Milestones in the coinage of Suriname

Started by eurocoin, November 25, 2015, 03:58:21 PM

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Coat of Arms of Suriname.jpg Map of Suriname.jpg Flag of Suriname.jpg 

From Wikipedia: Suriname is a sovereign state on the northeastern Atlantic coast of South America.  It is bordered by French Guiana to the east, Guyana to the west and Brazil to the south. In the 17th century sailors from the province of Zeeland overran an English coastal fortress and renamed it Fort Zelandia. The Treaty of Breda (1667) stipulated that both parties would keep territories conquered. Zeeland inter alia acquired Suriname. Zeeland sold the colony to the Geoctroyeerde Sociëteit van Suriname, a joint venture of the West India Company, the city of Amsterdam and Cornelis van Aerssen, lord of Sommelsdijk, in 1682. After the Napoleonic wars, Britain took Essequibo, Demarara and Berbice and eventually united these three areas into British Guiana, now Guyana. Only at that point (1816) did the territory become a Dutch colony. In 1954 it became one of the constituent countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. On 25 November 1975, Suriname left the Kingdom of the Netherlands to become independent. The official language of Suriname is Dutch. Suriname has a population of 573,311 inhabitants.


The coinage history of Suriname starts in 1679, 5 years after the Treaty of Westminster was established between the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The first coins depicted a parrot on the obverse which is thought to be a symbol for Johannes Heinsius, the first Governor of Suriname, who is said to have kept parrots. While most of the coins are uniface, some coins depict an ornamental tree on the reverse. There were 3 denominations, 1, 2 and 4 duit.  These denominations were also reflected in the number of leaves on the branch on which the parrot is sitting. The coins were banned by the homeland whose policy it was that colonial coins should be minted at homeland mints. Due to the lack of coins, Van Aertsen circulated them anyway though with denominations in duiten rather than in pounds of sugar.

Suriname 2 duit 1679.jpg Suriname 4 duit 1679.jpg Suriname duit coinage 1679 obverse.webp   


In 1764 Suriname issued a new 1 duit coin which showed a cacao tree on the obverse while the reverse depicted the name of the country "Society of Suriname". The Society of Suriname was a Dutch company which earned from the cacao plantations in Suriname.

Society of Suriname 1 duit 1764.jpg


In the meantime Suriname used the Dutch guilder coins and notes as their currency. During the Second World War 10 and 25 cent coins were issued with a palm tree mark (Palm tree mark.jpg), these coins were especially minted for use in Suriname and Curaçao. Besides the mark, the coins were identical to the Dutch 10 and 25 cent coins that were in use at the time. These coins were minted at the United States Mint in Philadelphia (mintmark P).

The Netherlands 25 cents 1941 reverse.jpg


Almost 200 years later, in 1957, 1 cent coins were minted for use in Suriname. The coins depicted the previous design of the 1 cent coin that was used on Dutch coins until 1942. After World War II the Netherlands introduced a new series of coins. The old coins were withdrawn from circulation. While the previous Dutch coins were still legal tender in Suriname, Royal Dutch Mint kept a large stock of pre-war Dutch coins for use in Suriname. In 1957 there were no more 1 cent coins in stock so new coins had to be minted. The obverse depicts a standing lion holding a sword. The reverse depicts the denomination with orange branches around it. The  coins were minted at the Royal Dutch Mint and the designs were made by the Dutch designer Johannes Cornelis Wienecke. These 1 cent coins were minted until 1961.

The Netherlands 1 cent 1960 reverse.jpg The Netherlands 1 cent 1960 obverse.jpg


In 1962, Suriname for the first time issued a series of coins. Again the coins were minted at the Royal Dutch Mint. The designer of these coins was the Dutch sculptor Joop Hekman.

The 1,10 and 25 cent coins depict the coat of arms of Suriname with the name of the country below, encircled by a wreath of the leaves of the red palulu flower (Heliconia Bihai) on the obverse while the reverse features the denomination which divides the date, encircled by various motifs which refer to the wood carving art of the Surinamese Maroons.

Suriname 1 cent 1962.jpg

Suriname 10 cent 1962.jpg

Suriname 25 cent 1962.jpg   

The 5 cent coin depicts an encircled coat of arms of Suriname with bows in the corners on the obverse while the reverse depicts the denomination which divides the date, encircled by various motifs which refer to the wood carving art of the Surinamese Maroons.

Suriname 5 cent 1962.jpg

The obverse of the 1 guilder coin depicts an effigy of queen Beatrix facing right while the reverse features the coat of arms which divides the denomination with the name of the country below and the date above. The edge lettering of the coin is "JUSTITIA PIETAS FIDES" (Justice, Piety, Fidelity) which is the motto of Suriname.

Suriname 1 guilder 1966.jpg

Of the series of coins dated 1962 were also made 650 trial strikes with an s-mark which refered to the Minister of Finance at the time, Jules Sedney.


On 25 November 1975, Suriname left the Kingdom of the Netherlands and became a fully independent country. Suriname changed from a monarchy to a republic.

In 1976 the series of circulating coins of Suriname was revised. The new coins were lighter and smaller. They were minted at the Royal Dutch Mint.


In 1987 the alloy of the coins was changed again. Also 100 and 250 cent coins were introduced. The use of 100 and 250 cent on the coins is unusual as previously always 1 and 2.5 guilder had been used.  The new series was minted at the British Royal Mint. The designer of the 100 and 250 cents coins is Robert Elderton. Like the other coins in the series, the two new denominations depict motifs which refer to the woodcutting art of the Surinamese Maroons.

Suriname 100 cent 1989.jpg

Suriname 250 cent 1989.jpg 


In 2004, Suriname introduced a new currency, the Surinamese Dollar, which replaced the Surinamese Guilder. This new currency was, like the Surinamese Guilder, also divided into 100 cents. Although the Surinamese Dollar is worth 1000 times more that the Surinamese Guilder, the Central Bank of Suriname decided that the coins of the Surinamese Guilder would remain legal tender as coins of the Surinamese Dollar in order to save minting costs. Although the series of coins of the Surinamese Guilder suddenly became worth 1000 times more, the value of the coins was still negligible. As the 1 and 2,5 guilder coins were already inscribed as 100 and 250 cent since 1989, there was no need to change the designs of these coins.


In 2012 Suriname launched a silver 10 dollars bullion coin, that same year also a 100 dollars gold coin was launched. Furthermore a coin bar was released with a face value of 80 dollars (to avoid taxes in Germany). The two normal coins were issued with year 2012 and 2013, there exists a variant of the 2013 10 dollars coin with an LS mark which refers to Liberty Silver Estonia, these coins were especially minted for this bullion dealer. There also exist variants with and without mintmark. These coins were all minted at the European Central Mint in Amsterdam. The 100 dollars gold coin shown below was designed by the Italian designer Fabrizio Annovi. The obverse of the bullion coins shows the coat of arms while the reverse depicts a map of the country. The issuance of the bullion was stopped as the ECM didn't follow the agreements with the Central Bank of Suriname.

Suriname 10 dollar 2012 bullion.jpg

Suriname 100 dollar 2012 bullion.jpg 


Future: Royal Dutch Mint will no longer mint the coins of Suriname, these will now be minted at The Royal Mint.


My special thanks to <k> for his support, advice and help. Also my thanks to Peter for pointing out several mistakes.

To be continued.