President's Notes: February 2002
KSS News: I am pleased to announce that the KSS library has now been transferred to the Western Philatelic Library. Our former librarian, Stanley Kim, made the move himself in January. In the coming months, I am sure our current librarian, Bill Collyer, will let us know as materials become available on line. This is a very exciting development! I am equally pleased to report that thanks to our editor, Gary McLean, and his son, we will soon have personalized stamps to mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Korea Stamp Society. I hope one of our more senior members will provide an account of the founding of KSS.

Meetings: I have arranged for KSS to meet at both NAPEX (May 31-June 2) and STAMPSHOW 2002, this year in Atlantic City from August 15-18. I have decided to combine a business meeting for members to get to know one another with a presentation on Korean EFOs. This is a very new area of collecting for me, so I would like to encourage other members to join me in making a presentation. I do not have the meeting times yet, but check with Linn’s for the latest schedule if the next issue of Korean Philately does not arrive in time.

Stamping: I finally had a chance to do some stamping. I was able to attend METRO EXPO 2002 and find a few interesting items, including what appears to be a partial imprint for the Plum Blossom series. The imprint is not shown in the KPC catalogue and the imprint lettering is quite faint. Has anyone been able to make it out? Best of all, I was able to attract a new member to KSS, dealer Robert Hart, who has an excellent selection of Korean and Asian material. Will you accept my challenge to attract at least one new member this year? At the very least, if you are selling an item on eBay, proudly announce your membership in KSS and include a link to our page if at all possible.

On my rest day in Vancouver in late January, I discovered that this charming city has several decent stamp shops, all within walking distance of one another and in the heart of the antique/used bookstore district. I didn’t find any great early cancels, but I did find a copy of the light blue variety of the Kyeong-ju Observatory (Scott 94a) for 20 cents. I am still asking myself if I should have told the dealer that he was offering such a valuable stamp so cheaply. Dear reader, what do you think?

A Few Questions: I have thoroughly enjoyed learning more about the SS Korea thanks to Jim Kerr and Vince McDermott. In that spirit, I would like to ask raise a few more questions for our members to consider and comment on. For the Empire period, over the past couple of years, I have acquired several jeon surcharge/ Taehan overprint combinations, some mint, some used. They are not listed in Scott, so are they legitimate? My second question is about the U.S. military government period. Does anyone know who Lowry A. Stone, chief, Postal Bureau, Department of Communications, was? I recently obtained a FDC that he sent from Seoul to the Post Office Dept. in Washington.

For the Korean War period, can anyone tell us a little about Capt. Frank L Teixeria, the famous cachet maker? I have seen covers addressed to his wife while he was serving in Taegu during the Korean War. I have a couple of covers that he made in Korean with accompanying translations in English. How was he able to include the correct Chinese characters? For the modern period, how many Korean stamps contain errors in English spelling? The three that I know of are the “Postag” for the first anniversary of Park Chung-hee’s military coup in 1962 , the second is the “Salvadol” presidential visit stamp of 1970, and the third is the “Genom” stamp of last year. Are there any others?

In the News: Yours truly has kicked up a bit of dust in the pages of Linn’s recently. The editor’s column at the end of the last year just rubbed me the wrong way--it was far to negative and political for my tastes. Though some of my favorite lines were deleted, my firmly worded letter ran a few weeks ago, with a number of readers responding. What surprised me the most was that even the editor, Michael Laurence, commented on my letter! If you do not subscribe to Linn’s, I would be happy to send you a copy of the unedited version. Linn’s also reports that South Korea has the (dubious) distinction of leading the world in issuing scented stamps. This is a bit much even for my tastes, but hey, it was featured in Linn’s new issues section, so they must be doing something right. What do our members think about personalized stamps? One of my interns sent me copies of the Chung Ju-young memorial stamps, and another former intern was featured in the stamp for the financing company she works for. I think personalized stamps are a great idea. I will try to make one when our daughter is born, which should be any day now!

Member Encounters: I have had the good fortune of coming in contact with more of our members through my broadening collecting interests. My first love is still Kingdom/Empire cancels, but I have also developed an affection for first-day covers, local revenues and Christmas seals. Member James Kim recently offered some of the beautiful Christmas seal post cards from the 1930s on eBay. I have also been fortunate to acquire a few of the stamps and covers collected by one of our most senior members who is selling off his collection with Michael Rogers. This member, who wishes to remain anonymous, put together one of the most impressive Korean collections of all time, in quality and quantity-93 volumes of Korea! It boggles the mind. What a shame that he never shared his passion with the rest of the world. When the merry-go-round of life slows down for me (in a few decades?), I plan to be an serious exhibitor.

Update: It took a baby to force me to take a break from flying. Julia Ae-ri Beck is due February 25, and like her father she is already big-nine pounds and rising! I will sneak away for a seminar at Columbia University on March 14 and the International Studies Association in New Orleans on March 27 before making our first family trip to the College of William and Mary on April 1. This will be followed by programs at the University of Wisconsin on April 12 and the University of Sheffield (UK) on April 19. We will round out the academic year in June with a program in Beijing. If you live near any of these places, I would be delighted to have you attend the seminar and/or have a chance to meet.

In my class on modern Korean history at Georgetown last week, I asked my students to take out the photocopies of some of my favorite Korean stamps with historical significance. One student did not have the photocopies with her. Another student informed me, “She has them hanging up in our dorm room.” The first student confessed, “I thought they were really cool!” There is hope for our hobby yet.

As I write this, it is on the eve of the Lunar New Year. I would like to wish you all the health and happiness in the world in the year of the horse!

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