Revenue stamps published 30 years apart used on the same day

National: 수입인지

Recently seen on Ebay (and purchased by the well-known revenue stamp collector Joe Ross): two South Korean documents with tax stamps. In itself, both stamps and the type of document are not particularly special: both stamps were easily available at the counter in South Korea until at least 2014, and unlike many types of documents that had to be paid for with tax stamps, this is precisely the type of document that the citizen does receive and can therefore easily possess.

It is in fact a piece of evidence, in this case a document that shows how often a South Korean has entered and left the country. What makes it special, however, is that both documents were created on the exact same day in 2006, probably for a mother and her son, but with tax stamps that were issued some 30 years in succession despite having the same value!

The tax stamps
These two tax stamps are used on the documents:

RP77 (1973?) And RP87 (2005)

These stamps are in the “Korean Postage Stamp Catalog” (eg 2015-2016 edition), in the chapter on the (national) tax stamps prepared by Stephen Hasegawa. In his numbering these are the RP77 and the RP87.

Hasegawa gives a rather precise date of issue for the RP77, namely November 15, 1978, but that date is highly questionable. From the national archive of South Korea I am aware of a document (NAK BA0192321) dated December 16, 1972 in which this seal is already shown. The stamp is also shown in Korean Philately Vol. XXII Nr. 2 of May 1973. The date of issue will therefore be, for example, 1 January 1973 or even earlier than 1973. (Incidentally, the same applies to most of his dates of issue of revenue stamps from the 60s and 70s: the dates he mentions are demonstrably incorrect.)

However, the year of issue of the RP87 is correctly represented as 2005. The source of this is KOMSCO itself, which still has the series of tax stamps dating from 2005 on its own website, even though those stamps are since January 1, 2017 no longer in use. Issued in 1973 and 2005, the stamps therefore differ in age by more than 30 years and yet they were used on the exact same day!

The documents are of an identical type and both were issued on 9 August 2006. This is a type of document that can be used by South Koreans to show how long they have been abroad. The document with the RP78 is from a woman born in 1950, the other document is from a man born in 1988. Since they lived outside South Korea at almost identical moments between 1993 and 2006 (this according to the documents), it seems likely that this is about mother and son.

In addition, the son was 18 years old in 2006, time to go to college. In South Korea, the competition to be able to go to the best universities is fierce, so every trick to get a step higher in the ranking for the best places is applied. If one can prove to have lived outside South Korea for a certain period, one can claim the right to a special position at South Korean universities, making it easier to get into the best universities than it would have been when “just” living in South Korea. The same could be the case here, but nothing is certain of course.

The documents in question:

Left: document of the mother; right: son’s document.

What will have happened here is that the remainder of the old stamps had not been used completely and the new (at most a year earlier at the time of creating the documents) had only just arrived. But as stated earlier, until a few years ago both seals could still be obtained anywhere in South Korea. Apparently the stocks of the series from the 1970s were more than sufficient, but they nevertheless needed a new series around 2005. Why this was the case is it not yet known to me, but perhaps there were forgeries doing the rounds? I know the court of law revenues were actively “re-used”, perhaps such a thing happened with the 1970s revenue stamps as well? If anyone knows more about this, I would love to hear from you!


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