The North Korean Provisional Surcharged Stamps 2002

North Korea

Democratic Peoples’ Republic Korea (DPRK, North Korea) changed the face value of stamps under a new postage order from August 1 Juche 91 (2002). The Ministry of Post and Telecommunications of the DPRK took a measure that those previously issued 91 postage stamps were overprinted with the new denomination to be used for a certain period from August Juche 91 (2002) according to the postage changed.

This was reported in the Korean Stamp Catalogue 1946-2006, Korea Stamp Corporation, Pyongyang, 2007, page 272, and repeated in later catalogues, so the 1946-2015 catalogue, page 312:

KSC (2015) listing of stamps surcharged in 2002.

No reason was given why it was necessary to overprint that much of stamps, 91 different. The overprints go back to 1963 until 2002.

A new set of Definitive stamps were issued on November 20 Juche 91 (2002), with 12 different denominations, but neither from them is corresponding with the surcharged denominations.

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Buying DPRK stamps
Besides ordering directly from the KSC, North Korean (new) stamp issues are also available through Per-Olof Jönsson’s store on Delcampe or by contacting him directly by email at Please note that all business is done without any KSS involvement, KSS assumes no responsibility for any dealings with any stamp dealer.
Per-Olof Jönsson
I am member of KSS and collector of North Korean stamps since very long. I happen to be Client No. 2 at KSC, importing and selling DPRK stamps since 2005. Now also proud member of the KSS “North Korea Specialist Collectors” and responsible for the KSS New Releases DPRK.

13 thoughts on “The North Korean Provisional Surcharged Stamps 2002

  1. According to the available information, these stamps were not issued altogether, but separately into several series.
    Some stamps have both black and red overprints, which make the complete sets are 100-102 stamps.
    And although KSC said these stamps were overprinted in 2002, all available used (philatelic) covers were from 2006.

  2. Hello,
    In contradiction to Che Yi Fu, I have a source, namely the official publisher KSC itself.
    Which source has Che Yi Fu and who is behind “available information”?
    Seriousness should be important, this is almost “science” and philatelic research in every case!
    Yes, I know there were mostly black and some red overprints.
    And that the stamps were “used for a certain period from August Juche 91 (2002).”
    I never saw any covers with those stamps, neither from 2002 nor from 2006.
    I have a minor quntity for sale in my web shop on delcampe “NORTH KOREA surcharged” in Category Stamps

  3. KSC said 91 stamps were surcharged in 2002 but didn’t show the image. Thank Koreascandia to show them here. I am also your client!
    Here I add another 9 stamps with both red and black surcharges, which make 100 stamps in total.
    Scott catalogue lists these surcharged stamps in 2006 as No. 4512-4611.
    Also a photo for philatelic covers.

    1. Hi Per-Olof, these covers were sent to a Dutchman, I got them from dealers.
      These were philatelic covers. And from the photos you can see, inverted overprint existed.

  4. All these spurious surcharges (they were valid for postage, but used on an internal cover have not been seen) were issued not earlier than 2006 – when there was not need for them. 3 won surcharges were issued in the autumn of 2002, described in notes by myself in Korean Philately, 50 (1) February 2005 and 54 (1) February 2012. Four such examples are listed in Scott’s 2019 catalogue, Nos. 4259A-D, unpriced.
    I would like to hear of any other examples.

  5. I’ll not say these surcharges are “spurious”, to me it means forged or fake. But I agree these surcharges are philatelically made.
    To attract the attention of thematic collectors, all these stamps are meaningfully chosen and belong to some themes, such as sport, animal, flora.. etc. But because the sheet composition of each single stamp is different, it seems the total amount of complete sets are less than 1000.

  6. Hi Robert and Leon,
    Of course, Leon has to answer himself, just another reflexion, according to my close and deep experiences of Korea Stamp Corporation. Up and then KSC was ordered from the government/ ministry to strengthen the state cash flow and therefore issued some awfully expensive stamps, such as the 2002 101-stamps surcharged issue with no fixed but negotiable sales price.
    2 examples of other speculative issues with only high denominations and 10 or 20 stamps in a complete set were intended only for foreign customers and speculators, not at least Chinese.
    The modern examples are
    1. the Belgica 2006 Stamp Exhibition with the issuing of 10 sheets with 6 stamps each and in double composition, altogether net price 10 x 2 x 6 x $1,2 = $144 perforated and $288 imperforated,
    2. the 2009 Light houses issue with 5 sheets with 4 stamps at $25 each and another 20 different sheets with 2 stamps each at $12.50 making altogether $375 perforated and $750 imperforated.
    Since I have a good and frank business relationship with Korea Stamp Corporation and have also sponsored several editions with overprint since 2008, I have dared to be very powerful to the organization’s management in the face of my harsh criticism of this publishing policy that has tarnished the market for North Korean stamps. My criticism has been taken up and in the last 10 years no such editions have appeared.

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