Postage stamps and postal history of Indonesia

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A 1957 mint stamp of Indonesia.

This is a survey of the postage stamps and postal history of Indonesia.

Indonesia is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia comprises 17,508 islands. With a population of around 230 million people, it is the world's fourth most populous country. The country shares land borders with Papua New Guinea, East Timor, and Malaysia. Other neighboring countries include Singapore, Philippines, Australia, and the Indian territory of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

First stamps[edit]

The History Indonesia Post Administration formally established on 27 September 1945, but the history of Indonesian Stamps was started from 1 April 1864, when the first Dutch East Indies stamp was release. In general, the history of Indonesian Stamp divided in five big periods, which are:

  • The Dutch East Indies
  • The Japanese Occupation
  • The War of Independence
  • The Beginning of Independence
  • The New Order and Present

The Dutch East Indies The first postage stamp in the Dutch East Indies was printed in Utrecht Netherlands, on 1 April 1864. The stamp design showed a picture of King Willem III of Netherlands with a face value of ten cents in imperforation, design by T W Kaiser of Netherlands. Continued between 1864 and 1920, stamp designs only showed picture of the King and Queen of Netherlands, some were showed in typographic design. In 1921, a stamp appeared in different look. This stamp series is known as the ‘Brandkast’ series and was specially printed to serve as additional postages for sending sea mail in waterproof iron chests. Stamps issued in later years more often began to show the culture and geography of archipelago. During the Dutch East Indies period, the stamps were printed in Netherlands by the firm of Joh. Enschede & Zoner of Haarlem, some printing was done in Batavia (Jakarta) by Reproductieharfy van Topografiche Dienst. The stamps mostly printed in single or two colors.

The Japanese Occupation The Japanese Military Government, under the pressing circumstance of war, could not immediately issue new stamps. The fastest solution was to overprint the many remaining Dutch Colonial Stamps. Definitive stamps began to be issued in 1943, showed a traditional houses, dancer, temple, and view of rice field. Some were designed by Dick Ruhl, some also were designed by Basuki Abdullah one of Indonesia’s most famous painter.

The War of Independence As had happened before, therefore, Dutch East Indies stamps and stamps from the Japanese Occupation still stored in headquarter of Past Telegraph and Telephone (PTT) and in other post offices elsewhere. The Stamps continued to be used after being overprint with words like "Repoeblik Indonesia", "Rep. Indonesia", "Rep. Indonesia PTT", "NRI" and "RI". The first stamp released by the Indonesia Post Administration, after the Proclamation on Indonesia’s Independence on 17 August 1945, were issued on 1 December 1946. Showed a furious bull, a bull and Indonesian flag, to commemorate a half-year of Independence. Printed in Yogyakarta with single color and two colors, printed in a simple printing technique. Most of Indonesian stamp in this period were printed and overprinted in Jakarta, Bandung, Yogyakarta, Pematangsiantar, Padang, Palembang and Aceh. The strong wish of Dutch to re-colonize Indonesia that had not yet been lost. After the failure of their military action they continued to harass independent Indonesia. Indonesia, at this time, tried to seek international support and recognition. One such effort got underway in 1948 with the printing of stamps of Revolutionary series by the Staats Druckerei, or State Printer, in Vienna, Austria and by the American E. W. Wright Banknote Co. of Philadelphia, printed using Photoengraving method and steel engraving method.

The beginning of Indonesia’s Independence Period In 1954, the first modern printer named "Pertjetakan Kebajoran" was opened, this moment was the starting of in-county stamp printing process. The local designer appeared, such as Amat bin Djupri, Kurnia & Kok, Junalies etc.). At this period, the government ordered the stamp design and production to Pertjetakan Kebajoran, then PTT has a duty to distributed the stamps to every post office in hole county.

The New Order & Present Period As the time drew near for the government to announce its First Five Years Plan, the government issued a relatively large number of stamps with many different themes. The general themes for stamps issued under New Order have drawn from national growth and development as related to social activities, art, culture and tourism. These themes can be organized into the following classifications:

  1. Agriculture
  2. Industry
  3. Transportation and Communication
  4. Trade, Cooperative and Business
  5. Worker and Human Rights
  6. Population and Family Planning
  7. Social Welfare
  8. Women, Children and Public Health
  9. Young Generation and Sports
  10. Education and Information
  11. Culture and Tourism
  12. Politics, Law, National Security and Foreign Relations
  13. Rural Development and Environment
  14. Science and Technology
  15. Religion

This history point out that stamp, which first begins as proof of payment of postage costs, eventually began to perform a variety of mission and functions. Later, stamps printed in PERURI (The Indonesian Government Security Printing and Mint Corp.) a merger of two state companies, PN Pertjetakan Kebajoran and PN Artha Djaja (The State Mint).

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