A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzabar

A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzibar... Now what is between? For the world wide classical era philatelist and stamp collector, a country specific philatelic survey is offered by the blog author, Jim Jackson, with two albums: Big Blue, aka Scott International Part 1 (checklists available), and Deep Blue, aka William Steiner's Stamp Album Web PDF pages. In addition, "Bud" offers commentary and a look at his completely filled Big Blue. Interested? So into the Blues...

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dutch Indies

1902-08 22 1/2c brown and olive green & 25c violet
Queen Wilhelmina
Quick History

The Dutch Indies ( Netherlands Indies, Dutch East Indies) was a Dutch colony consisting of Java, Sumatra, Lesser Sundas, Madura, Celebes, Moluccas, Western New Guinea, and two thirds of Borneo. After the Japanese occupation and WWII, and then the Independence movement, modern day Indonesia was formed.

The Dutch East India Companies possessions were nationalized in 1800 as the Dutch East Indies. Products from the Dutch Indies that made the Netherlands a colonial power included nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, and the introduced coffee, tea, cacao, tobacco, rubber and sugar.  The Capital was Batavia (Jakarta), and the population was 60 million in 1930, 240,000 of them European.

Stamps were issued in 1864.

1902 1/2c on 2c yellow brown & 2 1/2c on 3c violet
Surcharged on 1883-90 Numeral of Value stamps
Big Blue Picture
Big Blue '97, on eight pages, has 174 stamp spaces for regular, semipostal, air post, and postage due categories. The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has 361 major stamp descriptions. Coverage by Big Blue is 48%.

The Dutch Indies stamps themselves have a classic elegant design with the three Numeral issues, and the many variations of the Queen Wihelmina issues. There are quite a few overprints/surcharges which I find fascinating. The prices are quite inexpensive, with the exception the 1883-90 Numeral Scott 21 5c green valued north of $25. But no "Most Expensive" candidates for the list.

What about BB's coverage? I'll let you be the judge. ;-)

Using an affordability comb of <$5, I found an additional 121 stamps that are not found in BB. Let's take a closer look...
1) Issue is in BB, but leaves the series early..
1870-88 King William III( 4 stamps), 1908 overprinted "Butten Bezeit"(12 stamps), 1908 overprinted "JAVA" (13 stamps), 1933-37 Rice Field Scene/Queen Wihelmina (8 stamps), and 1913-39 Postage due (5 stamps).

2) Issue not in BB
1938-40 Rice Field Scene/Queen Wihelmina (16 stamps), 1915-32 semipostals (13 stamps), 1928 air post (4 stamps), 1882-88, and  1892-95 postage dues (12 stamps)

3) Stamp category left out of Big Blue
Official stamps: 1911 issue year (22 stamps)

Carving out some room for these extra stamps would appear to be a good idea. ;-) One would want to especially save space for the Official stamps, as they are commonly  found in collections.

Curve balls in the Dutch Indies section? Well, yes...

The 1933-37 Rice Field Scene/Queen Wihelmina issue (Scott 164-188) can be problematic. First and foremost, water soluble ink was used for this issue, and if the stamp is immersed in water, the design can disappear! I have a pic on this blog of that! Other stamps/issues for the Dutch Indies that use water soluble ink include the 1933 Scott 16 12 1/2c deep orange "Prince William I", and the entire 1938-40 Scott 200-225 Rice Field Scene/Queen Wihelmina re-issue!

Now BB does not give room for the 1938-40 Rice Field Scene/Queen Wihelmina re-issue, but it "looks" identical in appearance to the 1933-37 issue. How to tell the difference? The 1938-40 issue is watermarked (202-Circles). Just turn over the stamp, and one will usually see little circle watermarks. The 1933-37 issue is unwatermarked. Perforations are also different (mostly) between the issues. The 1933-37 Scott 164-182 have a horizontal 11 1/2 perforations; while the 1938-40 Scott 200-216 have a horizontal 12 1/2 perforations.

A challenge is offered by the Dutch Indies 1882-88 postage dues. Although this issue is not in BB, five stamps are under $1 in value. There are four ( I,II,III,IV) different engraving types to examine! I scan the stamp with high detail (1200 dpi), and then "examine" the enlarged stamp on the computer monitor. Makes it fun! I include a pic of a Type III stamp on the blog.

Additionals..... ( <$1-$2+)
Regular (60 stamps)
1870-88 King William III (Perf)
Note: BB leaves series too early

1906 Queen Wilhelmina

1908 (1901-08 stamps overprinted "Butten Bezeit")
Note: BB leaves series too early

(1908) (1901-08 stamps overprinted "JAVA")
Note: BB leaves series too early


1923 Queen Wihelmina

1933-37 Rice Field Scene/Queen Wihelmina  (unwmk)
Note:  Scott 180-182 Perf 11 1/2 X 12 1/2, Scott 183-188 Perf 12 1/2
Note: water soluble ink: Do not immerse in water.

1938-40 Rice Field Scene/Queen Wihelmina  (wmk 202-circles)
Note: Virtually identical in appearance to series above (1933-37), but not in BB by date!
Note: Scott 200-216 Perf 12 1/2 X 12; Scott 218-221 Perf 12 1/2
Note: water soluble ink: Do not immerse in water.
Note: Differentiate by watermark and/or perf.

Semi-postal (13 stamps)
Note: AS BB begins with the 1933 issue, none of these semipostal issues are covered.


Air Post (7 stamps)
Note: Issue not in BB

(choices not taken in checklist)


Postage Due (19 stamps)
Note: Issue not in BB
Note: Found in four (I,II,III,IV) types! See Scott. I illustrate Type III on the blog.

Note: Found in three (I,II,III,) types. See Scott.
Note: Issue not in BB

1913-39 (Value in color of stamp)
Note: BB leaves series too early


Official stamps (22 stamps)
Note: No Official stamps in BB!

1911 (regular issues of 1883-1909 overprinted "DIENST.")

1911 ( regular issues of 1892-1894 overprinted with a "D" surrounded by a black circle)

1933-37 Rice field scene: Printed with water soluble Ink
Can you spot the stamps that were immersed in water?
Big Blue Checklist
1870-88 King William III (Perf)
3($2+) or 4, 5($2+),8($2+),9(<$1),10,11,($1+ eN)
Note: There are minor number "small holes" perforation varieties at higher catalogue value.
eN= except noted

1883-90 Numeral of Value
17,18*,19,20,21*($20+),22,(<$1 eN)
*Note 18 2c "red brown" in BB is "brown" in Scott
*Note 21 5c green is highest price stamp in BB for the Dutch Indies.

1892-94 Queen Wilhelmina
23(<$1),24*($5+),25,26,27,28,29,($1+ eN)
*Note 24 actually is a '97 issue

1889-1900 Queen Wilhelmina ( Netherlands stamp issue, surcharged)

1902 Numeral of value (New design: solid background behind number)
38,39,40,41*,42($1+),44,(<$1 eN)
*Note 41 2 1/2c "blue green" in BB is "green" in Scott

1902-08 surcharged

(1902-08) Queen Wilhelmina
48,49,50,51,52($1+),(<$1 eN)

1902-08 (Continued)

1905 surcharged "10 cent"
Note: A diagonal surcharge, not horizontal as printed in BB

1906 Queen Wilhelmina

1908-09 ("Type of 1901" -actually 1902 Numeral)

1908 (1901-08 stamps overprinted "Butten Bezeit")
Three blank spaces(horizontal): suggest 63,64,66,(<$1)
Blank space (vertical): suggest 70(<$1)

(1908) (1901-08 stamps overprinted "JAVA")
Three blank spaces(horizontal): suggest 81,82,84,(<$1)
Blank space(vertical): suggest 88(<$1)

(1912-23) Re-designed Numeral (white background behind number)

1912-23 Re-designed Numeral (continued)
*Note 115 7 1/2c "drab" in BB is "bister" in Scott.

(1912-23) Queen Wihelmina

1912-14 Queen Wihelmina
*Note 134 1g "gold brown" in BB is "brown" in Scott

1918 surcharged

1921-31 surcharged

1921-22 surcharged
*Note 149 60c on 1g "gold brown" in BB is 'brown" in Scott

1917 surcharged

1923 Queen Wihelmina

1933 Prince William I
Note: First printing was in water soluble ink, and will disappear when put in water.

1928-30 (Numeral type of 1912-14)
104,108,110,111($2+),114*,(<$1 eN)
(Queen Wihelmina)
*Note 114 is 5c chalky blue; beware of similar 114A ultra, a '40 issue.

1933-37 Rice Field Scene (unwmk, Perf 11 1/2 X 12 1/2)
( Queen Wihelmina)
Note: Do not immerse this series in water! Water soluble ink, and the design will disappear!
Note: Virtually identical 1938-40 Scott 200-225 issue that is NOT in BB! The 1938-40 series is watermarked (201-circles), and is Perf 12 1/2 X 12 for Scott 200-216; Perf 12 1/2 for Scott 218-225.
Differentiate by watermark and /or Perf! The 1938-40 issue is also with water soluble ink!

1934 (air post stamps surcharged)

1938 Queen Wihelmina

1933 Woman and Lotus
B16,B17($1+),B18,B19($1+),(<$1 eN)


B21($1+),B22($2+),B23,B24($2+),(<$1 eN)


B25,B26($1+),B27($1+),B28,B29($1+),(<$1 eN)

B42,B32,B33,B34,B35,B36($1+),B44,(<$1 eN)


Air Post
Blank space: suggest C10(<$1)

Two blank spaces: Suggest C16($2+) and second space? C11or C12 or C13 or C17,*!
*Note: Three stamp series (C14-16), so all used up!
Suggest any horizontal air mail stamp for the space: 1930-32 surcharge C11,C12,(<$1); 1931 C13($10+); 1932 surcharge C17(<$1)

Postage Due
1913-39 (Value in color of stamp)
J25,J26,J27,J28, (three blank spaces),J33,(<$1)
Three blank spaces: suggest J29,J30,J31,J32,(<$1)
Note: color in BB for this issue is "light red" Also the labeled color in the 1947 Scott catalogue.
But the 2011 Scott has color "salmon". !
Note: There is a minor number '41 issue with thick white paper, Numerals slightly larger at a higher catalogue value.

1882-88 Postage Due 5c: Comes in four engraving types
32 loops; "T" of "Betalen" is slightly to left of a loop
Top branch of first "E" of "Betalen" shorter than lower branch
Therefore Type III   ;-)
Update Note: This stamp is lilac, not carmine - therefore Surinam, not Dutch Indies.
In addition, the cancel is from Surinam - see comment section.
Kinds of Blue
The '97 and '69 editions are identical. The '47 and '41 editions are identical.

The '47 and '41 editions have two more (blank) spaces available for the 1870-88 issue.
Choose two: 12($2+),13(<$1),14($2+),15($1+)

The '97 and '69 editions have an extra space for the 1928 Air post issue.

The '97 and '69 editions have three extra spaces for the 1931 air post issue.
C15($2+),C16($2+), and C11/C12/C13/C17 choice(<$1-$10+)

Red surcharged 1921-22  40c on 50c green "Queen Wilhelmina"
Many overprinted/surcharged Dutch Indies stamps exist
Big Blue Bottom Line.
Very enjoyable stamp issues. IMHO, there should be better coverage by Big Blue of these nice stamps.

Note: Map appears to be in the public domain.

If you enjoyed this blog, or have something to say, I would like to hear from you in the Comment section!


  1. Great blog!!! Thank you for your awesome effort in doing it. Just a minor comment: the 1890s postage due was canceled in Surinam, not the Dutch Indies. The overprint is "Buiten Bezit" that translates to "Foreign Possession." Also, how does one distinguish Scott 183-188? They are not included in BB.

    1. This blog post was published almost nine years ago, and I admit there are some mistakes here that I wouldn't make today. Besides the cancel from Surinam for the postage due, the color is lilac rather than carmine: therefore a Surinam Postage Due. !! Thanks.

      The 1933-37 issue is unwatermarked, while the 1938-40 issue is watermarked - that is how one tells the difference... From my notes:
      "Note: Do not immerse this series in water! Water soluble ink, and the design will disappear!
      Note: Virtually identical 1938-40 Scott 200-225 issue that is NOT in BB! The 1938-40 series is watermarked (201-circles), and is Perf 12 1/2 X 12 for Scott 200-216; Perf 12 1/2 for Scott 218-225.
      Differentiate by watermark and /or Perf! The 1938-40 issue is also with water soluble ink"

    2. Thank you Jim. You are an incredible go to resource. After a lifetime of lackadaisical collecting I'm finally focusing and having a great time organizing my BB collection backed by the five Scott Browns. It is a substitute for our canceled cruise and European vacation and our grandkids. Classic stamps ignite the imagination. Your blog is looked at often and very much appreciated. I was asleep yesterday and should have noticed the watermark difference in the Specialized Catalogue. Ben

    3. Ben - Hope your journey goes well!