th anniversary issue of the Korea Stamp Society I came across something that I had not noticed before. On the back of a facsimile of the first KP issued on October 1, 1951, I found a summary of the KSS from […]


The Bencruachan making waves

One of the most interesting types of (philatelic) articles are in my opinion the ones which have a personal connection. Take for instance the KSS members who used to work in Korea in the 1960s and 1970s. At that time they wrote quite a few articles on the philatelic situation on the ground, which has […]


The Tatham Stamp and Coin Company and Dr. Halls TB/Christmas Seals

A 2-sided sheet containing Dr. Sherwood Hall’s Korean Tuberculosis/Christmas and New Seals from 1932-1940 caught my eye on eBay recently; it was offered by a dealer in the UK. It was produced by the Tatham Stamp and Coin Company of Springfield, Massachusetts in the USA and it is a set of seals “on approval”. When […]


Stamp essay of 1884 5 mun stamp in Spink auction: do we know more about this item?

In Spink’s auction of 12 January 2020 a rather strange item showed up. No, the type of item is not strange, stamp essays are quite commonly available. Actually, one might even say some essays are too common, just have a look at Willem van der Bijl’s article on the subject of North Korean “artworks” in […]


Readers Question: Envelope for monetary donations or condolence letters?

Here is an envelope that looks like Dr. Hall’s examples but has no space for addresses. I thought it could be intended for monetary donations or possibly for condolence letters placed inside comfort bags. Does anyone know for sure?


Missionary Correspondence in Colonial Korea: McCune – Hunt Letters

The three envelopes described below are small but important pieces of information about three key Presbyterian missionary families in Korea – the McCunes, the Hunts, and the Blairs. All of these families were involved in education, and became embroiled in the politics of colonial Korea under the Japanese. In particular, they and other missionaries were […]


A tense peace or a relaxed war?

Korea is a peninsula that lies in the sea from China and Siberia towards Japan. It has since 1945 effectively consisted of two parts, North and South. The history of this division has nothing to do with Korea itself, but the effect is that since 1948 there are two countries, the “DPRK” (North) and the […]


The one thing they agree upon: “Dokdo is ours”!

Despite being mortal enemies, North and South Korea agree on thing: Dokdo, the group of rocks in the middle of the “Sea of Japan” or “East Sea” is Korean and not Japanese. The international name for Dokdo is officially “Liancourt Rocks”, a name often found on maps to avoid offending either Korea or Japan, but […]


Korean postal affairs under American occupation (1946)

Prior to occupation of southern Korea by American forces, the postage used was Japanese. Since the American occupation, and up to the present time, they have continued to use Japanese postage on hand. Importation of additional stamps from Japan was, of course, immediately stopped. No attempt was made to over the postage on hand in […]


April 1946 postwar usages of Postage Fee Paid forms with Japanese Showa and USAMGIK surcharges

In 1919 the Japanese Posts introduced “Postage Fee Paid” forms. These forms were used to pay for various kinds of mail matter in bulk. The official Japanese postal term was 郵便料金受領証原符 = “Postage fee reception original form” and is imprinted on top. The actual mail items received a circular bisected handstamp in characters “(post office […]


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 […]


Reader’s Question: How much to send an envelope from North Korea to the USA in 1978?

Marci Jarvis, editor of Cat Mews (which is the magazine of the Cats on Stamps Study Unit) has a question with regards to the postage on this envelope. The Korean Stamp Corporation (KSC) sent it to the then editor of Topical Time, Jerry Husak, the founder of the American Topical Association. On it are a […]

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Another Type of Korea Methodist Seal

In an earlier article on 17 August 2019 posted on the Korea Stamp Society’s website, we wrote about the Methodist’s 50th anniversary in Korea. Dr. Sherwood Hall, the creator of Korea’s first Tuberculosis/Christmas and New Year’s seal in 1932 also designed this seal. A number of examples of these seals used on mailings from Korea […]


Examples of DPRK new issue leaflet from the 1990s: when times were different

For several years (starting in 2018) the KSS has been listing new stamp issues from North Korea. With these new issues the stamp issuing entity of the DPRK, the Korea Stamp Corporation (KSC), always releases a new issue leaflet. This issue shows details of the stamps, while at the same time doubling as an order […]


Reader’s Question: Why these strange North Korean stamp issues?

Leafing through the catalog of DPRK stamps and analyzing the policy of themes and stories on the stamps, I had several questions. Perhaps you, or other KSS members, can help me with the answer. Starting in 1946 to issue postage stamps with neutral themes (Rosa of Sharon, Diamond Mountains), the postal administration expanded the themes […]


Readers Question: Chōsen Sotokufu Teishin Kyoku Card?

My question concerns a card that was issued by Chōsen Sotokufu Teishin Kyoku and features a picture of chickens with an inscription in Korean. It appears that the design could have been issued as a New Year greeting. The Teishin Kyoku issued a set of post cards on October 1, 1910 commemorating the opening of […]

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Early Korean fake stamps (1884 – 1895 series)

Forgeries have always been a major problem for philatelists. This is perhaps even more true for early Korean materials: the simple fact that early Korean stamps weren’t much collected before the First World War made it quite easy for stamp forgers, especially from Japan, to create forgeries which could fool collectors. Even though often very […]


Korean Philately Vol. 57 No. 4 (Q4 2021)

The KSS has published a new edition of the KSS magazine, Korean Philately, the fourth KP for 2021! As a member you can download this edition of Korean Philately for free as a PDF. And again, just as was the case with all four issues for 2020, you can own a full-colour magazine-style hard-copy version […]


Return of Chinese prisoners of war (1954)

Towards the end of the Korean War the issue of when and where to repatriate prisoners of war was a major problem. One year after the release in January 1954 from prisoner-of-war camps of Chinese troops in South Korea, Taiwan (or the “Republic of China”/ROC) issued a series of special stamps. The 1955 official Taiwan […]


One Example of Dr. Sherwood Hall’s Tuberculosis/Christmas and New Year Envelopes and Letters Stationery

Eventually we will publish a full description of the Dr. Sherwood Hall’s known Tuberculosis/Christmas and New Year envelopes and letters stationery. This article gives a brief introduction of a set of stationery used personally by Dr. Sherwood Hall when thanking a friend in Fayetteville, Arkansas for some stamps and covers that were sent to Dr. […]


1957 Czechoslovakia Delegation in Panmunjom

The images show official forms created by the Czechoslovak delegation which was part of the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission (NNSC), located in “Panmunchzhon” (Panmunjom/Panmunjeom/P’anmunjŏm; 판문점). The forms come with North Korean stamps, cancelled by special cancellations on 22 May 1957.


Soviet Bloc Charity Seals for North Korea—what are they?

Recently I was looking for Korean Relief philatelic related material, the type of which I have written about in past articles for the Korea Stamp Society’s website and Korean Philatelic magazine. While doing this, I found a couple of sets of seals from Hungary offered by a Hungarian stamp dealer on Delcampe that appear to […]


Christmas Seals from the Japanese Colonial Era

The use of Christmas Seals in Korea began with the work of the Methodist medical missionaries Dr. Sherwood Hall (Korean name Ha Rak 賀樂, 1893-1991) and his wife Dr. Marian Bottomley Hall (1896-1991) who were based in the city of Haeju (海州) in South Hwanghae Province (黃海道), now in North Korea.


Follow-Up to Millard Beatty’s Article on the UN Flags Errors of 1951

Millard Beatty’s article discussed some of the errors he had found on the Italy and New Zealand issues of Korea’s 1951 UN Flag set. I was aware of the Italy issue missing the crown, but the spelling of “Zealand” with an “I”, rather than an “L” was a new variety to me, and I decided […]


Dr. Sherwood Hall’s TB/Christmas and New Year Woodblock Print Cards

Along with Dr. Sherwood Hall’s TB/Christmas and New Year seal program, which began in 1932, to raise money for fighting tuberculosis in Korea, a number of items related to the design of the seals where promoted and sold to the public to raise additional funds. As we have seen in earlier articles published on the […]


Japanese Offices in Korea Double-Circle Date Stamps (1876-1888)

This is a collection of date stamps used in Japanese Offices in Korea from 1876 to 1888. During this period the first type of CDS, “double-circle date stamps”, was used at Busan (or “Fusan” in Japanese), Wonsan (or “Gensan”), and Incheon (or “Ninsen”). The Japanese-language version of this exhibit was shown at JAPEX 2019 and […]


Missionary Mr. Underwood

Mr. Horace Grant Underwood (July 19, 1859 – Oct. 12, 1916) was the first Presbyterian missionary for the Korean mission from the Presbyterian church U. S. A.. In Korea he is well known as just “Missionary Underwood”, and his Korean name is “Won Doo-Woo” (원 두우; 元 杜尤). Mr. Underwood was born July 19, 1859, […]


Korean Relief Inc. and the Story of Father Aloysius Schwartz

Our past Chairman and Publisher of the Korea Stamp Society (KSS), Ivo Spanjersberg, has long urged that he and I write an article about the Korean Relief Inc. organization and its related Korean philatelic items. Various items of postal history, including postal stationery, aerogrammes, Christmas seals and labels, and other related merchandize, are frequently seen […]


International Women’s Day (8 March) Featured in the Philately of the DPRK

In the period from 1953-1960, four issues of stamps, dedicated to the International Women’s Day (8 March) were issued in North Korea (this day is mainly celebrated in the territory of the former USSR, and some countries of Asia and Africa). Since 2019 this holiday has been a regional holiday in Berlin, Germany.


“I’ll make the world the way I like it!”

It is well-known that the People Republic of China (PRC) rewrites its history as it deems politically correct. The same goes for pictures showing the history of China. Since you haven’t seen everything yourself, you seldom notice it, of course. But here we have two stamp images that are supposed to show the same thing, […]


Dutch New Guinea Forces in Korean War

A member from the Netherlands philatelic group, the ZWP Study Circle, Han Dijkstra, helped me and Ivo Spanjersberg write an article about the postal history of New Guinea and detailed information about the postal issues of the United Nations “UNTEA” forces during the turnover of West New Guinea to Indonesia in the early 1960’s.


Comments on the new airmail and regular issues (1962)

In the 1960s (and for years after that decade) KSS member Lyman Hale and his wife lived in South Korea as medical missionaries, meaning they stayed there both as medical staff and as missionaries. Especially during the 1960s Lyman Hale wrote a lot of articles for KP (but as recent as 2019 he was still […]


The types of “unissued” or otherwise irregular stamps of the DPRK

In early 2019 I wrote an article for the KSS about “unissued” DPRK stamps. This showed that, in addition to the regular issued stamps, there were (and are still) many “disappeared” or “re-appeared” stamps in DPRK’s philatelic history. This short refresher article gives a bit more information as to why these stamps were treated the […]


Story of Baron G. de Gunzburg – Russian Government Official in Chosen

(On the relationship Between Chosŏn and Russia) On October 8, 1895, Queen Myung-Sung was assassinated by the Japanese force. King Go-Jong, who was also confined at the palace Kyung-Bok, fearing for his life, wanted to escape. On November 28, 1895, the King’s first try to flee to the legation of the United States failed because […]


Korean Philately Magazine – Blurb and how to Order Hard Copies

We have received several questions lately from members on how to order the hard copies of the Korean Philately (KP) magazines. It is currently explained on the website on how to order through Blurb, but we thought it would be good idea to do a refresher article on how the new KP’s came to be […]


When the war drums stop, so does the KSC

The Korea Stamp Corporation, the stamp issuing organization of the DPRK (North Korea), generally creates stamp along several lines of themes. One of those common themes is something along the lines of “the eternal fight for the motherland against our enemies”. The thing is: the official feelings towards these enemies, whomever they may be (usually […]

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Korean Philately Vol. 57 No. 3 (Q3 2021)

The KSS has published a new edition of the KSS magazine, Korean Philately, the second KP for 2021! As a member you can download this edition of Korean Philately for free as a PDF. And again, just as was the case with all four issues for 2020, you can own a full-colour magazine-style hard-copy version […]


First Korean photo gravure stamp issued (1969)

On May 1, 1969 the Republic of Korea released its first postage stamp produced by means of newly installed photogravure printing equipment. The 7W blue regular stamp features the flag of Korea. The photogravure production represents a distinct advance over the lithographed stamps which have been produced by the Korean Government Printing Agency since the […]