Recognizing DPRK Reprints Part II: 1951 to 1956

North Korea

Is the current market condition a buyer’s market or seller’s market? The price one pays for a stamp or stamps depends on the condition and rarity. Also, supply and demand dictate current prices in the market place. The current condition of the market is a buyer’s market. The flood of North Korean stamps which started at the beginning of the year is continuing to this day.

On eBay, sellers from the UK, the Netherlands, Russia, Spain, France, Australia and the US are dumping enormous amounts of early North Korea stamps every day. The (winning) prices have fallen drastically and most of the items are being sold around 30 percent of Scott’s Catalogue listed values.

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 #34 Order of Ri Sun Sin

The reprint is finely printed. No distinctive difference between reprint and the original other than color and paper. It is very hard to differentiate without having both stamps side by side.

Scott’s 35 Hero Kim Ki Ok

Reprint is finely printed. No distinctive difference between reprint and the original other than color and paper. It is very hard to differentiate without having both stamps side by side.

Scott’s 46 Victory Propaganda

Reprint: Shaded with long line and light blue. Original: Shaded with short or doted line and greenish blue.

Scott’s #53 Day of Anti-U.S. Imperialist Struggle

Reprint: back of the soldier’s hat is shaded. Original: back of the soldier’s hat is not shaded.

Scott’s #54 North Korean-Chinese Friendship

Reprint: End of the ribbon is shaded. Original: End of the ribbon is not shaded.

Scott’s #57 International Youth

Reprint: Person in the middle looks to be a man. Original: Person in the middle looks to be a woman.

Scott’s #58 Soldier in Battle

Reprint: No image of rifle (buttstock) in the left hand of the soldier. Original: Soldier holding the riffle in his left hand.

Scott’s 59 Soldier and Flag

Reprint: Soldier’s belt and artillery gun tubes are not shaded. Original: Soldier’s belt and artillery gun tubes are shaded.

Scott’s 60 Woman with Flag

Reprint: Space between the flag pole and the woman’s body is shaded. Original: Space between the flag pole and the woman’s body is not shaded.

Scott’s 62 Worker

Reprint: sledge hammer head and artillery gun tubes are not shaded. Original: sledge hammer head and artillery gun tubes are shaded.

Scott’s 63 Workers Marching

Reprint: Man on the right, face is shaded light color. Original: Man on the right, face is shaded with dark lines.

Scott’s 65 Battle

Reprint: Below the left elbow of the soldier are shaded with many fine lines. Original: Below the left elbow of the soldier are shaded with 4 thick lines.

Scott’s 66 4th World Festival of Youth and Students

Reprint: Center and right head have detailed hairlines, right head shows eye and eyebrow. Original: No hair, no eye and eyebrow.

Scott’s 70 5th Anniversary, Founding of DPRK

Reprint is inscribed as 1948-1955. Original is inscribed 1948-1953.

Scott’s 71 Liberation Monument

Reprint: Spiky flower on bottom right corner and the dove’s right wing is half drawn. Original: Evenly round flower on bottom right corner and the dove’s right wing is fully drawn.

Scott’s 72 Worker and Crane

Reprint: Details of the crane are distinctive. Original: Parts of crane are shaded so the details are missing.

Scott’s 73 Korean People’s Army, 6th Anniversary

Reprint: 1948 to 1954, soldier holding a riffle. Original: 1948 to 1956, soldier holding a bouquet.

Scott’s 74 International Women’s Day

Reprint: USSR and PRC flags at top right are legible. Original: Not legible.

Scott’s 75 Labor Day

Reprint: Shirt placket of the first 2 men stops on the middle of the chest. Original: Shirt placket of the first 2 men goes all the way down to the overall.

Scott’s 79 Liberation from Japan, 9th Anniversary

Reprint: 3 lines of cooling holes in gun barrel. Original: 2 lines of cooling holes in gun barrel.

Scott’s 80 North Korean Flag

Reprint: Spearhead of the flag pole is almost to the top of the frame. Original: Spearhead of the flag pole is 2/3 to the top of the frame.

Scott’s 86 International Women’s Day

All images found are same. Only way to distinguish is to measure the size of stamp.

Scott’s 86b Labor Day

Reprint: Clear image of L shape on the blueprint. Original: No image of L shape on the blueprint.

Scott’s 86b Labor Day

Reprint: Man on the left is shaded. Original: Man on the left is not shaded.

Scott’s 87 Admiral Ri Sun Sin

No distinctive difference between reprint and the original other than color and paper. It is very hard to differentiate.

Scott’s 88 Admiral Ri Sun Sin

No distinctive difference between reprint and the original other than color and paper. It is very hard to differentiate.

Scott’s 90 Labor Law, 9th Anniversary

Reprint: top inscription 9 extend lower than 주년. Original: 9 is inline with word 주년.

Scott’s 94 Korea-USSR Friendship Month

The reprint measures 25mm x 43mmm which is the measurement for the original. Only way to differentiate is the color of the print. Reprint is in light vermilion and light blue with very thin gum.

Scott’s 95 Liberation from Japan, 10th Anniversary

Reprint: The image of star in the center of the flag is clear. The hook shape unshaded part on the bottom of the flags. Original: The image of star is not clear. The wing shape unshaded part on the bottom of the flags.

Scott’s 96 Liberation from Japan, 10th Anniversary

Reprint: Upper left of the monument is shaded and no dots. Original: Upper left of the monument is not shaded and have 2 dots.

Scott’s 98 People’s Army, 8th Anniversary

Reprint: Soldier’s right ear is shaded and it is unrecognizable. Original: Soldier’s right ear is clearly shown.

Scott’s 99 May Day

Reprint has many feather shades on dove’s body. Original has few feather shades on dove’s body.

Question to the readers:

  1. What is causing the collectors around the world to panic and dump their precious lifelong collection on eBay?
  2. Do these articles (DPRK Reprint part 1 and 2) help in purchase decision making?
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6 thoughts on “Recognizing DPRK Reprints Part II: 1951 to 1956

  1. The “flood” of North Korea stamps derives mainly from 2-3 large stocks dissolved at real auctions: including the one ex-Wallberg, (1923-2014) former swedish officer of NNSC in 1950s who bought the stamps directly at the local p.o. in North Korea. From the 1980s, Wallberg exhibited at international exhibitions, focussing his collection on old korea with small knowledge and never acquiring real top stuff – yes, I went thru his Korea exhibit and really wondered where his gold medals came from. He also become an FIP judge and a nuisance to korean specialist exhibitors (“Istanbul scandal” may ring a bell). Other fellow FIP judges considered Wallberg an “Asia-knows-it-all” reference and followed his recommandations blind, (NB I never exhibited but know some victims/endless stories and saw Mr. Wallberg and a devoted crowd listening to his erm. explanations at a Philanippon). The Wallberg excess NK material stockbooks went via several large asian dealers until it ended in a CG auction and entered the ebay retail scene.
    Then there was the perhaps best collection of NK ever, formed by a japanese specialist and dissolved for reasons of age. Both events have nothing to with a “panic” or “rush” or “sell out”.
    After all, NK specialized is still a very limited group of collectors. Once these big sources are gone, its over. So secure Your items of desire know.

    1. The first time I learned the name of Wallberg was from 2016 InterAsia auction catalogue, where it mentioned about his North Korea collection and Mr. Gregory Todd. However, very limited information was available on internet. Is it possible to tell more about this past philatelist and his collection?

  2. CG 38th auction, 2017 Oct., started from €2000 and finished at €4200 + service charge.
    I think this is the last part of Wallberg’s collection….
    1946/82, mint and used substantial holding in 2 stockbooks. Inc. blocks-4 or pairs, inc. imperf., earlies originals as well as reprints, varieties/mirror imprint on reverse, the 1958/63 imperf. parallell issues and a page of early fiscals. Also 1961 5 Ch./1 Ch. overprint in gift folder postmarked “1961.12.20”. 1960s/70s inc. s/s with two mint copies of 1970 complete inc. “damnated” error stamp (tonings). 1960s/70s mixed condition due to album quality, but a wealth of variety. Ex- B. Walberg, 1956/58 as swedish Major and NNSC officer in North Korea.

  3. Written by Jae-Seung Kim, published in Korean Philately Vol. 43 No. 1 (February 1997), pages 19-20:

    Another very unexpected happening occurred during ISTANBUL ’96. On the morning of Sept. 30, Robert Odenweller of the USA, one of the expert team members, called me and said that “there are some forged cancellations among the Korean exhibits, so you have to attend the dismounting.” I was very surprised at the news. He demanded that I follow him, and we walked around and around the military areas to a corner of the exhibition hall. I was told, “A written report was submitted to the Expert Team as there are some forged cancellations in Dr. S. Y Chang’s collection.” Odenweller then picked up page 12 of frame 1 and page 27 of frame 2. It was obvious that these pages did not contain forged cancellations; all were cancelled-to-order usages.

    I asked, “Who reported these? These are not forged cancellations.” He answered, “I can not share the name in order to protect the confidentiality of the report.” Later evidence indicated that the protest had been filed by Mr. Wallburg of Sweden. I indicated that I would submit a formal protest. While walking back to the office together, I explained that I have been studying postal cancellations of the Korean Classic for the last 25 years. I explained that my handbook on “Study on the First Korean Stamps Used in 1884” was being exhibited. I explained that I had conducted a philatelic seminar for members of the Korea Stamp Society in McLean, Virginia, during NAPEX ’96 on the postal history of the Kingdom and Empire of Korea 1884-1905. I explained that my background qualified me as a better expert on Korean Classic cancellations than a non-Korean who could not read Korean letters or Chinese characters. I also had with me The Stamp Culture, No. 101, published by the Busan Philatelic Club, which contained a photo taken with Dr. Varro Tyler, the expert in forged and fake usages, and myself at the KSS seminar at NAPEX ’96. Unfortunately, the text was all in Korean, except for Dr. Tyler’s name.

    At the office, I submitted a handwritten report (as a typewriter was not available). I explained that the cancelled-to-order cancellations were applied by European collectors living in Seoul or Inchon (Chemulpo) and outlined my qualifications for being qualified as an expert in the field. I challenged the Committee to seek comparable expertise and evidence from the party filing the protest. I also indicated that I would obtain more of my research in English to support my claim.

    It was noon on Sept. 30. I phoned Dr. Chang in Kwangju, Korea, and asked him to send me my articles related to the subject. Unfortunately, he did not have 42(1) of KP. I then called Seung-Je Kim in Busan, another member of KSS. Mr. Kim’s wife received the phone call, but he was not in. I asked Mrs. Kim to look for her husband in town and explained to her why I needed to communicate with him within three hours. My phone remained silent. It was now approaching Oct. 1. I decided to send a fax to Dr. McLean in St. Paul, Editor of KP, urgently requesting him to fax me a copy of my article.

    Thankfully, Dr. McLean’s reply reached me shortly thereafter with the 7 pages of my English article. His cover message was brief but much appreciated: “Here’s the article. I hope it helps out. Sorry to have to be hearing from you under such circumstances. Good luck.”

    Upon receipt of the fax, I ran to Mr. Odenweller in the Expert Team office and submitted my report again with Dr. McLean’s covering message and my article. I was very excited. The next day, in the morning of Oct. 2, Mr. Odenweller called on me at the lobby of the “A” exhibition hall. He talked about the circumstances and said that the Expert Team had decided that their final decision was that the stamps reflected cancelled-to-order usages, not forged ones. Thanks be to God! The fighting was finished. In the final report, listing two experts who had been consulted (Wallburg and Kim), the Expert Team requested: “The exhibitor must add text to explain the late use of the circular date stamp. Suggested Text: “These stamps were cancelled with a genuine datestamp, but some years after their normal date of use.”

    This is quite a happening because the claims were based on personal feeling rather than research. Of course, Dr. Chang lost no points on this matter. Thanks, indeed, to Dr. McLean and Korean Philately!

    [Ed. And congratulations to our members for their outstanding accomplishments at ISTANBUL ’96. Mr. Kim’s large vermeil with felicitation is exceptionally unusual in the Literature Class and is well deserved!]

  4. This is a very interesting article even though I can still smell the anger within it now…. and it makes me more curious about knowing Wallberg ….. but that’s another story….. wish to learn more…..
    Back to DPRK 1956 reprints, I suppose many KSS members know that Dr. Maeda had ever written a book about how to differentiate originals and reprints. Many interesting findings.

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