eBay ban stamps and coins from North Korea

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North Korea StampThere’s a seller of stamps in the quiet seaside village of Saltdean who’s fallen foul of the North Korean nuclear weapons row.

As a stamp seller he’s been banned from selling stamps from North Korea and according to his local newspaper, The Argus, received the following message from eBay:

eBay’s policy prohibits the sale of most items that originate from North Korea due to sanctions enforced by the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. Therefore, as of April 9 2013, eBay will no longer allow listings for stamps, coins or paper money from North Korea.

There’s two sides to this – firstly eBay will naturally claim to be a US company, have their hands tied, and have to toe the US Government’s demands. The other is that if someone has a few stamps and wish to sell them, then why shouldn’t they?

Do the US Government really have the right to determine whether a seller on the South Coast of England can or can’t sell a few stamps – probably not, that would be down to the UK authorities to enforce. The answer is probably that the US Government can’t tell you not to trade in North Korean stamps, just not on a website owned by a company with a US based parent.

If you are a philatelist and want to boost your collection of stamps from North Korea, hop onto eBay quick and buy any missing from your collection – listed at the time of writing but who knows when eBay will start cancelling the listings.

2 Responses

  1. In the news over the last few weeks has been a lot of mention of a Joint Industrial Area where South Korean Companies provide the expertise and the employees are North Korean. I find myself wondering what happens to the production from that Industrial Area?

    If Coins and Stamps from North Korea are banned what about the production from that Industrial Area. Or is that considered to be South Korean. Indeed if it is for all intents and purposes identical to South Korean production perhaps it is considered to be South Korean?

    The problem is that Countries, especially the USA, make the rules and then muck around with them to suit themselves.

    In the case of the production from the Industrial Area the North gets a great deal of benefit from it. Thousands of the North citizens are employed in the Industrial Area. They are paid, probably in “Hard” Currency which benefits the North Korean economy. The goods are made to the Souths standards because they would be of no benefit to anybody except perhaps the North to be sub standard.

    The production then goes to the South and is merged in with the production from South Korean Factories. So how is it considered under the above quoted US rules and regulations? Yet some poor Stamp Dealer is banned from selling a few North Korean Stamps.


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