Korean “digital revenue stamps”

Revenue stamps

On 1 January 2017 the last “paper” revenue stamps of the Republic of Korea (“South Korea”) were phased out. Except for the consular revenue stamps used outside of Korea the only type of revenue stamp now in use within the borders of Korea are meter marks.  Meter mark versions of revenue stamps have been in use since at least the 1990s, but became more and more popular over time with local governments (such as municipalities and provinces) because they are cheaper than the pre-printed paper versions of the stamps, for which the government printer KOMSCO had to be paid.

As early as the 1930s local ordinances used to list the paper versions of revenue stamps, showing values of individual stamps. In the current versions of these ordinances meter marks are referred to as “digital” or “electronic” revenue stamps. An example of part of such an ordinance:


The Korean word for revenue stamp consists of four syllables. These can be seen in these two examples either in the four corners of the stamp (top) or as one word at the top of the stamp (bottom).

The stamp is supposed to be 3cm by 2,7cm, but that specific text is actually a left-over from the previous version of the ordinance which listed the size of the paper revenue stamps which were used from 1976 onwards. In practice this can be quite different for meter mark revenues.

The meter mark contains the following information:

  • Number related to individual asking for the document
  • Logo and name of issuing body (top)
  • Value of revenue stamp
  • Date of issuance of stamp
  • Name of issuing body (bottom)
  • Serial number of printing machine

(Source: local ordinance of Suncheon, nr. 1519 / 30 June 2015.) 

This type of stamp is the most common type of meter mark revenue stamp. It is usually printed with green ink, but blue and black are quite also common. Some examples of these stamps found on documents:

Seoul (Songpa-gu)Hoengseong

Note that some of these meter marks come with two extra lines of text underneath the stamp. This is the date of publication of the document on which the stamp is printed, which could be different from the date of issuance of the revenue stamp.

Some other types seen on documents:

Jeju (2012):
Value (500 won) is part of the printing of the rest of the text on the document, the meter mark itself contains just the outline plus the logo and name (in Korean characters) of the province of Jeju.
Jeju 2015:
This is a common problem with meter mark revenue stamps: the stamp gets misprinted quite easily, creating this type of badly printed meter mark.
An early form of meter mark revenue, in this case from Seoul (1996).A round digital meter mark from Busan. This was found printed in between two “normal” meter marks on the same document.

And finally an example of both meter mark revenues stamps and paper revenue stamps on the same type of document. The two sets contain two car sales documents (seller and buyer documents) from Seoul, the top one (2012) with a meter mark revenue stamp and the bottom one (1994) with paper revenue stamps:



This article was published in the Meter Stamp Society Quarterly Bulletin of Summer 2017 (Vol. 69 Nr. 2 / Issue 3146).

Ivo Spanjersberg
Currently KSS Publisher/Webmaster, previously KSS Chairman (2018-2019). Living in Amsterdam. I collect Korean revenue stamps, see my website:

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