As I write this, the dog days of summer have arrived here in Virginia. All the more reason to spend some quality time with your favorite Korean stamps near a good air conditioner! However, with a very active little girl, I am more likely to beat the heat by visiting our neighborhood swimming pool.
From NAPEX To WASHINGTON 2006: I made a brief visit, but I was not able to hold a KSS meeting at NAPEX 2004 (June 4 - 6 in Northern Virginia) and I narrowly missed being able to meet Jim Kerr at NAPEX! The highlight was an extremely helpful presentation by former American Philatelic Society President David McCann on single-frame exhibiting. That will someday be my entry point into the world of exhibiting.
It is not too early to start making plans for WASHINGTON 2006. The biggest philatelic exhibition in the United States since PACIFIC `97 will be in Washington, D.C. from May 27 to June 3. It is my hope that all of the KSS officers can reunite for the first time since 1997 and meet with as many of our members as possible! Also, I hope a few of our members will be exhibiting their favorite Korea-related material. In fact, we have received an invitation from one of the hosts and former APS President John Hotchner to have a member provide a one-frame (16-page) exhibit that provides an introduction to the Korea Stamp Society (two pages) and some of the highlights of affordable Korean stamps. Please let me or our Secretary-Treasurer John Talmage know right away if you would like to do this! This is a wonderful opportunity to share your treasures and knowledge with our entire hobby! I will let you know as plans develop.
Philatelic News: The June 28 Linn’s Stamp News featured a story about a stamp-collecting member of Congress by the name of Gary Ackerman. It turns out he collects autographed covers. As Linn’s put it, "The crown jewel of Ackerman’s collection is a cover signed by Kim Il-sung of North Korea and by the premier of South Korea [no name is given!]. After Kim signed, Ackerman crossed the demilitarized zone into South Korea where he had the cover canceled with a South Korean postmark." Even though he is a Republican, I was extremely impressed! It turns out that a few weeks after the article appeared, I would be giving a lecture to an American college student that Rep. Ackerman sponsored as part of a U.S. Congress-Korean National Assembly annual exchange. Each summer, eight American students receive briefings in Washington before spending a week in Korea, and eight Korean students spend a week in the United States. Curt Weldon (Republican-Pennsylvania) also participates in the program. He has become one of my heroes for his struggles to find a diplomatic solution to the North Korean nuclear crisis.
Philatelic Finds: My finds have slowed down a bit in recent months, but my early Korean cancels collection has a new star—a full strike of Korea Mail Ship #5. I hope to show it and write it up in a future issue of KP. I also managed to find a new town cancel that does not even appear on my list of 392 Empire cancels—Pyeong-taek (peaceful pond), which is the spot south of Suwon where the U.S. military plans to consolidate the remaining U.S. forces in Korea later this decade.
Personal News: The reason this is so brief is that in a matter of a few days, the family and I will be moving to Seoul! I have been asked to open an office for the International Crisis Group, a non-governmental organization based in Brussels, Belgium. I will be the project director for Northeast Asia, so in addition to covering North and South Korea, I will be making trips throughout the region as well as Europe. We plan to be there about two years and then return to Washington. I hope I will be able to meet some of our Korean members. The office will be in the heart of the downtown, near Kwanghwamun, so do let me know if your travels take you to Seoul!