President's Notes: MAY. 2001
I am pleased to report that the officers of KSS are taking steps to make sure that our society continues to thrive as we approach our 50th anniversary. Recognizing the demands on KSS officers’ time as well as trying to provide our members with the best service possible, we will be shifting some of our functions to more professional hands. Specifically, in the coming months, we will move our library to the Western Philatelic Library (WPL) in Sunnyvale, California. Wallace Craig and Bill Collyer deserve our thanks for getting the ball rolling. We anticipate that the move will be complete by this summer. The most exciting thing about our library’s new home is that our holdings will be listed on the WPL’s web site and search engine, making our materials accessible to every KSS member with access to the Internet. As an added bonus, our holdings will be available to the entire collecting world. I can think of no better way to disseminate Korean philatelic reference information and (hopefully) expand interest in our society.

This also marks that last issue that will be published by yours truly. We have decided to go with a professional publisher, Everett Parker, who is also a columnist for Global Stamp News. Neither of these moves will significantly raise the cost of operating KSS, which means you will receive even better service at the same dues level!

I was fortunate to be able to meet member Ross King at the Association of Asian Studies annual meeting in March in Chicago. He is a Korean linguist teaching at the University of British Columbia. He informed me that he plans to make a presentation on North Korea using stamps at a university this summer. He will want to consult a book just published in Japan that I received recently from a close friend—The Encyclopedia of North Korea From the Academic Viewpoint of Philately by Yosuke Nato. It is in Japanese, so my father-in-law is giving me the highlights.

I was able to incorporate my love for Korean stamps in my very first column (every six weeks) for Donga Ilbo. When I learned that my column would be published on April 19, I decided that I would use the April 19 Student Revolution stamp as my lead for discussing Korean democracy. The newspaper took the most unusual step of including the jpeg picture I took of the souvenir sheet with my article. The editors did not know that the picture had been taken from a Dong-a Ilbo photograph.

I was only able to attend one stamp show this past quarter, but it was a new one—The Plymouth Show near Detroit, Michigan on April 28. I had been at a seminar at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana the previous day and decided to stop by the show and visit relatives in the area. At an APS meeting, I mentioned that we were getting ready to move our library. There was only praise for the WPL, especially its Internet presence.

No great classic cancels this time, but I did find a Scott 102/KPC 66 (15 Won Hibiscus) with “kyeonbon” (specimen) written on it. It is handwritten, so I am wondering if it is just a fake, but for ten cents, I figured, what the heck? Can any of our members shed light on this?

Speaking of mysteries, I would like to express my sincere thanks to Henry Hofheimer (KSS #56!) for solving the mystery of the German ship cancels. Henry noted in e-mail messages to me that the cancel was used by the German Imperial Navy while calling at foreign ports, but Michel notes that the cancel was only applied to German stamps, so the cancels are likely to be philatelic in nature. Let me throw out one more mystery. I sometimes run across post cards from the turn of the century showing the “S.S. Korea.” Does anyone know the history of this ship?

As I write this, I will leave in the morning on a two-week trip that will take me to Seoul, Shanghai and South Carolina (I seem to be stuck on S’s). My institute will hold a conference at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences. This will be an opportunity to discuss the role of China and the United States in promoting reconciliation and cooperation on the Korean Peninsula with 20 of China’s leading Korea specialists. We are also scheduled to visit the Korean Provisional Government in Shanghai and some of the factories visited by Kim Jong-il during his trip to China earlier this year. In Seoul, I will hold a series of roundtables and meetings to discuss recent developments in U.S.-Korea bilateral relations with members of the Blue House, Bank of Korea, Ministry of Unification, National Assembly, etc. Naturally, I will leave a little time for stamping! One of my nephews informed me that there is a stamp show going on near his home in Chamshil. I will also see if I can obtain a copy of one of the envelopes used for the historic exchange of letters between North and South Korea. The pictures I saw in the press were not very clear. There did not appear to be any stamps used, but the letters had been stamped in red by the Red Cross. The morning after I get back from Seoul, the wife and I will drive down to Columbia, South Carolina to present a paper at the annual conference hosted by former Amb. Dixie Walker. Never a dull moment!

Back to Top
Return to Presidential-Notes History
Return to KSS-Main