It should not come as a surprise that a specialized stamp society such as the KSS has among its membership quite a few highly specialized members. However, it does sometimes feel as if the KSS has more of those specialized members than quite a few other stamp societies. It is of course purely anecdotal, but it does seem to be that collecting Korean stamps, “statistically” already quite a specialty in itself amongst philatelists, almost automatically comes with even more specialization.
Within the KSS this has led over the years to an almost over-representation of what one might call “specialized specialty collectors“, at least amongst the KSS members actively writing. The Christmas seals are one example, the revenue stamps are another one. And here is an example of that last category: the commodity tax stamps of South Korea.
William Collyer was in the second half of the 1990s chairman of the KSS. He wrote several times about revenue stamps. One of his articles was a short one, on a stamp found on a record. This is the text he wrote in 1998:
A tax stamp (green; 30mm x 27 mm; perf 12%) has been found on two phonograph records purchased in 1954 or 1955 in the Shinsegye Department Store in Seoul, Korea.
The tax stamp illustrated indicates that there was an article tax on phonograph records at that time. Both records had a tax stamp applied. And both stamps are lightly cancelled as shown on recording F-100e. The tax stamp (not shown) on record F-1004 is damaged, but its cancel indicates that the stamps were cancelled prior to being affixed to the phonograph records.
The album of “Most Popular Korean Folk Songs” was made by the Korea Record Manufactory Seoul Korea. It features four vocalists, two men and two women singing Korean folk songs.
The lilting melody of the Arirang is well-known to those serving with the the armed forces in Korea. The words to the Arirang in this recording are translated on the album cover.
This mid-1950s stamp wasn’t the only commodity tax stamp of course. For decades all sorts of commodity tax stamps could be found on all sorts of products. And all sorts of tax required all sorts of tax stamps. A few types are shown here, but there are many more known (and probably even more not yet known) to have existed.
The use of tax stamps on records wasn’t unique to the 1950s either, they are much more commonly found on 1970s records. Below are two examples of records from that era, but I have seen a lot more photos of these stamps on attached to records.
Once you know what to look for you will find them pretty much everywhere. The most interesting place to find them is YouTube, because there you can also listen to the actual record! Here is just one example of dozens I’ve managed to locate: