The savings stamps of the Netherlands

English language

Savings stamps were issued by the Board of Labour during the years 1920-1965. During this period 265 different stamps were issued in several printings and with several descriptions. The printing of some stamps are sometimes huge. Everyone who was on the payroll needed a Savings Card which was stored by the employer. Each year you get a new card and the old one was destroyed by the Board of Labour so entire cards are rare.

1- Day and week stamps

The cards were filled by stamps for a day, a week or a so-called block-stamp for 4-; 9- or 13 weeks. UP to 52 or 53 stamps of a week were required in a year and caused printings up to 500 million of the most common value. Despite all that not much were saved because full saving cards were almost always destroyed.

Impression of a savings card
Picture with savings stamps for a day and for a week (right)

2- “Blockstamps” (for several weeks)

Besides the stamps for a day or week there also the so-called blockstamps. Depending the preferences of the employee they were affixed on the cards. When using a blockstamp of 13 weeks it was only necessary to affix one when another 13 week had passed and saved large companies a lot of work.

Examples of blockstamps (4 weeks)

3- Balance stamp and penalty-stamp

Sometimes there were not enough stamps affixed on the card. In that case the Board of Labour was balancing the difference with a “navorderingszegel” (right in picture). There are also stamps to pay costs but I have never seen them yet.

Examples of a balance stamp (right) and a penalty-stamp

Fortunately for us Mr. H.P. Hager was so helpful to send some examples so that we could get a better picture of them. These grey Cost stamps are referring to a disability pension. Here there are some values as examples and an example from a card dated 1920 from a factory worker in Arnheim who had to pay 5 cents costs for a duplicate of his savings card under the disability law.

1919: Cost stamps Disability Insurance perf. 12 ½ or 11 and at right 1937 watermarked W1 and ZD
1920: duplicate savings card under Disability Law with 5 cents costs stamp

The following example shows a complete card used in 1956 with 7 different cancels/stamps.

You will find the following stamps:

  • 1 blokzegel / blockstamp blue for 4 weeks 4
  • 1 blokzegel / blockastamp red for 4 weeks 4
  • 2 blokzegels / 2 blockstamps blue for 13 weeks 26
  • 12 weekzegels / 12 weekly stamps 12
  • 3 rentestempels / 3 savings stamps for 1,2,3 weeks 6

Combined total of 52 weeks.

The savings stamps were affixed by the Board of Labour; the stamps by the employee. The card was valid from September 4th 1955 to September 4th 1956. One year on the card was not always a year on the calendar.

The card described above.

4- Provisional issues

During the period of 1944/45, some of the liberated provinces in the south got provisional issues printed by the firm Gestel & Sons in Eindhoven. Later these stamps were used in the whole country. You may find quite a lot of differences in colour; perforation and size.

Scan with provisional and 2 savings stamps

5- Perfins

Savings stamps also exist with perfins. This was not an unnecessary precaution when you consider the high values to prevent theft. Below you see some of them perfined “R.D.”; an abbreviation for “Rijks Dienst” (State Service). These stamps were used at the department for Margarine, Fat and Oil at the Ministry of Agriculture and Fishing. Perfins on revenues are generally scarse and difficult to find.

Scan perfins “R.D.”

6- Obliterating

The devaluation of stamps (making them invalid) happened in several ways: Firm cancels; date cancels; pen cancellation; bars ans stripes and various combinations of them. The nicest ones are by firm cancels. As an example you will see a fragment of a full card with cancels from the “Hofnar Sigarenfabrieken Valkenswaard” in Valkenswaard.

Fragment of a full card with cancels from the “Hofnar Sigarenfabrieken Valkenswaard” in Valkenswaard

Savings stamps were obliterated after affixing them on the card. This happened in many ways. The stamps were obliterated after affixing and the Board of Labour obliterated them again with barred cancels.

7- Machine cancels
Large companies and institutes also used savings stamps printed by special stamp machines.

Bar-cancels added by the Board of Labour before destroying the cards. A savings card dated 1955 with weekly stamps printed with a Hasler machine.

8- Unlawful use
Sometimes mail is franked with stamps without a postal value. Here you will see the stamped part from a letter send from Almelo to Leiden on June 20th 1963. During December 1st 1964 to Juli 1st 1964 the rate for a letter up to 100 gramms was 24 cents. The savings stamp had no value so Postage Due was 2×24 = 48 cents printed as a blue cancel at the post office of Leiden dated June 21st 1963. A nice philatelic item.

Stamped part from a letter send from Almelo to Leiden on June 20th 1963

9- Finally

Single savings stamps can be found sometimes. Entire cards are more difficult to find. They had to be destroyed and just a few cards remained. The saying for revenues is the same for these stamps: If you keep looking for them, you may find something.

For original version see the Dutch text.

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