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...

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Surinam (Dutch Guiana) 1873 Part A

1873 Scott 10 25c greenish blue "William III"
Quick History
In 1667, with the Treaty of Breda, the Dutch gave away all rights to New Amsterdam to the British; and, in exchange, they were assured of the ability to colonize Suriname. Clearly, of all the bad trades among nations, this has to be, by any objective measurement, the worst, as any Dutch citizen will ruefully admit as they arrive at the most expensive real estate on earth- Manhattan. ;-)

Suriname, derived from the indigenous Arawak name, or Surinam, what the original British settlers called the area, was taken over by the Dutch, then, in 1667, and became part of a group of Dutch settlements or colonies known collectively as Dutch Guiana. In later years, Dutch Guiana referred to the remaining Dutch colony of Surinam, as the British merged the former Dutch settlements of Berbice, Essequibo, and Demerara into British Guiana.in 1831.

Surinam on the north-east coast of South America
Surinam was a Dutch plantation colony, and slaves were imported by the Dutch West India Company from West Africa to work the sugar cane, cotton, indigo, and (later) coffee crops.

Dutch Plantation Owner and Slave, circa 1792
The treatment of the slaves was poor, to say the least, and many escaped into the surrounding rain forests. The Maroons ( Dutch: Bosnegers), formed from an indigenous mixture of Arawaks, Caribs, and escaped African slaves, developed their own culture and tribes, and became a potent force in the area.

Paramaribo market - 1830s
Slavery was abolished by the Netherlands in 1863, but slaves were still required to work on the plantations until 1873.

Stamps were introduced in 1873, showing the portrait of King William III.

With freedom, the slaves left the plantations, and largely moved to Paramaribo, the capital and the largest city.

Javanese contract workers from the Dutch East Indies -circa 1880
Indentured contract workers for the plantations were brought in from British India, Dutch East Indies, and to a lesser extent, from China.

The ethnic legacy is that today Suriname is one of the most diverse nations in the world, with Creole (35%), East Indian (34%), Javanese (15%), Maroons (9%), Amerindian (2%), Chinese (2%) and White (1%) populations.

To be continued with Surinam Part B.....

1892-93 Scott 30 30c red brown "Queen Wilhelmina"
Into the Deep Blue
The 2014 Scott Classic Specialized 1840-1940 catalogue has, for Surinam 1873-1938, 243 major number descriptions. Of those, 95 are CV <$1-$1+, or 39%. Surinam is moderately expensive for the WW collector, but there are enough stamps to form a representative collection, even on a budget.

(Note: The Scott catalogue uses "Surinam" as the spelling, so I will use it here.)

Surinam, of course, is in a tropical zone. But the Netherlands postal authorities had the good sense to ship stamps to Surinam ungummed from 1873-1912. There, most of them were gummed locally. But that means the unused stamps can often be found in good condition today without gum degeneration and stains. Just don't expect gum on the back! ;-)

As there are a lot of excellent issues (especially the semi-postals), I am going to divide the Surinam presentation into two blog posts. This post (Part A) will start with the 1873 regular issue, and end with the 1913-31 regular issue. The next post (Part B) will cover the rest of the regular issues beginning in 1923, and conclude with the semi-postals and other "BOB" issues.

A closer look at the stamps and issues
100 Cents = 1 Gulden (Florin)
1873 Scott 5 5c dull violet "King William III"
The first issue for Surinam consisted of sixteen stamps released from 1873-1888. These were important years for the colony, as the African slaves had just been freed from the plantations, and many new contract worker immigrants- primarily from India and the Dutch East Indies- were arriving.

The portrait of King William III was the same as used for the Netherlands 1872-88 issue.

1890 Scott 20 3c green "Numeral of value"
A five stamp "Numeral of value" issue was released in 1890. The design is similar, but not identical, to the Netherlands 1876-94 four stamp issue.

1892 Scott 22 2 1/2c black & orange
In 1892, a single 2 1/2c "Franking Stamp" was issued. Rather unusual in appearance. Does a reader have a back story on this stamp?

1892-93 Scott 26 12 1/2c rose lilac "Queen Wilhelmina"
In 1892-93, a six stamp issue showing "Queen Wilhelmina" was released. The issue is quite similar to the 1891-94 Netherlands issue. Note Wilhelmina is only eleven years old. ;-)

The postmark is rather curious. Readers?

1898 Scott 33 10c on 20c green
In 1898, six stamps were produced by surcharging "10 cent" on the 1873-1888 King William issue. The CV ranges from a modest $4-$5, as the 10c on 20c green stamp illustrated here, to a CV $500 for the 10c on 25c ultramarine.

1908 Scott 50 7 1/2c gray
The Netherlands have a tendency, besides showing the monarch, to print "Numeral of value" typographic designs for their classical era stamps- rather functional, but I think elegant also.

The 1902-08 seventeen stamp issue has these functional stamps for the seven lower denominations.

1902 Scott 55 22 1/2c brown & olive green
"Queen Wilhelmina"
The middle denominations (eight stamps) have a nice portrait of an older- but still quite young- Wilhelmina. The 22 1/2c brown & olive green (shown here) is the only one in bi-color. 

1902 Scott 59 1g violet "Wilhelmina"
The two highest denominations are in a larger format, and have a lovely alabaster portrait of the young queen.

1909 Scott 61 5c red
Serrate Roulette 13 1/2
The 1909 "Numeral" comes in two flavors: a Serrate Roulette 13 1/2 and a Perforation 11 1/2 X 10 1/2.

1911 Scott 64 1/2c on 2c
The 1911 five stamp issue is surcharged in red with the value and a crown. CV ranges from $1+-$100+.

1912 Scott 73 12 1/2c deep blue
Typeset, the four stamp 1912 issue is "Plain Jane". This is the last of the issues sent to Suriname without gum.

1931 Scott 89 7 1/2c yellow "Numeral of Value"
Between 1913-1931, a three design thirty-five stamp issue was produced. The lower eleven denominations in eighteen colors have the functional "Numeral" design. Compare to the earlier 1902-08 issue.

1926 Scott 96 15c light blue "Wilhelmina"
The middle denominations (thirteen stamps) show the Queen and an ocean vessel.

Did Queen Wilhelmina ever visit her colonies?

It appears not.

No Dutch monarch ever visited the Dutch East Indies, but her daughter Queen Juliana visited Suriname and the Antilles (Curacao) in 1955.

But she (Wilhelmina) was one of the stronger monarchs ever, beloved by her people during her nearly 58 year reign. She is especially remembered as a rallying force for the Dutch resistance during WW II.

1913 Scott 106 1g brown "Wilhelmina"
The four highest denominations have a larger format design with tropical palms on either side of the Queen visage. This same design, save for a change in the colony name, was used for the Dutch East Indies and the Antilles (Curacao).

To be continued in the next blog post.....

Deep Blue
1902-08 Issue in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has fifteen pages for the 1873-1938 stamps of Surinam. All the major Scott numbers have a space. 

The 1886-88 postage due stamps come in four types, and the 1892-95 postage dues come in three types. Steiner only gives a space for the major type. Therefore, a quadrilled page or two will be needed if one wishes to parse these issues into minor number types.

1902 Scott 60 2 1/2g slate blue "Queen Wilhelmina"
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on five pages, has 155 spaces for the stamps of Surinam. Included is a generous selection of the fine semi-postal issues. Overall coverage is 64%.

The 40s editions have spaces rearranged somewhat differently. No formal evaluation was done, but it appears the '69 offers a bit better coverage, with two more spaces for the 1913-31 issue, and two more spaces for the 1936-41 issue.

The '69 BB has only eight spaces that require expensive stamps (CV $10-$20+). There are no "Most Expensive" (CV $35+) stamps required. Nice! But here are a number of spaces that will need to be filled with  ~$5 CV stamps.








61 or 62,

Next Page







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Postage Due


Air Post




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A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1873 Scott 10 25c greenish blue ($10)
1902 Scott 53 15c deep brown ($10+)
1902 Scott 55 22 1/2c brown & olive green ($10+)
1909 Scott 61 5c red ($10+)
1912 Scott 73 12 1/2c deep blue ($10+)
1930 Scott 127 21c dark brown ($10+)
1892 (Scott J11) 10c lilac ($20+)
1892 (Scott J13) 25c lilac ($10)
B) (    ) around a number indicates a blank space choice.

1913 Scott 105 50c green "Queen Wilhelmina"
Out of the Blue
Wonderful classical stamps during the Dutch colonial era. 

Note: Maps, prints, and pics appear to be in the public domain.

Have a comment?


  1. Jim

    Michel lists the 1892 Frankeerzegel issue as a locally designed and printed provisional. Printed by H.B. Heijde in Paramaribo. 'Frankeerzegel' obviously means 'postage stamp'. Michel BTW also lists the 1909 Numeral and the 1912 Plain Jane issues as locally designed and printed issues. Both printed by H.B. Heijde in Paramaribo.

    1. Gerben- appreciate the information as the Scott catalogue says nothing about the origins of these issues.

    2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    3. After reading this highly informative blog, I purchased a 22a (with a fancy F" on the vertical words). It was postmarked with a Paramaribo CDS. When I conducted a routine check for thins under my lamp, I was surprised to see that the paper displayed a prominent mesh.

      Since Scott does not mention this mesh feature, I was wondering if your stamp has a mesh too? At any rate, I am quite pleased with this nifty locally printed stamp!

    4. Gina

      Indeed, my 22 (no fancy "F") also has mesh paper.

      Nice pick-up Gina!

  2. One of the greatest compliments Churchill ever paid to a foreign leader was to Wilhelmina during World War II when she led the Dutch government in exile in London. He said that she was "the only real man among the leaders of the governments-in-exile". She was definitely a force of nature, and remains to this day one of the most popular historical personalities among the Dutch.

    1. I heard that too, an inspirational leader in very dark times.

  3. Please be careful not to overdo it on the popularity of Wilhelmina. Yes, she is appreciated for all the reasons mentioned. But, she has also been disputed. Many have called her a traitor - sic - for leaving the country, at a time when the Dutch people most needed her. Also her prominence in government affairs has been criticized as authoritarian and in conflict with longstanding Dutch political customs. Just to add a bit of nuance....

    1. So noted Gerben. Thanks for the more nuanced Dutch perspective.

  4. Jim,

    The cancellation on the "Queen with the loose hair" stamp is from a riverboat going up and down the Corantijn / Courantyne River on the border of Suriname and British Guyana, explaining "Suriname Britsch Guijana". The source of the Corantijn is disputed from 1871 to this day, as it determines if some 4000 square miles of jungle (the New River Triangle) belongs to Suriname or Guyana. There may be an unintended benefit for nature here if this dispute has kept either country from exploiting the land.
    The cancellation is quite sought after; at a Van Swieten auction ("veiling 628 - page 107") pretty much this same stamp was estimated to go for 40 Euros.


    1. Arian- well, the cancellation is even more interesting then I thought! Thanks for the very knowledgeable reply.

  5. I have made Steiner-style pages for the Dutch colonial dues varieties, if you are interested.

    1. Wow, good work Dave.

      Thanks for thinking of me - not at the moment.