What do we know about these North Korean revenue stamps?

Q&A

A KSS member asks about North Korean revenue stamps: what do we know about these? “A small number of stamps, many duplicates. I do not specifically collect such stamps, but sometimes buy them. Are these stamps all North Korean? I read that there is a catalog of Korean (or North Korean) revenue stamps, but I cannot find it. I would be grateful if you could help identify these stamps.

Not much is known about North Korean revenue stamps. The problem is that the DPRK is a completely closed country, it is simply impossible to do any serious archival research. And while South Korea, the ROK, has digitized most of its archives, North Korea has done nothing like that at all. Therefore, the only sources we have are all sorts of revenue stamps and a few listings of these stamps in a few highly specialized revenue stamp catalogues. The most important one is the Hasegawa catalogue. This publication is sometimes available on Ebay.

Fig. 1: All the stamps in one scan. The text below is about this particular scan.

Back to the stamps. One of the blue stamps is Chinese (agricultural tax stamp), not Korean. The other blue stamp is North Korean, from the Soviet period. Nothing is known about these Korea stamps, they only show up in unused condition, never on document. This stamp is part of a series. Two stamps in that series show something in their stamp image which can be used to show when this series was produced. That’s why I know these were issued in 1947-1948, so sometime within the Soviet period. One of those two stamps show for instance the so-called “Liberation Tower” built in 1947. That is also true for the red Pyongyang local stamp shown here, this also shows this tower.

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Ivo Spanjersberg
Currently KSS Publisher/Webmaster, previously KSS Chairman (2018-2019). Living in Amsterdam. I collect Korean revenue stamps, see my website:
http://www.spanjersberg.net

2 thoughts on “What do we know about these North Korean revenue stamps?

  1. Ivo, as you know the revenue area is not something I collect, but this article is very interesting and there must have been a lot of research and knowledge you had in writing that article. Bob

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