Coil stamps, the Netherlands


Dutch coil stamps come in coils of 500, 1,000, 5,000 and 10,000 with regular gum (a) and coils of 50 and 100 with self adhesive stamps (b). (a) The stamps with regular gum used to have perforations on all four sides. As of 1975 the Dutch PTT produced coils with top and bottom perforations only. (b) The self adhesive coil stamps were introduced in 1997.

Use of coils

Coil stamps were dispensed by:
  1. automats for the public (1909 - about 2000): coils of 500 and 1,000.
  2. machines for businesses (since 1911): coils of 500 and 1000 (from 1909 - 1944 often with business/firm perforation), coils of 5,000 and 10,000 thereafter.
  3. Counter coil machines (1965 - about 2001): coils of 500 and 1,000.
  4. Business or private use for larger volumes of mail: coils of 500 and 1,000, presently coils of 50 and 100 of self adhesives in carton dispensers.
Coils from automats for the public:

1 ct coil stamp
(1909 - 1919)
1½ct pair
(1936 - 1940)
7½+2½ct pair
(1940 - 1941)

Printing techniques

Until 1935 coils were manufactured by glueing stamp sheets together with the unprinted edge of the sheet and by cutting them into coils, one stamp wide. This technique also was used to produce the coil stamps with syncopated perforation from 1925 until 1933. In 1935 a rotation press was introduced, which made the production of coil stamps easier and faster

Numbering on the reverse side

Since 1965 a number is printed on the reverse side of every fifth stamp. This is done to easier determine the amount of stamps sold. First letterpress printing was used, since 1986 inkt jet. Up to now 8 types of numbering can be identified. These numbers can be positioned straight, upside down, turned to the left or turned to the right, as in the following pictures.

(1) Crouwel, 10 ct, R1
Type 1 (1965-1977)

(2) Regina, 35ct, K2
Type 2 (1967-1987)

(3) Beatrix, 70 ct, L4
Type 4 (1986-ca 1988)

(4) 75 jr Vierdaagse, R7
Type 7 (1991-ca. 1992)

(5) Beatrix, 160 ct, R7c(A)
Type 7(A)-compact (1991-1999)

(6) Beatrix, 80ct, R8(A)
Type 8(A) (1999-heden)


Initially arabic gum was used, later all kinds of synthetic gum. Since 1997 more often PVAL gum (which dissolves in water) is used or an extra layer of self adhesive synthetic gum on liner paper (which dissolves in petrol). The pictures show self adhesive coil stamps on liner paper with 2- and 3 digit numbering of type 8, without the letter A.

Stamp for business mail, 78 ct

Priority, 110 ct

Christmas season stamp 2000, 60 ct


In 1962 a coating is put on the stamp paper, which shines yellowish under ultraviolet light. This coating ajusts the cancel machines. As of 1972 a white coating is put on the paper before printing the stamp. This coating shines white under ultraviolet light. Since 1977 usually a fosforescent strip is put on the paper, which shines yellowish.

How to recognise stamps from automats

Stamps from Dutch automats for the general public and for stamp franking machines are cut from the coil with a sharp razor. Therefore the perforations are sharply cut, other than similar stamps taken out of a sheet of stamps.


Interesting varieties to collect can be stamps which are miscut by the manufacturer or by the automat, but also misperforations (rare), mis-numbering, mutilated numbers, etc.

How to collect

Coil stamps usually are collected one by one (with or without numbering, mint or cancelled) and/or in strips of five with one numbering or in strips of 6 or 10 with two numberings. They are collected in stockbooks with specially manufactured pages with long vertical or horizontal transparant strips. One may also use the transparant strips, that can be glued to the blank pages in an album.

Stamps for mass ware / "Port Betaald" stamps

Since 2000 these stamps are used on mass ware ('mailings'). This is a peculiar category of stamps, which is produced only in coils of 5,000 and 10,000. Only the ones printed by Enschedé have numberings on the reverse side.

Strip of five Tulip stamps (2000)

Tulip stamp with normal
and upside down numbering

New Issues Service (Nieuwtjesdienst 2)

All new coil stamps and in some cases also varieties can be obtained on a subscription basis with the Postaumaat New Issues Service, usually for the face value +10%.

Literature and catalogue :

R.J.Hammink and P.Portheine, Rolzegels, "Automaatstroken en Automaatzegels Nederland", Special Catalogue, 7th edition, September 1995. This is also a short handbook. The coil stamp issues are catalogued until 1992. The term 'Automaatzegels' (automat stamps) means 'rolzegels uit automaten' (coil stamps from automats). Supplements to the catalogue have been published by H.J.T.Bos in several POSTAUMAAT Bulletins.

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