Aruba Stamps Profile

Aruba is a small island nation in the Caribbean north of Venezuela in the West Indies (Lower Antilles). Its land area totals less than 75 square miles with a population of just over 100,000. The country is flat and has no rivers. The per-capita GDP is over $22,000. Tourism is the main industry as its white sandy beaches and predictable climate through the year attract close to twenty times its permanent population of tourists every year. The majority come from Venezuela and the United States. Aruba was part of the Netherlands Antilles until 1986 when it earned a separate status within the Kingdom of Netherlands.

The first stamps of Aruba were a set of 16 (Scott #1 to #16) depicting local scenes released following independence in 1986. The designs included Traditional House, Lighthouse, Owl, Pre-Colombian bisque pot, and Aloe plant. The whole set catalogs for around $20 MNH and $15 Used. Aruba has released around 300 different stamps and many were issued as CTOs. This makes it fairly easy to accumulate a complete collection of Aruba. eBay also has listings selling the complete collection for a few hundred dollars, although with patience one can accumulate the same collection from a series of auctions for a little less. The second set also released in January 1986 is the Independence Set of four stamps (Scott #18 to #21) in different designs – Map of Aruba, Coat of Arms, National Anthem, and Flag were the themes. This set is also very affordable at less than $10 MNH and less than half that for Used (CTOs).

Tourism is the mainstay of the Aruban economy. As such, Aruba released a couple of stamps in June 1987 in that theme. The set (Scott #27 and #28) show a Beach & Sea and Rock & Cacti designs, representing the unique features of Aruba (dry with white sandy beaches) that make it a major attraction for tourists. Global designs (Environment, Equality, etc) and local flora & fauna dominated the theme for Aruba stamps during the period till 2000. On January 31, 2002, Aruba released a set of three stamps (Scott #212 to #214) with airport themes - the majority of the tourists fly in and so the airports are of major importance. These catalog for around $5 either MNH or Used.

Aruba earned its place in modern world history because of its prominent role in World War II as a major supplier of refined fuel to the allies from its refineries – German U-BOAT 156 attacked the refinery on February 16, 1942 but was unsuccessful in destroying it due to a blunder by the main gunman. A set of three stamps were released on September 9, 2002 (Scott #222 to #224) to mark the sixtieth anniversary of the event. The designs show the U-BOAT attacking the Lago refinery, the aftermath of the attach that show a tanker in flames and a torpedo ashore, and a statue of “Boy” Ecury a freedom fighter against German occupation in Holand during World War II, born in Oranjestad Aruba’s capital city.

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Last Updated: 07/2011.

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