This article was originally published in The London Philatelist, Volume 123 Issue 1416 in June 2014. It is reprinted here with permission of the author, Anthony Bard, who besides being a member of the RPSL is also a member of the KSS. He is well-known for his highly specialized North Korea collection. The article is published on the KSS website in three parts. This is part III.
The Introduction of Validation Handstamps, 1951
Following the recapture of their capital Pyongyang by North Korean forces in January 1951, steps were taken by the postal authorities to counter the potential use of looted stamps. Certain definitives were required to be validated prior to use to ensure that only bona fide stocks were in circulation. The validation handstamps were produced and applied by individual post offices, and were inscribed 료금완남 (fee paid in full) with the name of the despatching post office. Very few covers prepaid with validated stamps are recorded; the majority of known examples are on individual stamps or strips.
Figure 21 shows an April 1951 registered cover to Shanghai, PRC, prepaid at 7 won. All four stamps bear strikes of the Pyongyang Central validation chop (that on the tractor stamp is only visible with an enhanced scan). The large undated Cyrillic Корея / Пхеньян (Korea / Pyongyang) datestamp was normally struck in orange and dated in manuscript on telegram receipts. It is presumed that this cover contained a telegram sent by mail due to disruption of telegraphic communication through wartime damage. The remains of the registration receipt can be seen attached to the strip of three 1950 Soldier definitives. This item also illustrates the only recorded use of the 1950 Tractor definitive printed in orange.