Reader’s Question: Was this North Korean block margin intentional?


(Reader’s question/Q&A) KSS member Robert Finder has a following question regarding this block of four + two partial stamps. These North Korean stamps are listed as Scott394 (A331)/KSC353 (issued 13 March 1962). 

Robert’s question:

I have seen this North Korean 1962 Scott 394 before, and have this block with the unusual bottom margin with the blue colour omitted. I read something about this before, maybe in the KP, but I can’t remember what it was. I believe it was done intentionally and not an error, but I cannot remember why this was done on the bottom margin. Hopefully one of our North Korean experts can tell me why it happened this way.

Here is the complete scan of his block of four including the bottom margin with the two partial stamps:

The complete block of four of the Scott 394 as scanned by Robert Finder.

If you have an answer to Robert’s question please leave your answer below in the remarks field.

KSS Korea Philately Editor
One of the earliest positions of the KSS. The position of editor of KP is, and has always been, the mainstay of the KSS.

6 thoughts on “Reader’s Question: Was this North Korean block margin intentional?

  1. It must be an amazing find if anybody sees it for the first time. However, if he sees more stamps he will find it’s quite common in NK stamps. That’s the residual of printing process. Early NK stamps don’t have the concept of “complete sheet” in printing process but tend to print as many stamps as they can in one sheet of paper.

    1. Thanks very much for the answer. I thought it might be something like that, but since I really do not collect North Korean stamps, I was not sure.

  2. Biggest DPRK sheet in my possession is 1969 Scott’s A689 (KSC 863) Rural Technical Development, 40ch. Mechanical fertilization and spraying has total of 80 stamps in a single sheet (4×10 and 4×10) and is measured at 46.5 cm by 31.4 cm. This sheet is without block margin. However, I have 1962 Scott’s A352 (KSC 379) Antiques of the Koryo and Yi Dynasties, 4ch. Brush Case with 72 stamps in a single sheet (8×9) and measured 38.5 cm by 27 cm. This sheet has block margin. I believe the block margin is used to produce maximum number of stamps with available paper at the time. It has nothing to do with being international print.

  3. The part about using as much as possible of the paper available I understand. But what then would be the cause of the missing colour on only that particular part of the sheet?

    I would think it would be “all or nothing”: either all colour on the whole of the available paper (including the partial stamps) or otherwise only colour (whether all layers or partially missing colour) on the actual stamp part of the sheet. But now the complete stamps have all colours, but the part stamps are missing at least one colour layer. How did that happen?

  4. Yong Yi sent graphics to accompany his answers, which I include here:

    1962 Scott A352 (Brush Case):

    1962 Scott A352 (Brush Case), two sheets with measurement tool shown:
    1962_A352_Brush_Case Sheet Size

    1963 Scott A388 (Orchid Sheet)

    1963 Scott A388 (Orchid Sheet), with measurement tool shown
    1963_A388_Orchid Sheet Sizes

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