A Detailed Explanation of
Korean Revenue Stamps

By Stephen J. Hasegawa

As printed in Korean Philately, May 1997, Vol. 43, No.2

*(Clicking on the red numbers, shows stamp pictures copied from the
1997 Korean Standard Stamp Catalogue (KSSC))


The author has been collecting Korean revenue stamps for over 30 years and decided to write a detailed article on the subject for the first time. I will be pleased and welcome to receive any new discovery or opinion from readers of KP, I will list the names of those who supplied infor­mation and all of the articles and books that I used for my research at the end of this article.

The first seven Korean revenue stamps were issued in 1905-7; five additional stamps were issued in 1908. The easiest way to identify the two Korean Empire issues is to compare the top two characters of the left four characters inside the left frame.

Tax Paying Revenues (1905-7)

Date of issue:
50 chon, I won - 1905, Jan. 12
5 chon, 10 chon - 1906, May 22
1 chon - 1907, Jan. 31
5 won, 10 won - 1907, Aug. 10

Sheet: 10 x 5 (50)
(I have the unique imperf proof sheet of 5c and assumed that all of the revenues were issued in sheets of 50.)
Inscription: None
Typographed on unwatermarked paper. The paper is thin foreign-wove paper.
Perforation: Line perf of 12.5
Size: 23.5x26mm
1 1c, light blue
2 5c, red
3 10c, green
4 50c, maroon
5 1w, red and blue
6 5w, green and red
7 10w, orange and dk brown

I have the 5c, 10c, 50c and 5w used, uncanceled, and not real mint copies.

The largest unused multiple is a pair; the largest used multiple is a block of 6 of 1 won. The only recorded revenue on document is dated 1909, Feb.27 and is a strip of 3 of 10c.

Imperf proofs: I have a complete, unique imperf sheet of 50 of 5c in my collection. I have seen 15 strips of 5, but no horizontal pairs or blocks. I have seen only a strip of 5 of the 10c imperf proof in the past 30 years.

Color proofs: I have 4 different proofs in my collection, all of which are gummed:

P1 1 ri, in gray-black
P2 5 ri, in brown
P3 1 chon, in gray
P4 1 won in dark green & red.
P1, P2, & P4 are perf 12.5.
P3 is perf. 11.
P1, P2, & P4 are size 23.5 x 26mm,
while P3 is 24 x 26mm.
These 4 proofs were discovered in Japan in the 1960s and were kept by Mr. Shimomura until recently; they are now in the hands of the author. There are no other proofs known.

Specimens: Two large Chinese characters, “Kyong bon," are handstamped on two stamps.

S1 5 chon, red
S2 5 won, green and red

Documentary Revenue (1908-9):

Date of issue: 1c, 10c, 1w, and 10w - 1908, Nov. 1
50c, - 1909, May 21
Sheet: 10 x 5(50) est.
Inscription: none
Typographed on unwatermarked paper
Perforation: Line perf 14
Size; 23,5 x 26mm
except the 10w, 23 x 26 mm.

8 1c, light blue
9 10c, green
10 50c, brown
11 1w, green and blue
12 10w, brown and red.

I have 10c and 1w unused with no gum. I have 10w mint with full gum.

Specimens: 6 different revenues with overprint are known. However, I have never seen the 5 ri in used or unused condition. So I only list it as a specimen.

S3 5 ri, yellow
S4 1 chon, light blue
S5 10 chon, green
S6 50 chon, brown
S7 1 won green and blue
S8 10 won, brown and red

The largest multiple is a pair of unused and a block of 9 used 50 chon dated 1909, Oct. 7.

The above Korean revenues were printed by Korean Government Printing Bureau.

From 1909, Sept. 1, through 1945, Aug. 15, Japanese revenue stamps were used through­out Korea. These can be identified only by the cancel or on document which clearly attests to being used in Korea. I have shown here some samples of these Japanese revenues with Korean cancels.

Overprinted Japanese Revenues (under U.S. Miii­tarv Government) (1946)

After Japan surrendered, Korea was lib­erated but administered by the US Military Gov­ernment. The first revenue issue after the Second World War was issued on 1946, Aug. 1. Four Japanese revenues were overprinted by Han Guel as the “Government of Choson."

Date of lssue: 1946, Aug. 1
Sheet: 10 x 10(100), with gum
Inscription: 2 types, est. (I have never seen an inscription.)
Watermark: Curved wavy line
Perf: comb 13 x 13.5
Size; lSx 22 mm

13 1c, carmine (Jp# 194)
14 3c, violet (Jp# 196); EUD: 1947, May 3
15 5c, brown (Jp# 197);EUD: 47, Feb. 22
16 50c, blue (Jp# 201)-EUD: 47, Jan. 9.
[Ed. EUD = Earliest used date; this is often referred to as EKU = Earliest known use.]

I have never seen a mint of 50c. The lc was considered by some to be a proof, with only one sheet of 100 being made. I have seen an unused block of 15 of 3c. The 5c exists on document dated on 1946, Nov. 15, and 1947, Feb. 9, as does the 50c dated 1946, Sept- 5.

I assume that the unoverprinted revenues of Japan were continuously used until July 31, 1946; they can be identified by the date on dow­ment. I have not seen any such document,

Plum Blossom Issue (1946): Date of issue: 1946, Aug. 1
Sheet: 10 x 10(100) est.
Inscrption: none.
Paper: Unwatermarked on granite paper
Perf: line perf 11.5 x 11

17 1w, yellow; EUD: (’47), Feb. 3
18 5w, It green EUD: (’47), Feb. 19
19 10w, red EUD:(’47), Feb. 10
19a 10w, pink EUD: ('48), Nov. 25
20 50w, vermilion EUD: ('47), Jan. 29
21 100w, It blue EUD (’47), Feb. 13.

Sheets are known, but large multiples are scarce. Imperf between pairs are known: H-pr on 1w, V-pr on 10w red, H-pr and V-pr on 100w.. I have not seen any used during 1946.

This issue and the overprinted issue were announced by notification NO 256 on 1946, July 10.

According to the government announce­ment, the Plum Blossom and the overprinted Japanese issues had the same issue date, 1946, Aug. 1. There are many hypotheses for why this might have happened. The people may have been accustomed to using the Japanese revenues for a long time and wanted to use the overprinted revenues to realize their Liberation. Or it may have been that there was not enough paper avail­able to print a large number of new revenues. The overprinted revenue exists with a 1946, Sept. 5 date which means only one month after the issue date, while the Plum Blossom issue’s earliest date is 1947, Jan. 29. It may have been that the actual issue date, in spite of the announcement, was early 1947. Until further evidence is available, the issue date is recorded as the same for both issues.

(To be continued)

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A Detailed Explanation of
Korean Revenue Stamps
Part 2.

By Stephen J. Hasegawa

As printed in Korean Philately, August 1997, Vol. 43, No.3


Tong Dae Mun Series (1948)

Date of issue: 1948, Mar. 11
Sheet: 10x5(50), 10x 10 (100)
    Sheet: 10x5 (50)1,2,3,5, 10, 50, 100w
    Sheet: 10x10 (100)1,2,3,5,50w
Inscription: 3 sizes, 2 types
Watermark: Horizontal wavy line
Paper: Granite
Perf: Line perf 11.5x11

22 1w, orange
23 2w, Rose EUD 1948.7.27
23a 2w,Lt Pink
24 3w, Purple EUD 1948.6.4
24a 3w, Lt Purple
25 5w, Lt Green EUD 1948.4.26
26 10w, Red EUD 1949.7.16
27 50w, Lt Red EUD 1948.10.?
27a 50w, Deep Red
28 100w, Lt Blue EUD 1949.7.27

I have 2-100w on documents, but I have
never seen a 1w on document.

Inscription position is under 45-46 for sheet of 50 and under 95-96 for sheet of 100.
Type A (28mm) 3,5, 10, 50w known
Type A1 (34mm) 100w known
Type B (32mm) 1,2, 3, 10, 50w known

Large Pagoda Series (1951)

Date of issue: 1951, Aug 30(4284 in Korean calendar)
Sheet: 10 x 5(50)20-1,000w, 10 x 10(100)5,000-10,000w
Inscription: None
Watermark: Horizontal wavy line
Paper: Granite
Perf: Line perf 11
Plate control no.: 3, 7

29 20w Bl Green EUD 1951.10.6
30 50w Lt Brown EUD 1951.10.10
31 100w Brown EUD 1951.10.53
32 500w Red Orange
33 l000w Gr & Bro EUD 1951.10.23
34 5000w Dk Blue EUD 1951.10.24
35 10000w Br & Salmon EUD 1951.9.28

#34 and #35 were recently discovered and are scarce.
20w, 100w exist on documents.

Small Pagoda Series (1952)

Date of issue: 1952, Apr 3. 20w, 500w
   1952, May 12. 100w
   1952, May 23. 50w
   1952, Dec 19. 1000w, 5000w, 10000w
Sheet: 10x10(100) 20-1000w
   5 x 10(50) 5000-10000w
Inscription: None
Watermark: Horizontal wavy line
Paper: Granite
Perf: Line Perf 12.5

36 20w Bl Green EUD 1952.9.29
37 50w Lt Brown
38 100w Brown
39 500w Red Ora EUD 1955.1.22
40 1000w Gr & Bro EUD 1953.9.3
41 5000w Dk Blue EUD 1956.12.31
42 10000w Br & Salmon EUD 1956.5.21

Webmaster's used 41
   5000w Dk Blue EUD 1956.12.31

20w-5,000w exist on documents.
#34 and #41 can be easily identified by
comparing the 4th character from top right.
#35 and #42 are different sizes;
   #35 is 45 x 25mm,
   #42 is 48 x 25mm
KSSC shows difference between
Large & Small Pagoda

1st Hwan Unit Series (1953)

**1953, Feb. 15 1000w was changed to 1 Hwan, and the first Hwan unit postage stamps were issued on Apr 5, 1953.

Date of issue: 1953, March (Est)
Sheet: 10 x 10(100) 2Ohw
       10 x 5(50) 50-l000hw
Inscription: 8 characters
Watermark: Horizontal wavy line
Paper: Granite
Perf: Line perf 12.5

43 20hw Mar & Ora EUD 1955.6.11
44 50hw Dk Brown EUD 1955.8.26
45 l00hw Br & Green
46 l000hw Bk Olive, Lil EUD 1958.9.7

2nd Hwan Unit Series (1955 Est)

Date of issue: 1955 (Est)
Sheet: 10 x 10(100) 10-lOOhw
        5 x 10(50) 500-I000hw
Inscription: 8 characters
Watermark: Horizontal wavy line
Paper: Granite
Perf: Line Perf 12.5

47 10hw Lt Brown EUD 1960.4.?
48 20hw BI & Ora EUD 1957.1.20
48a 20hw Ind & Yel Ora
49 50hw Dk BIu EUD 1957.1.12
50 l00hw Dk Oliv EUD 1959.9.2
51 500hw LtBr EUD 1958.8.10
52 l000hw Bk Oliv, Lil EUD 1959.9.24

50-1000hw exist on documents.


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A Detailed Explanation of
Korean Revenue Stamps
Part 3.

By Stephen J. Hasegawa

As printed in Korean Philately, November 1997, Vol. 43, No.4


Won Unit. Chinese Characters (1962)

**10 Hwan was changed to 1 Won on 1962 June 10.
Date of issue: 1962, June (Est)
Sheet: 10 x 10(100) 5w-l0w
                5 x 10(50) 50w-100w
Inscription: 8 characters
Watermark: None
Paper: Thin granite
Perf: Line Perf 12.5

53 5wn Dk Blue
54 10wn Dk Olive EUD 1963.8.9
55 50wn Lt Brown
56 100wn Bk-Ol & Lil

The Chinese characters won unit issue stamps are of the same design as the 2nd Hwan unit stamps except for the change in units. Thus, there maybe a 1w and 2w of the same design as #47 and 48, but none has been seen. The fact that they exist in the Korean characters (57 and 58) adds credence to this possibility. I have not seen any on documents.

Won Unit. Korean Characters (1967-8)

Dates of issue: 1966, Sep. 12. 100w.
                       1967 Sep. 28. 1-50w
Sheet: 10 x 10(100) 1w-10w
                 5 x 10(50)50w-100w
Inscription: 8 characters
Watennark: None
Paper: Thin granite
Perf: Line Perf 12.5

57 lw LtBrown
58 2w Indigo & Yel Ora
59 5w Dk Blue
60 10w Dk Olive
61 50w Lt Brown
62 100w Bk Olive & Lilac

These issue dates come from an official record, but the actual issue date may be as eariy as 1965. Only 2 mint copies of #58, 2 won, are known. There was probably no need for this denomination, so the printing quantity was small. 10wn on document is known.

Won Unit. New Design Series (1970-3)

Dates of issue: 1970, Sep. 23. 1w
               1972, Mar. 17. 50w
               1972, Apr. 17. 100w
               1972, May 15. 5w
               1973, Jan. 16. 500w, 1000w.
               1973, Jan. 27. 10w
Sheet: 10 x 10(100) 1w-50w
               5 x 10(50) 100w-1000w
Watermark: None
Paper: Early-Thick grayish white
           Late—Thin white
Perf: Line perf 12.5

63 1w Purple
64 5w Dk Green
65 10w Blk-Brown
66 50w Blue-Green
67 100w Yel-Green
68 500w Yel-Brown
69 l000w Blue-Gray

The actual issue dates might be much earlier. The early printings are scarce.

Photogravure Series (1973-1982)

Dates of issue: 1973, July 25. 5w
               1976, June 9. 10w
               1977, Apr. 1. 30w
               1978, Nov. 15. 50w
               1982, Mar. 23. 1w
Sheet: 10 x 10(100)
Inscription: 8 characters
Watermark: None
Paper: White
Perf: Comb 13.5 x 13

70 1w Golden Brown
71 5w Dk Purple
72 10w BIue
73 30w Yel Green
74 50w Magenta

#70,1 won has been newly discovered and only mint copies are known.
#71, a 5-won sheet was broken up in 1994. Only mint copies are known.
There are many printings and diffèrent shades known.
10w-50w exist on document.

Engraved New Design Series (1978-9)

Dates of issue: 1978, Nov. 15. 1000w
               1978, Nov. 20. 500w
               1978, Nov. 24. 100w
               1979, Feb. 21. 5000w-10000w
Sheet: 10 x 10(100) 100w-3000w
             5 x 10 (50) 5000w-1000w
Inscription: 8 characters. 2 types (one extends under two stamps and the other under three stamps)
Watermark: None
Paper: Granite
Perf: Comb 13.5 x 13

75 100w Salmon
76 500w Yel Olive
77 1000w Dk Brown
78 3000w Gray Brown
79 5000w Green
80 10000w Yel Olive


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