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.

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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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