Sometimes, our dear editor, Gary McLean, and I end up with equally crazy work and travel schedules such that the days of our day jobs get so long that they crowd out time for our favorite hobby and society. As I write this, it is January 2, 2003 and I have just returned from Germany the previous night, and will leave for Phoenix and the Grand Canyon tomorrow afternoon. Thanks to the joys of e-mail, I was able to have one last chance to write my notes, which will cover the past six months. In terms of KSS, the highlights of the second half of 2002 were by far the society meeting at STAMPSHOW and an end-of-the-year meeting with one of our members.
KSS Meeting: Our society meeting at STAMPSHOW `02 in Atlantic City last August was a huge success. I was able to meet one our founding members, Korean War veteran James Mason, chat a bit with one of our current members, website founder Tom Richards, and introduce my nascent collection of Korean errors, freaks and oddities to a few non-members who will hopefully join our society. Jim Kerr carried the torch for me at NAPEX as I was called to Asia shortly before the show opened.
Member Meeting: One of the most stimulating and inspiring meetings I have had in long time was just last week with KSS member and expertiser Florian Eichorn. It turns out that he lives just a short distance from my sister-in-law’s family in Wiesbaden, Germany. I learned a great deal about the references one needs to have and how to build a specialized classic collection. We both have a passion for postmarks. It turns out that we also share a deep appreciation for German beer. The hours just rushed by. I narrowly missed reuniting with my predecessor, Bill Collyer, during a swing through California in early December to introduce our baby to our family-the family just wouldn’t let me break away!
Stamping: There are fewer and fewer opportunities for stamping these days, but the best by far was at STAMPSHOW `02. I was able to find one more of the more elusive double circle cancels, Chuncheon, as part of a small collection, some interesting post-Liberation covers, and some hot-off-the-press World Cup stamps-a little bit of everything! When I was in Seoul in July, I only had time to visit my friend at the Philatelic Center at the Central Post Office. I was not able to pick up my new order subscription because he and his colleagues were furiously making hundreds of covers for Chinese World Cup stamp collectors. These registered covers were being sent to China on each day that China played a game. As the number of new issue collectors declines, the Chinese provided the Korean philatelic scene with a badly-needed shot in the arm. I have all but given up on brick and mortar stamp stores in the United States. I call a shop or two when I am in a new city, but never with any luck. One of my favorite dealers in California recently told me that most of the interesting material is moving to Ebay. Customers only come asking for appraisals, not to sell. Fortunately, Michael Rogers continues to come through with some spectacular material. Shows and auctions seem to be about the only way to find good material.
New Members: It gives me great pleasure to welcome several new members from all parts of the United States and world. I hope some of them will make their presence felt in Korean Philately before long! I hope they will also accept my challenge to introduce our society to a collecting friend or colleague.