The remarkable DPRK “tourist market” sheets

North Korea

Mt. Myohyang Hotel, summer of 2003. I was doing my morning walk around the hotel lobby and saw the telephone booth lady putting out a display tray of stamps in the display cabinet. After she had finished displaying, she started to cut sheet stamps to individual stamps to replenish the display trays. This is when I noticed two different stamps in a single sheet. I was very curious about what I had seen and asked the lady why these stamps come in a single sheet? 

Her reply was that to minimize the inventory at the local shop, the central stamp printing office printed this way. She also said that there are different versions of sheets with the same stamp and showed me 5X5, a total of 25, of the same stamps in a single sheet. Because this sheet of stamps being unique, I purchased that sheet on the spot. Later, I found out that this telephone booth lady was in charge of all telephone booths in town and ranks high in communist society. Because of her status and job, she was able to make frequent trips to Pyongyang and the central stamp warehouse. Most of my sheet collections were purchased through this lady.

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2 thoughts on “The remarkable DPRK “tourist market” sheets

  1. What the author saw is so-called “stamps for domestic use”. In Korea stamp catalogue, these 2 stamps are No. 3758 & 3760, issued by 8×3 small sheets. The small sheets are available from Korea Stamp Corporation. But at the same time, the same printing office also print large sheets for domestic postal usage. These sheets are not available from KSC. “Stamps for domestic use” starts from late 1970s, early domesic version can be easily distinguished with international version from paper, however, after 1990s, both versions came from same company with same type of paper, international version with gum but domestic version without gum, but from the front both look the same and cannot be dinstinguished if you only have 1 stamp.

    1. Hi,
      I am learning new things about my collection of stamps each day. I have some basic knowledge of North Korea and the stamps that I collected but not an expert. The comments you made are excellent information.

      Thank you

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