Previously I have written an article on North Korea’s “Remarkable Tourist Market Sheet” stamps. KSS member Mr. Chen Yi-Fu stated that the article referred to so-called “stamps for domestic use”. In the Korean Stamp Catalogue, the 2 stamps are No. 3758 & 3760, issued in 8×3 small sheets for international collectors. He also mentioned that printing “stamps for domestic use” started from the late 1970s and that early domestic versions can be distinguished easily from the international version because of the low quality of the paper used.
I sent an email through KSS to Mr. Chen with photos containing 2 stamps, the 1989 13th World Youth Festival 30 Jon stamps, Scott No. 2824 & 2824a showing the same stamp with different quality paper. I’ve always thought that one was a fake, but Mr. Chen mentioned that in the Scott catalogue, there is a short paragraph after DPRK No. 1721 stating “Domestic Printing: beginning in the 1970s, a number of North Korean stamps have been printed for sale and use within the country”. The below examples show 3 different types of paper were used.In my personal observation while staying in North Korea, souvenir shops don’t display either sheet size in the showcase. However, both small international sheets and larger domestic sheets were readily available upon request by foreign visitors. So, today in North Korea, there is no longer a real difference between international and domestic printings.