Aruba - Travel/Philately/Numismatics/Memorabilia Profile

Aruba is a small island nation in the Caribbean north of Venezuela in the West Indies (Lower Antilles) with a total land area of less than 75 square miles and a population of around 100,000. The per-capita GDP is over $22,000. The country is flat with no rivers. Tourism is the main industry and its white sandy beaches and the year-round predictable climate attract close to twenty times its permanent population of tourists annually. The majority of the tourists come from Venezuela and the United States.

Travel Resources:

Aruba has a tropical climate with a rainy season that runs from November to March and a dry season for the rest of the year. Beaches aside, the Arikok National Park, Guadiriki Caves, Butterfly Farm, Numismatic Museum  and the Aloe Factory are all well worth a visit.


ResourceISBN or ASINBest PriceDescription
Fodor’s In Focus Aruba978-1400008735$10Concise book with practical information for visitors including maps, directions, and information about where to stay and eat.
Laminated Aruba Map by Borch978-3866093423$11Folded laminated road and travel map. Scale – 1:50,000. Legend with sights, museums, etc. Inset map of Antilles, ABC Islands, Beaches, etc.
An Island Away978-0981595900$12Tells the story of a young mother from Colombia who comes to San Nicolaas (a refinery town which is a stark contrast to the touristy beaches most travelers are familiar with) and works as a prostitute.There is also a Kindle Edition.
LodgingNAVariesMany resorts and timeshares offer good deals over the Internet.


Philatelic Profile:

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 has listings selling the complete collection for a few hundred dollars, although with patience one can accumulate the same from a series of auctions for 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 and Sea, and a Rock and 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 and 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.

Numismatic Profile:

Aruba has issued coins since 1986. The initial issues were all Nickel Bonded Steel with high mintage and they catalog for very little. Aruba is famous for its Numismatic Museum with 40,000 coins and paper money from 400 countries. Numismatic items of Aruba include:


ItemPrice RangeDescription
Coins$1 and upUNC coins from the 2000s start around $1. 1992 Royal Visit Proofs and other issues with low mintage start around $10. 50 Florin and 100 Florin Gold coins have very low mintage and catalog for a good premium over bullion value.
Paper Money$10 and upUNC banknotes start around $10. 1986 First Issue UNC notes and other rare date notes go into the $100 range.



Collectible Memorabilia:

Needlework, art and aloe products are by far the best takeaways. However good deals can be obtained on Delft, Dutch cheese, and chocolates.


ResourcePrice RangeDescription
Sea Shells$1 and upExotic varieties can go as high as $100.
Miscellaneous Travel Memorabilia$1 and upSouvenir fridge magnets to hand carved items.



Last Updated: 12/2015.

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