North Korea: Problems prepaying the post-armistice airmail rates, 1953-1956

At some date after the signing of the Armistice on 27 July 1953, for reasons known only to the North Korean postal administration, a decision was made to introduce an airmail fee of 75 won. That this was likely due to the huge influx of members of the two Neutral Nations Commissions (NNRC and NNSC) […]

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Korea Unification Symbol Destroyed. But It Lives On In Stamps

At the end of January 2024, information appeared in the world media that a huge monument – the Arch, symbolizing the possible unification of North and South Korea – the Monument to the Three Charters of Reunification, was destroyed. The arch was erected in 2001, a year after the inter-Korean summit (the inter-Korean declaration was […]

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Booklet of North Korean Stamps from the Period before the Siege of Pyongyang

What a wonderful feeling to find something new, a philatelic treasure, a real “philagem”. And how wonderful to be able to add a stamp to your collection of which only 2 copies exist, or add both! A wonderful philatelic discovery, from a troubled era, from the philately of a closed country! The feeling when we […]

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Some Chollima Images on North Korea’s “Allies” Stamps

North Korea isn’t the only country that has used the chollima images on their postage stamps. Some of North Korea’s allies have used the image too. For example, from an image we have seen before on the Korea Stamps Society’s webpage is a East Germany pair with a semi-postal stamp of 20 +5 pf value […]

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The Number of Chollimas on Stamps Grows and Grows!—Part 2

We continue the story of the Chollimas on North Korea stamps with an additional 16 different stamps depicting a Chollima, somewhere within the stamp’s design, including descriptions. The stamps described in Part 2 cover the stamps issued by North Korea showing the Chollima from the year of 1965 to the end of 1969.

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DPRK 1976 “Winners, 21st Olympic Games, Montreal” Sheet Sizes and Other Differences

In 1976, the DPRK released several souvenir sheets that differ (within the same catalog number) from each other. Differences in size, perforation, presence of glue, etc. can be found. The information in catalogs is somewhat different. The most notable example would be the Souvenir Sheet for release: Winners, 21st Olympic Games, Montreal.

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Five examples of mail sent from the USSR to the DPRK in 1950

Shown here are 5 covers sent between June and September 1950 to North Korea. Covers no. 1-4 were sent by Soviet citizens of Korean ethnicity to their relatives or friends, who were living in the territory of North Korea. The sender of the fifth cover is presumably the wife of a Soviet officer, who at […]

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Mao’s only son died in the Korean War

On the occasion of Mao Zedong’s 100th birthday, the Korean Stamp Corporation (DPRK) issued a series of postal stationery in honor of Mao. The cards have three-dimensional images, which is why they are quite heavy and made of plastic; but it’s not the comical “wobbly images” often seen in 3D – that would probably not […]

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Differences between the field posts of the People’s Liberation Army (1950-1960) and the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army in Korea (1952-1958)

The Chinese Government attached great importance to the Korean and Chinese units differing significantly from each other in formal terms. The Chinese People’s Volunteers received different troop designations, rank insignia and uniforms. Field letters from Korea were given their own troop cancellers (fig. 1), which differed from the Chinese field post letters (fig. 2).

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My postal experiences in the DPRK 2012 – 2013

From early August 2012 to the end of November 2013 I was stationed in Pyongyang (DPRK) for the World Food Program of the United Nations. Because of the limited international internet access allowed to the WFP national staff in the DPRK (mainly seconded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs). There is also a WFP DPRK […]

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Examples of DPRK new issue leaflet from the 1990s: when times were different

For several years (starting in 2018) the KSS has been listing new stamp issues from North Korea. With these new issues the stamp issuing entity of the DPRK, the Korea Stamp Corporation (KSC), always releases a new issue leaflet. This issue shows details of the stamps, while at the same time doubling as an order […]

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International Women’s Day (8 March) Featured in the Philately of the DPRK

In the period from 1953-1960, four issues of stamps, dedicated to the International Women’s Day (8 March) were issued in North Korea (this day is mainly celebrated in the territory of the former USSR, and some countries of Asia and Africa). Since 2019 this holiday has been a regional holiday in Berlin, Germany.

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“I’ll make the world the way I like it!”

It is well-known that the People Republic of China (PRC) rewrites its history as it deems politically correct. The same goes for pictures showing the history of China. Since you haven’t seen everything yourself, you seldom notice it, of course. But here we have two stamp images that are supposed to show the same thing, […]

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The types of “unissued” or otherwise irregular stamps of the DPRK

In early 2019 I wrote an article for the KSS about “unissued” DPRK stamps. This showed that, in addition to the regular issued stamps, there were (and are still) many “disappeared” or “re-appeared” stamps in DPRK’s philatelic history. This short refresher article gives a bit more information as to why these stamps were treated the […]

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When the war drums stop, so does the KSC

The Korea Stamp Corporation, the stamp issuing organization of the DPRK (North Korea), generally creates stamp along several lines of themes. One of those common themes is something along the lines of “the eternal fight for the motherland against our enemies”. The thing is: the official feelings towards these enemies, whomever they may be (usually […]

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A closer look at real and fake North Korean philatelic items (Part II)

Most stamp dealers have a specialization, some field of (philatelic) interest which make them stand apart from other dealers. But there are few stamp dealers like Willem van der Bijl, whose small shop in the historic city center of Utrecht in the Netherlands belies the importance of his collection of North Korean materials, both philatelic […]

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