November, 2001

After reporting on Frank Allard Jr.'s death in the last issue, we must now report the death of the forgery expert and fellow KSS member, Varro Tyler (see the obituary that follows). I had the great opportunity to meet Dr. Tyler in 1994 at PhilaKorea. When the Pusan Stamp Club hosted the Korean stamp collectors for dinner, I had the very good fortune to ride in the bus next to Dr. Tyler. We talked about his professional career, rather naturally as we were both professors, and we talked about Korean forgeries. He shared how he became an expert in this field by "sitting at the feet" of other experts. He raised his concern about who would take on this task after his death, given the paucity of such experts and the age of those who were experts. Dr. Tyler was also present at the show as one of the judges, and he also shared with me the difficulty of judging Korean stamps, especially when there was still so much more that we need to know about some of the classic stamps and their use. There were periodic exchanges of correspondence after that date, related both to Korean fakes, Korean international exhibits, and his advice about the use of herbal medicines. While we were not close, I still feel as if I have lost a friend, and the field of Korean philately has certainly lost an important expert in our field.
Go to Varro Tyler's Obit

In Linn's review of the new Scott Volume 4, the editors observe, "Most changes in the Far East countries show a decrease in value in the range of 5 percent to `0' percent.... Similar downward adjustments are seen in the stamps of Korea." It would appear that some of this decline is driven by the continuing economic crisis in Asia, including Korea. When collectors in their home country cannot afford to buy their own stamps, then it is probable that there will be problems for stamps in holding their own. Given the slow move to recession in the U.S., even prior to September 11, it is not difficult to see why this would be happening.

Based on declining catalogue valuations, and the number of Korean collectors who are dying and who are aging, I talked with Michael Rogers about the future of Korean philately. Michael was very optimistic about the future. He indicated that most of his Korean customers are not members of the KSS (what can we do about this!?) and that many collectors are still prepared to pay good prices for solid material, and these collectors are not just those who are gray-haired. The constant presence of U.S. forces in Korea, and the popularity of adopting Korean children, both support this ongoing interest in Korean stamps.

Congratulations to Steve Luciuk who received a Gold medal at BNAPEX 2001 (Ottawa, Canada) for his exhibit, "Canada and the Korean War," a one-frame exhibit. Itís also exciting to see a Korean article in a mainstream journal. Joe Rossí article on Korean municipal revenues, in the September-October, 2001, issue of The American Revenuer, the gold medal award winning journal, was especially exciting to see as it opens an area of Korean philately that is especially understudied and underreported.

Immediately following the September 11 tragedies, I issued a statement, as President of the Academy of Human Resource Development, that contained, in part, the following: "We recognize that, unfortunately, terrorism is not new and has affected millions of people throughout the world. We extend our deepest sympathy to all affected by such indescribable and senseless destruction of life and property. We call on all people... to bring their skills to bear on bringing peace to the world in this troubled time. We call on those of all faiths--Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, and all others--to offer their prayers, to exercise the common precept across religions and cultures to express love to one another, and to remain hopeful that our leaders will act wisely and well in reducing and ultimately eliminating terrorism throughout the world. God bless us, every one!" As we approach this holiday season, we are still a long way from peace. Perhaps in some small way, as we reach our hands around the globe with our interest in philately, we can help others understand and accept cultural differences and bring a small piece of peace to the world.

Finally, I have just read that our new publisher, Everett Parker, has resigned after six years as editor of BNAPortraitS. His primary reason was the inordinate amount of time he had to commit to the editing task with the miniscule number of manuscripts that he was receiving. Things have gone so well for me in this area that I am surprised with what I am now seeing with a diminished inventory of articles. No panic yet, but Iíd feel a lot more comfortable with a better inventory. I am very appreciative of those authors who are keeping us in business!

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