(Editor) Willem van der Bijl is one of the world’s foremost dealers of North Korean philatelic materials. In his collection are many unique items, which, until he managed to acquire them, were unknown to the philatelic world. However, given the unique economic situation in North Korea he also managed to accidentally create a completely new philatelic market, one for which new “unique” and “original” items are being created on an industrial scale. Here is his story about these “original” North Korean stamp artworks.
During my first visits to the DPRK, I bought artwork directly from employees of the KSC printing house. I had visited the printing house several times, which sounds easier than it actually was. I bought 7 pieces during one of those visits, but usually just 1 or 2 and sometimes nothing at all. These pieces were removed from the printers’ “archives” by KSC employees who had the opportunity to do so. (Of course I don’t know if this was done lawfully but I have my suspicions.) Obviously the prices got higher with each visit and I kept paying them. After all, we are talking about unique materials.