Why you should own Koban Stamps of Japan

17 Apr 2020  Fri

One of the more unknown and interesting areas to collect is the Koban issues of Japan. Unlike the first two Japanese issues which have been extensively forged (actually fakes of Japan are about ten times more common than the genuine, and forgeries of the second Japanese issue, called the Cherry Blossoms, are ubiquitous too), the Kobans are nearly always genuine and very plentiful. They were the main stamp issue of Japan for the 1875-1910 period, which coincided with one of the most significant and rapid industrializations that any nation has undergone.

In 1868, Japan had been a feudal state nearly cut off from the world. The Meiji Restoration changed Japan's government, and the centrally planned economy became one of the great economic success stories in history, going from a relatively primitive agrarian society to being able to beat Russia in a war by 1905. The Koban issues were the stamps that were in use during this rapid period of industrialization. There are many varieties, but it is the perforation types and the cancellations that most collectors find interesting.

There is almost little to no information about Koban and Koban varieties that are found in English. We know that there are very rare cancellations of these Koban issues that were only used on letters going overseas. Since all the cancellations are stamped in Japanese, not many philatelists understand its value. Maybe it’s a tactic of Japanese philatelists, not to let much information out so that they buy the good ones at cheap price. What do you think?

Image Courtesy: Stampboards.com

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