Internet is where most people buy and sell stamps today. In the months leading up to the February 2019 US – DPRK summit in Hanoi, there were massive unloads of North Korean stamps on the internet. This presented a good entry point for beginning collectors like myself to acquire some early North Korean stamps. However, like many other beginners, it was very hard to distinguish the reprints from the originals. So, I started to collect data on this subject which I then compiled for other collectors to help make stamp purchases easier.
From 1955 to 1957, North Korea produced legal imitation “reprints” of stamps issued originally between 1946 and 1956 to serve both postal needs and overseas sales. There are 55 reprints and these are postally valid stamps. Scott’s #100 “Ryongwang Pavilion and Taedong Gate” is the last known reprint. Scott’s catalogue lists many different ways to identify reprints and originals. The catalogue notes that differences in size, color, gum, paper and specific details can be used to determine whether a stamp is a reprint or an original.
Color is a good way to differentiate a reprint from the original when reprints are printed in a totally different color. A good example is Scott’s #1 “Rose of Sharon”. The best way to identify a reprint is to look at several different characteristics of a reprint compared to the original. Most of the reprints have different characteristics. At first glance, both stamps might look the same. However, when you look closely, there are subtle differences between the reprint and the original. Not all reprints have notable differences from the originals. The most accurate way to identify is the measurement and type of paper used but that is very difficult to tell by looking at a picture from the internet.
Note: Some of the pictures are from my recently purchased collection, others from eBay and Stamp Circuit.
In the images below the reprints are to the left, the originals to the right.
Scott’s 1 Rose of Sharon
Scott’s 4 Diamond Mountain
Scott’s A5 Peasant
Scott’s 14 North Korean Flag
Scott’s 11 Work and Factory
Scott’s 16 North Korea Flag
Scott’s 17 Kim Il Sung University, Pyongyang
Scott’s 22 Order of the National Flag
Scott’s 26 Flags Liberation Monument
Scott’s 28 Flags, Soldier
Scott’s 29 Peasant and Worker
Scott’s 30 & 32 Tractor
Scott’s 36 Soviet and North Korean Flags
Scott’s # 38 Hero Kim Ki U
Scott’s 40 N. Korea, Chinese & Russian Soldiers
Scott’s #49 Dove, Flag & Globe
Scott’s #52 Enforcement of Labor Law, 6th Anniversary
Scott’s #55 Flags & Monument
Scott’s #56 Soldier & Monument
Scott’s 64 Soldier
Scott’s 69 8th Anniversary of Liberation from Japan
Scott’s 78 National Congress of Young Activists
Scott’s 98 People’s Army, 8th Anniversary
Scott’s 100 1956 Ryongwang Pavilion and Teadong Gate Pyongyang