Left: The Lebeau pigeon. Right: Jan van Krimpen's guilloche pattern printed over the Lebeau.

Left: The Lebeau Flying Dove (1924). Right: Jan van Krimpen’s guilloche pattern over the Lebeau (1940).

No. 1. Guilloche Numbers
Published on October 1, 1940. 154,700 stamps issued. 26 × 22 mm. Original green 3-cent printing designed by Chris Lebeau, released on September 6, 1924. Guilloche pattern and figures in black designed by Jan van Krimpen. Photogravure (black) over offset lithography (green) by Joh. Enschedé en Zonen.

Commentary: The Netherlands was invaded by Germany on May 10, 1940. That summer all Dutch stamps were withdrawn from circulation, and the use of stamps with the portrait of Queen Wilhelmina was prohibited. The Germans had proofed remnant royal stamps overprinted with Deutsche Besetzung (German Occupation) in a messy blackletter, but it was decided that the occupied Dutch citizens might not appreciate having the face of their exiled ruler so marred. The more neutral Lebeau pigeons, which had originally been issued in 1924, were selected in the royals’ stead. Designed by the artist Chris Lebeau to reference carrier pigeons, the stamps came to be referred to as Flying Doves. Millions of these doves were available to the Germans, and they were overprinted with guilloche patterns and figures designed by Jan van Krimpen in eighteen denominations ranging from to 500 cents. This was a handsome solution to an unfortunate problem (the Germans), but the Dutch public was wildly unhappy with these stamps, as the design reminded them that they, too, were behind bars like caged birds. In the first half of 1941, the doves were brought back—without Van Krimpen’s pattern and figures.

Although Van Krimpen contributed to this philatelic reminder of German occupation, the Dutch liberation stamp designed by C. A. Mechelse was issued on July 15, 1945, with Van Krimpen lettering. Of the approximately 424 stamps on which he worked, however, the 100-cent Guilloche would be Jan van Krimpen’s only 100-cent postage stamp.* The Dutch have long memories.

*In all fairness, it was the only 100-cent Dutch stamp issued during his life.

Postscript: This checklist originally appeared in A Checklist of the 100-cent Postage Stamps Designed by Jan van Krimpen published in honor of Rocky Stinehour’s 90th birthday in 2015. Alas, that title is now out of print.