10 October 2020

From Guilders to Dollars

Saba: From Guilders to Dollars, 10 October 2020. Images from Delcampe.

Technical Specifications:

Issued on: 2020-10-10
Colors: Multicolor
Format: 2 x Mini Sheets
Printing: Offset lithography
Denominations: 16 x 99 United States cents (8 per mini sheet)

10 years ago Dutch Caribbean used Antillean Guilders for the last time as currency. After 2010 they used American dollars. The stamps are showing coins in Antillean currency and American currency.

The Netherlands Antillean guilder is the currency of Curaçao and Sint Maarten, which until 2010 formed the Netherlands Antilles along with Bonaire, Saba, and Sint Eustatius. It is subdivided into 100 cents (Dutch plural form: centen). The guilder was replaced by the United States dollar on 1 January 2011 on Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius. On Curaçao and Sint Maarten, the Netherlands Antillean guilder was proposed to be replaced by a new currency, the Caribbean guilder, but this was stalled indefinitely by negotiations over the establishment of a separate central bank for Curaçao. In November 2020, the Central Bank announced the introduction of the replacement guilder, to be implemented in the first half of 2021.

In the 18th century, the Dutch guilder circulated in the Netherlands Antilles. This was supplemented in 1794 by an issue of coins specific for the Dutch holdings in the West Indies. At this time, the guilder was subdivided into 20 stuiver.

Between 1799 and 1828, the reaal circulated on the islands, with 1 reaal = 6 stuiver or ​3 1⁄3 reaal = 1 guilder. The Dutch guilder was reintroduced in 1828, now subdivided into 100 cents. When currency began once more to be issued specifically for use in the Netherlands Antilles, it was issued in the name of Curaçao, with the first banknotes and coins, denominated in the Dutch currency, introduced in 1892 and 1900, respectively. The name “Netherlands Antilles” (Nederlandse Antillen) was introduced in 1952.

In 1940, following the German occupation of the Netherlands, the link to the Dutch currency was broken, with a peg to the U.S. dollar of 1.88585 guilders = 1 dollar established. The peg was adjusted to 1.79 guilders = 1 dollar in 1971.

In 1986, Aruba gained a status aparte and thereby left the Netherlands Antilles. Shortly after that, Aruba began to issue its own currency, the Aruban florin, which replaced the Netherlands Antillean guilder at par.

In 2011, a year after the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles, Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius switched to the United States dollar, and the Netherlands Antillean guilder ceased to be legal tender in those territories.

Curaçao and Sint Maarten intended to replace the currency, thus they ceased production of the currency, but as of December 2020, these territories still use the Antillean guilder. Since 2018 banknotes and coins now require replacement and there are only two years of the Antilles guilder physical currency remaining. There has been a possibility that the islands could opt for the euro instead or possibly the US dollar.

In November 2019, Curaçao Finance Minister Kenneth Gijsbertha confirmed the introduction of the Caribbean guilder in 2021, and the Central Bank announced a year later.

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