The unissued items of the DPRK

Articles North Korea

It has been known for some time that the DPRK had numerous stamps designed that were numbered in the Korea Stamp Corporation’s DPRK Stamp Catalogue. Some of these items were illustrated as unissued stamps, but other “others,” until this past year, were not illustrated at all. Why they were not illustrated (though numbered) prior to that is a mystery to me. It would seem to be a simple inference that certain stamps were prepared, for issuance, but were, in fact, “unissued.” In fact, that is the word actually used in that catalogue after those numbers that were given. 

Moreover, now that items said to be those stamps have appeared on the market, we assume that the only possible conclusion one may draw is that these stamps were all actually in the prepared stage of production and simply now are being shown for the first time. It is also assumed that these were residing in the vaults of the main post office in Pyongyang. I have no way of knowing that other than word of mouth.

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[KSS Editor 2018] This article was first published in KP Vol. 52 No. 2 (May 2007).


4 thoughts on “The unissued items of the DPRK

  1. In recent days, there have been unusual increase in activities on eBay for listing of North Korea stamps. Most of early stamps are reprints but some are very rare, unused, and unissued stamps. The main sellers are Scotts_Philatelics from UK, anthonysnj-stampsandcoins from US, and JamesKim2002 from US. Specially, JamesKim2002 have been listing some of the rarest North Korea stamps known to exist and price are somewhat reasonable. However, beware that reprints are listed as originals in some.

    (Edited by KP editor by request of Yong Yi: pictures below originally from Ebay account jameskim2002)

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  2. Above Pic 1 through 4 are mixture of early unused stamps. Most are reprints but there are many original.
    Pic 5 is Scott’s 7 1947 Peasants unused, Pic # 6 is 1947 Peasants unused and unissued, Pic # 7 1971 unissued, Pic # 8 is 99 1956 May Day unused, Pic # 9 is mixture of unused original and print, Pic # 10 is Scott’s 27 1950 Flags Liberation Monument partial sheet, and Pic # 11 is Scotts 22 full sheet (100). He is listing more new unused and unissued stamps. Today, he has listed 1949 green unissued Kim Il Sung University pyongyang.

  3. Photo 9 has some of the Pyongyang local revenue stamps (Japanese pre-1945 versions, a locally “overprinted” version of those same stamps, plus the later locally produced revenue stamps) and one of the Russian occupation period national revenue stamps. That last stamp is from a series which is quite easy to date because of 1. the monument on the blue 5 won stamp and 2. the reference to a law (about how to pay tax with produce) on two of the other stamps in the same series.

    I have seen these (local) North Korean revenue stamps being offered mint/unused almost constantly, but I have never seen them used on document. If anyone could show actual usage…

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