Suriname Collectors' Stamps
Located on the northeast coast of South America, tiny Suriname is the smallest and least populous country on the continent. While it’s fair to say most people would have a hard time placing it on a map, the fact is that Suriname has a long history that stretches back as far as 3000 BC.
Before colonization by the Dutch, several indigenous tribes, many of which still maintain a traditional lifestyle, inhabited Suriname. Europeans first came to the region in the early 17th century. English settlers from nearby Barbados made the initial attempts to found a colony. In 1667, Dutch ships invaded, leading to a long period of tension between the two countries.
The signing of the Treaty of Westminster led to a truce in 1674. As a result of this, the Dutch were granted Suriname while the English would continue to occupy New Amsterdam. New Amsterdam, of course, became New York City and while today this agreement looks like a lopsided deal, for a long time Suriname remained a lucrative source of Dutch coffee, cocoa, sugarcane and cotton.
The abolition of slavery in 1863 led to an influx of laborers from British India and the Dutch East Indies, creating the multiethnic mix that inhabits the country today. Suriname — alternately known as Surinam and Dutch Guyana — gained autonomy in 1954, and full independence in 1975. Today, it remains relatively stable, though political corruption is endemic and petty crime is commonplace. Much of the population is clustered near the capital Paramaribo, and a significant portion of the country's interior rainforest is set aside as a nature preserve.
Suriname’s Postal History
Dutch authorities in Suriname began issuing stamps in 1873. Designs were similar to those used in other colonial territories at the time, though some were printed locally. Following autonomy, the new country began producing its own stamps, a mix between definitives and attractive pictorial issues aimed at the collectors' market.
Unsurprisingly, collecting rare Suriname stamps is a niche hobby. However, if you have any interest in Dutch colonial history, or in South American philately in general, the country rewards diligent collectors with a variety of attractive stamps that are often relatively inexpensive to purchase. Early colonial issues are among the rarest Suriname stamps, and the hardest to find at auction.
Starting Your Collection
If you’re looking to add to a collection of stamps from Suriname, Apfelbaum, Inc. can help. We routinely have hard-to-find issues available in our online store and Buy It Now sales. We also provide appraisals and other consulting services for anyone looking to sell their collection. For more information, contact our office directly.