The Netherlands fell to Germany early in World War II on May 15, 1940, but their Dutch Colonies did not. The Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco Mints all struck coins for circulation in Curaçao, Suriname, Netherlands East Indies (now Indonesia), as well as the homeland in anticipation of liberation at the end of the war.
Curaçao was a strategic asset for the allies in World War II because of the Royal Dutch Shell Oil refinery. Curaçao and Aruba supplied 100% of the fuel for the American invasion in Northern Africa (1942-1943), and 75% for the battles in the Pacific (1944-1945). The population of the island also increased drastically due to the number of foreign troops stationed there to protect the refineries and oil production facilities. The U.S. mint was tasked with supplying the coinage to meet the increased demand from 1941 through 1944.
The Philadelphia mint struck all of the coins in 1941, 1942, and 1943 for Curaçao and Suriname. Krause and the U.S. Mint records both indicate that all of these coins were intended for circulation in both colonies with the exception of the 1942-P 10 Cent and the 1943-P One Cent coins which appear to have been struck specifically for Suriname. It is however very likely that all of the coins circulated in both colonies since the inscriptions on the coins do not indicate which colonies they were intended for. Curiously, the 1942-P 10 Cent coin has been included in this Curaçao set while the 1943-P One Cent has not.
A mint mark can be found on all of the coins struck by the U.S. Mint with the exception of the square shaped 5 Cent coin struck by the Philadelphia mint in 1943. In addition to the mint mark, which always appears to the right of the date, there is also a Palm Tree privy mark just to the left of the date. In 1943, 10 Cent and 25 Cent coins of this exact same design were also struck for The Netherlands. The only way to differentiate them from those struck for the colonies is by the acorn privy mark found to the left of the date.
In 1944, sole production shifted to the Denver mint and all of the reverse designs were changed to include the words "MUNT VAN CURAÇAO." According to mint records, no coins were minted specifically for circulation in Suriname.
No coins were minted for Curaçao or Suriname in 1945 or 1946. The Royal Dutch Mint in Utrecht resumed minting after World War II and produced all coinage for their colonies in 1947 and 1948. In a 1942 speech, Queen Wilhelmina had promised autonomy to all of the Dutch overseas territories and the end of colonial rule came with the end of World War II. A new constitution for the territory was written in 1948, and the territory was also renamed "Netherlands Antilles." On March 3, 1951, the Island Regulation of the Netherlands Antilles was issued by royal decree for the various island territories in the Netherlands Antilles. No coinage was produced for Curaçao from 1949 through 1951, and all coinage thereafter was issued under the authority of the Netherlands Antilles.
Some interesting aspects of the coins in this set are:
- Six of the coins in this set are THE single finest known NGC or PCGS examples:
--- 1944-D One Cent (KM-41) - NGC MS67RD (self submitted)
--- 1947(u) One Cent (KM-41) - NGC MS67RD
--- 1944-D 2 1/2 Cent (KM-42) - NGC MS64RB (self submitted)
--- 1943(P) 5 Cent (KM-40) - NGC MS68
--- 1944-D 1/10 Gulden (KM-43) NGC MS66 (self submitted)
--- 1943-P 25 Cent (KM-38) NGC MS64 (self submitted)
- Three more have none finer.
--- 1943/1-P 25 Cent (KM-38) NGC AU58 (self submitted)
--- 1947(u) 1/4 Gulden (KM-44) NGC MS65
--- 1944-D 2 1/2 Gulden (KM-46) NGC MS66
- 11 of the 21 coins in this set were purchased as raw coins and self submitted to NGC for grading.
- Three of these coins were used by NGC as the plate coin on their NGC Price Guide page.
--- 1941-P 10 Cent (KM-37)
--- 1942-P One Cent (KM-39a)
--- 1944-D One Cent (KM-41)
My main interest in this set was initially limited to those coins that were minted by the United States Mint. I did however come across what I like to call "coins of opportunity" that allowed me to add the coins minted by the Royal Dutch Mint in 1947 and 1948. I hope someday I can find nice examples of the 1900 and 1901 coins to complete this set.
I would like to thank NGC for recognizing this set with a "Best Presented Set" award for 2018. The following are the judges comments concerning this set.
There are about two dozen issues for the Dutch Caribbean colony of Curacao during the period covered, and this collection presently is complete for all but the two earliest pieces. Each is NGC certified, and most are Mint State. Particularly notable are the several coins struck during World War II by the Philadelphia and Denver Mints. Each entry includes excellent photographs and is accompanied by a detailed description of its design and other important features. The introductory essay is particularly informative, and it includes a very extensive list of sources.
* Foreign coins from U.S. Mint, Coin World, July, 19, 2004, pp. 16, 18. - Overview and history.
* Foreign coins from U.S. Mint, Coin World, August 23, 2004, pp. 18. - Part I of the cataloged issues.
* Foreign coins from U.S. Mint, Coin World, August 30, 2004, pp. 16, 18. - Part II of the cataloged issues.
* Foreign Coins Stuck At United States Mints, by Charles, G. Altz and E.H. Barton,
---- Whitman Publishing Company, Racine, Wisconsin, 1964.
---- (Out of print, but used copies can be found without much difficulty by searching the internet.)
* Domestic and Foreign Coins Manufactured by Mints of the United States 1793-1980,
---- by the Department of the Treasury/Bureau of the Mint
---- and issued by the Government Printing Office Washington in 1981.
* Foreign Coins Struck at Mints in The United States, by Philip Steiner and Michael Zimpfer,
---- Wispering Pines Printing, Indiana, 1974. (Out of Print)
* The U.S. Mint Goes to War, Jeff Starck, Coin World, December 2011, Vol. 52, Issue 2695, pp 135-144
* Standard Catalog of World Coins, Krause Publications, various editions.
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