I started collecting the Postal Stationery of the DPRK as I had one or two clients who were buying North Korean postal history which was all but unobtainable in Western Europe in the 1980’s. After leaving Stanley Gibbons in 1992 to start ‘Carmichael & Todd’, I joined the KSC. I attended, with a stand, the FIP International exhibition held in Poznan in 1993, where I made great and useful friends in Poland who found material for me and I later returned to do buying trips to Krakow and Warsaw, where I encountered many unusual DPRK covers and cards and even Polish air-letters franked with the obligatory ‘Partisan’ and ‘Dove’ issues – by this time too, my customers had let me know exactly what they were looking for and the trips were both fun and profitable.
Later my trips branched out to visits to Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania – where I bought a correspondence of illustrated envelopes and postal stationery mailed to Cluj. I had been lucky enough to know Borje Wallberg for many years as he too was a fixture on the International Philatelic Exhibition circuit and through him learnt that Koh Seow Chuan had purchased much of his North Korea collection. I discussed with Koh the possibility of buying this collection and eventually purchased it on instalments.