KSS Meetings: The highlight of the year in terms of our society was achieving my goal of finally getting to meet our indefatigable web page manager, Harold Penn, at the KSS meeting at APS Stampshow 2003 which was held in Columbus, Ohio from August 7 to 10. Due to my schedule, I was forced to move the meeting from its original time on Saturday to Thursday. I was only able to inform Harry of the change, so despite several announcements over the pubic address system that our meeting time had changed, Harry and his wife were the only ones to come to the meeting! This yearís meeting was characterized by quality over quantity of members attending! I changed my presentation topic to "Collecting Classic Korean Cancels." Please let me know if you would like a copy of my handout. It contains some of the highlights from my collection. I was able to congratulate Janet Klug on her election as APS president and compliment APS Executive Director Brian Lamb for all of his hard work for the society over the years. I also took an informative exhibit tour with the APSís Ken Martin. Someday I will exhibit! Itís too bad the last issue of KP did not arrive before the show, at least one other member informed me later that he had hoped to attend the meeting. I ultimately decided not to hold a meeting at NAPEX `03 (in Northern Virginia) in June.
Korea-related Stamps in the News: The July 21 issue of Linnís featured not one but three stories about Korea-related stamps, with two making the front page! The two articles on the front page focused on the Korean War stamps issued by the United States and Canada to mark the 50th anniversary of the armistice agreement. I was unable to attend the first-day ceremony due to a swing through the Western U.S., but judging from the write-up in the August 18, Linnís, linking the first-day ceremony to the broader ceremonies of the day led to an attendance of over 5,000. The other article in Linnís on July 21 on Korea was Michael Rogersí latest column, which focused on one of my favorite stamps, Scott 34/KPC C1, the Emperorís Crown stamp. Rogers notes that in Korean Kingdom and Empire Philatelic Catalogue and Handbook, James Kerr includes illustrations of six different cancels. I have found a total seven different ones-three for domestic mail-Seoul, Incheon and Pusan, and four IPU cancels-Seoul, Chemulpo, Fusan and Gensan. Has anyone found any others?
Philatelic Quests and Finds: One of the most amazing stamping weeks of my life came during my swing out West. In July I attended seminars/conferences in Denver, San Diego and Seattle with the family in tow. Right before I left, I was able to make contact with the dealer selling an accumulation of philatelic material amassed by the Rev. Norman Clark Whittemore, who was a missionary in Korea on and off from the 1890s until the 1930s. I am just starting to learn the outlines of Rev. Whittemoreís life and hope to write about him in a future issue of KP. The accumulation lends new meaning to the term "mission mix" as it included dozens of covers sent to him from the United States and thousands of Japanese and Chinese used stamps, with some interesting cancels. The heart of the accumulation was hundreds of classic Korean stamps (including over 400 copies of Scott 6 and 7) with over 100 double circle cancels! The vast majority were for Pyeong-yang (Whittemore spent most of his time in the missionary outpost of Seon-cheon, near the border with China), Han-seong and In-cheon, but it included several beautiful Won-san and Eui-ju cancels as well. The one that attracted the most attention from me was a hand written red Tae-han with an Eui-ju double circle cancel (there was also a similar stamp with a split circle Eui-ju cancel).
The dealer, Rusty Morse, who also happens to be a goldmine map maker, was kind enough to sell me the entire accumulation. This particular goldmine included a dozen used stamps (even multiples) with marginal inscriptions, postage due multiples countless split circles and many IPU cancels. There were numerous Seoul No. 1 cancels, which I attribute to the fact that there were many missionaries in the Mapo area of Seoul. There were just a few small town cancels, but my favorites include Cho-san (Grass Mountain), Kang-kye (Water World, which is the same town Kim Il-sung hid from U.S. bombs during the Korean War) and Jeong-ju-all towns within 30 miles of the border with China.
In Seattle, I was able to meet Lee Byung-kun, one of Americaís foremost Korean cancel specialists and the webmaster for the best Korean cancel web site I have ever seen. Unfortunately, it is only in Korean at the moment, but one of the projects we discussed was building a bilingual website someday. In addition to our love for classic Korea, we learned that we are the same age and we both have daughters, but he has two more than me.
While in Denver, Rusty Morse was kind enough to introduce me to the Rocky Mountain Philatelic Library and their wonderful staff. I was given a grand tour. They have a good run of KP available. I hope to make many visits in the future as my mother moved to the region last year.
NAPEX was a bust for stamps, and there were no great treasures at STAMPSHOW, but I was able to find a few split circles, including Cheol-san, Mu-an and Ham-heung. I continue to receive wonderful stamps and covers from KSS members. In particular, Robin Ko provided me with a Na-ju cancel (six to go!) and a nice Mok-po, and Max Baratz a new Pyeong-yang double circle variety. I was also able to find some wonderful U.S. Military Government in Korea items from the daughter of one of KSSís founding members, Henry Welbon. It turns out that her family was friends with the Whittemores 100 years ago. What a small world.
Travels: We were unable to take a tour of Mt. Keumgang in North Korea as North Korea closed its borders during the SARS outbreak, so I will have to visit another time. I am off in a little while for a conference in Philadelphia. In September we will hold our first seminar in North Dakota with North Dakota State University. The highlight this fall should be a program with the University of Victoria, Wellington in New Zealand. If memory serves me correctly, we have a member or two there. I would be delighted to meet! On the way, I plan to hold a seminar at California State University Los Angeles on Friday, November 14. Hopefully I will be able to reunite with our former president, Bill Collyer.
I hope you enjoy the end of summer and have a wonderful fall.