Double Trouble to North Korea from the 3rd Asian Winter Games

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The 3rd Asian Winter Games brought trouble twice to North Korean stamps. This started when the author noticed one stamp that had been recorded in the second edition of the North Korean Stamp Catalogue but has subsequently been deleted completely from the new, third edition published last year. 

It is #2992, the highest denomination among three “11th Asian Games” stamps, is-sued in middle 1990, which was given a valid stamp number and contained in the price list, but not described or illustrated in the earlier editions (1993 and 1998) of their catalogues and completed deleted from the 2003 edition.

Figure 1: #3651—Original

As this situation seems very peculiar and the only case of deleting that happened in the newest edition, the author tried to speculate about the reason from its design. The stamp itself is not a rare one.

While the set was issued on the occasion of the 11th Asian Games, this stamp was dedicated solely to the 3rd Asian Winter Games, 1995, presumably to propagate and invite it to Samjiyon, North Korea. The stamp carries no description of the 11th Asian Games, Beijing, but the 3rd Asian Winter Games, Samjiyon, 1995, together with a symbol mark of the occasion. Needless to say, the other two values are fully for the 11th Asian Games, Beijing.

Figure 2: #3651A—Revised

As it happened, the 3rd Asian Winter Games were held in Harbin in 1996, making the description in said #2992 stamp, both place and year, incorrect. It can be imagined, there-fore, that their efforts to attract the games were not fruitful, and they were careless enough to put the timing of the occasion in 1995, not in 1996, the actual year. Probably, the different place name can be forgiven and overlooked as this sort of unsuccessful attempt sometimes occurs, but not the incorrect date. It remains a puzzle why they allowed this stamp to be given a number and contained in the price list in the earlier two editions.

The second trouble with the 3rd Asian Winter Games is widely known as they amended the design and issued the correct one months after the wrong one was first issued. These are #3651 and 3651A. Again, neither of these is rare. It is self-explanatory when you look at their designs that the original one carried the wrong picture for a Chinese player. These are also illustrated.

Figure 3: #2990-2992. Note incorrect place name and date in 40-won stamp (#2992).

As additional spice to this story, I would like to point out that they depict one octagonal snowflake in its right margin of both the original and the amended issues, as well as ordinary hexagonal ones.

(Originally from KP August 2003, Vol. 49, No. 3. Please note graphics are from original article PDF.)

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1 thought on “Double Trouble to North Korea from the 3rd Asian Winter Games

  1. Supplementary information:
    1. The third Asian Winter Games was originally PLANNED to be held in NK in 1995. So the date on stamp was correct when it was issued. However, NK gave up to be the host country in 1992, and Harbin helped to be the host city and the game was postponed to 1996. To China, it was an honor since Harbin used only 3 years to prepare and held a successful winter games.

    2. According to the information from China, the image of #3651 was actually another male Chinese speedskating athlete but not as the name showed on stamp “Ye Qiao-Po”, Ye Qiao-Po is a famous female speedskating athlete who was the first Chinese athlete to win medels in Winter Olympics.

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