Editorial
May, 2002
   

Publicity about PHILAKOREA2002 is heating up. The FTP-sponsored show will be held in Seoul from August 2-11. There are already a number of stamps and events planned. Check it out at [http://www.philakorea.com/english]! It looks very interesting; the publicity brings back fond memories of the last FIP-sponsored show in Korea in 1994. I am still planning on attending. I have found two sources for very cheap airfare to Asia; you may wish to give them a try. No endorsement or guarantees are intended!

Jenny Su
Holiday Northwest in Seattle
1- 800-456-9189
(Note: Jenny works from 1pm to 5pm (Seattle
time)

Vivian Huang
Gateway Travel in Minneapolis
612-872-4931

I received an e-mail from Stephen Hasegawa indicating that he was dsposing of du-plicate or unwanted Korean revenues (and other stock) on eBay, urging me to check them out, knowing of my own interests in revenues. I used to visit eBay regularly 4-5 years ago, but then I gave up. I asked Stephen if he would share his experiences as a seller on eBay, and his response is included in this issueís Letters to the Editor. By the way, Stephen has graciously agreed to enclose a KSS membership application form with each successful lot sent out. Thanks, Steve!

Checking back in on eBay as a buyer, though, reminded me of why I gave up using it! What I have found is that there is a strategic approach to bidding on eEay, especially if you are after merchandise that is desirable enough to attract other bidders. Hereís how I have found it necessary to be successflul in buying on eBay. I would welcome other perspectives.

The first "rule" is, never bid on an item until it is about to close out, If you bid early, that only encourages others to bid up the price, and you end up paying more for it than you would if you bid only once. The second "rule" is, bid on an item only when there is a minute left before it closes. This is a bit of a risk. The clocks donít seem to be too accurate in when the bidding actually closes- I have encountered lots that have closed as much as an hour and a half early. However, as with all auctions, the last bidder is the one to win the lot. So, if you can get the last bid in, you win. It is helpful, though, to give yourself a little leeway because you donít know exactly how much another bidder has bid. So you need time to find out that there may have been a higher bid than you are willing to go. However, if you always bid as much as you are willing to pay, then you will either lose the lot because someone else is willing to pay more, or you will win the bid because you will only be charged one increment over what the other bidders have entered as their highest bid.

Of course, to do this, you have to be retired, work from home, or have the time at work to access the website at the time of closing. And closings are set at strange times - 5a.m., 2:36 p.m. - of course, all in military time, so you have to watch for that, as well. But there always seems to be someone able and willing to bid at these strange hours. So, if there is a lot that you really, really want, you have to be prepared to be on the computer about the time the lot is going to close.

I have not, personally, had difficulties with delivery, misrepresentation, fraud, or the like. However, there are enough stories about these out there that a buyer does have to be cautious. I have found that some sellers are much more competent at putting up scans, so some can easily be enlarged, others cannot. Some are sharply focused, others are blurry. So it is sometimes difficult to see exactly what it is that you are bidding on. And, of course, there is a lot of ignorance out there about Korea, so you sometimes find some very strange and wonderful things, and sometimes some very common things described (and priced!) as "rare." Everything here is simply to suggest that caveat emptor (buyer beware) remains good advice!

One of the very real surprises as Iíve followed some of Stephenís revenue lots is how much the local revenues are selling for, This continues to argue for the importance for the field of Korean philately to have a catalog of Korean local revenues. There is certainly a lot for us to learn there. Someone is buying all of these local revenues- I hope that we can get an article here sometime soon.

Unfortunately, I was not able to get this issue completed before I had to head out the door to embark on a long (in both time and distance) trip to Kyrgyzstan. I am the recipient of a large three-year State Department grant to develop a graduate degree in Educational Leadership in two universities in Kyrgyzstan. This was my first extended trip to kick off the project (lasting five weeks). On my return, I met my wife in Paris for one week of getting reacquainted! There isnít much postal history in Kyrgyzstan. Itís fun to visit the central post office. Not many people there can afford to collect their own stamps, and the postal clerks just love to see us coming. Kyrgyzstan is one of those countries that has been plagued with illegitimate postal emissions. At least buying the stamps in the central post office guarantees that the stamps see legitimate usage. My postal history creations are, obviously, philatelic in nature, but itís still fun. I have a professional colleague who was in Thailand while I was in Kyrgyzstan. He, too, is a philatelist, so we sent covers to each other during our visits. Iíll bet there arenít many Thailand-Kyrgyzstan and vice versa covers out there!

The next issue should see a report on PHILAKOREA2002 if everything goes well. I am also very grateful to Chuck Swenson who has given me permission to publish for the first time a chapter from his forthcoming book, An Illustrated Catalog of the Roman-Letter Post-marks and Paquebot markings of the Japanese Empire (1875-1945). This is a lengthy chapter on Korea with lots of illustrations, so it will be presented in serial format over the next three-four issues, depending on what other material I have to publish.

I wish you all a great summer, with Successful philatelic hunting.

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