Revenue stamps of North Korea

Articles Revenue stamps

(From: KP May 1996 Vol. 42 No. 2, page 23) There is a small but steady interest in revenue stamps. By chance, I obtained a set of North Korean revenue stamps. I have never seen them before, though that may not be relevant. 

There are three groups. In the illustrations, Figure 1 is a normal one of, I think, 50 won. The two in Figure 2 are from a folk committee–50 and 200 won. We are accustomed to revenue stamps that are for “things” like paper or money or governments, but what does a folk-committee have to do with revenue stamps? The five in Figure 3 I find the most interesting. It says “Pyongyang market income committee stamp” (my word-for-word translation)–1, 4, 10, and two 5 (?) yen. One is Japanese, so it must be from Japanese times. The others are in Korean but are in an unreadable scribbled script, with Korean yin-yang symbols. Maybe they are from just before and just after 1945. Markets were under strict Japanese supervision. A second illustration shows the two 5 (?) yen stamps enlarged. Four stamps are red-orange on brown (striped) paper, making them very difficult to reproduce (two in Figure 2 and 2 in Figure 3).

I cannot imagine the purpose of these stamps. Who knows how they were used and when?


Original text including graphics (scan) as appeared in the Korean Philately:

(The image of the 5 won stamp from Pyongyang used in this webpage is from the collection of Ivo Spanjersberg.)

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2 thoughts on “Revenue stamps of North Korea

  1. Hi Melissa,
    Please have a close look at the stamp you have, it could be one of several different versions of this value. See some examples here:

    Notice the differences not just in colour but also in the text. It seems the middle one (with the Japanese text) was the pre-liberation version of the stamp, while the one with the unreadable text is the post-liberation version. I have also seen a version with Korean text which was not simply printed over the Japanese version.

    A few more examples in-between other revenue stamps including several Pyongyang local revenue stamps and oddly enough a South Korean revenue stamp (the purple 3 won stamp):

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