Dutch Colonial and Marine bagseals

Recently I came into contact with Jaime Rub who owns a number of lead seals, which are very similar to Dutch customs seals, but are not quite the same. He indicated that these come from Indonesia (Palembang, Sumatra and Gresik, Java). These places in Indonesia have been part of the Dutch East Indies. It is not surprising that Dutch seals from the colonial period were found there.


What you will find below is a work document about the seals of the Dutch Marine and Colonies services. These departments were sometimes joint and sometimes individually responsible for collecting taxes in the colonies.


First some history.

Flag ministry of Marine

The Fleet of the state was the fleet of warships at the time of the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands (1588-1795). The ships were supplied by the five regional admiralties, which meant that there was a high regional influence. The admiralty ensured safe passage to and from the Dutch colonies and they were entitled to collect import and export duties. The crossed anchors symbolized the admiralty.


After the Batavian and French period (1795-1813) a naval force was needed again. The Department of the Navy was established and existed from 1815 to 1825, from 1843 to 1928 and from 1941 to 1959 and had two crossed anchors in its flag. In the period between 1825 and 1843 there was a ministry that was also responsible for the overseas territories, the Ministry of the Navy and Colonies.

After the defeat of the French in 1813, a Department of Commerce and Colonial Affairs was established in 1814. Until 1842, with the exception of the period between 1834 and 1840, the department of Colonies were continuously united with other departments: successively as Commerce and Colonies (1814 – 1818), Education, National Industry and Colonies (1818 – 1824), National Industry and Colonies (1824 – 1825), Navy and Colonies (1825 – 1829), Water Management, National Industry and Colonies (1830 – 1831), National Industry and Colonies (1831 – 1834), Colonies (independent Ministry, 1834 – 1840), Navy and Colonies (1840 – 1841). From 1842 Colonies became an independent ministry.


Here are the until now known seals of the services/departments of Colonies and Navy.


Shape: drop (druppel)
Dating: ca 1795-1800
Known seals: 1








This is so far the oldest teardrop shaped seal and probably the basis seal of all export and internal goods flows between the Netherlands and the colonies. Because it is for the first time a teardrop shape and this kind of seal was (most likely) not used by the VOC before, I assume that it was issued during the Batavian republic 1795-1800 when the VOC was nationalized.

The VOC logo is clearly visible on the front. After all, the national coat of arms did not yet exist and the VOC was a (formerly) private trade organization and not a (state) war power like the admiralty was.

Amsterdam is on the reverse. This refers to the head office, the VOC chamber in Amsterdam. There also seems to be a 6 on it and a small star. That could refer to the 6 chambers of the VOC.


Shape: rond, 25mm
Dating: ca 1795
Found: Nederland, area Hilversum
Seals known: 2
Picture is the seal found by William Koskamp

This lead was recently found and has crossed anchors (negative imprint) on both sides as used by the Admiralty until 1795 and later in 1815 by the Ministry of the Navy. Because it has no coat of arms, it will probably have been used by the admiralty before 1795. Even during the turbulent Batavian times (1795-1806), old symbols were sometimes used, so lead could have been used even then.





Shape: drop
Dating: ca 1815-1845
Found in: Nederlands and Indonesië
Copies known: 6

Due to all the similarities with Dutch customs seals, I assume that this is a seal that was used by the Ministry of the Navy. This is a customs seal with the longer coat of arms including a cross on the crown (used until ca 1845). On the reverse are crossed anchors in a circle. The circle itself is made with a thicker line.

In the early days of the kingdom there were many reforms going on in the field of the tax system, so the crossed anchors may have been used again for recognisability. This type of seal will be introduced around 1815, because that’s when the Dutch coat of arms was also introduced. Around 1845 a shorter national coat of arms was used.








Jos Hagens, bagseal.org
Jos Hagens, bagseal.org












In the Dutch tax and customs museum there is a seal pliers in the collection that has this stamp with the national coat of arms and crossed anchors.

Iron seal pliers which are pressed apart with a spring on the inside. The number 6 stamped on the top handle. The templates for the imprint of the lead have two crossed anchors on one side and the national coat of arms (with king’s crown) without shield holders on the other side. Pressed into the end of a handle, A. Kranius, Amsterdam, between which a shield above a laurel branch, in which a bird (crane).


At the Dutch PAN (Portable Aniquities Scheme) there are also two seals registered of this type. PAN-reference 1 PAN-reference 2


Shape: drop
Dating: ca 1842-1861
Found in: Nederlands
Copies known: 1

Lead of the Colonial Department.

On the front “departement van kolo” and on the reverse the shorter national coat of arms

This department actually has two periods that is was called “departement van Koloniën”.  From January 1, 1834 to August 10, 1840, the Department of Colonies existed, which then again became the Department of Marines and Colonies. From January 1, 1842, there was again talk of the Department of Colonies. It ceased to exist in 1861.

Because this seal carries the shorter national coat of arms (from ca 1845) you can assign this lead to the second period that this department existed: 1842-1861







Type 3G

Shape: round
Dating: ca 1818-1832
Found in: Indonesië
Known copies: 1

3-guilder-piece National coat of arms
3-guilder-piece William I

Round lead seal with the striking text “3 G”. Because this seal is round and equipped with the larger national coat of arms, it has many similarities with early customs seals. Round customs seals were used in the Netherlands until about 1845.

The text “3 G” immediately reminds one of a coin that was used at the time, the three guilder piece. This coin was minted during the Dutch Republic, but also during the reign of William I. The dating of a round customs seals (1816-1845) in combination with the circulation period of the three guilder piece (1818-1832) suggests that this lead was used. between ca 1818-1832. This is therefore the provisional date that I give it.







Type BAG

Shape: round
Dating: ca1845-1940
Found in: Indonesië
Known copies: 1

The front of this seak appears to have the text “BAG” / “I”

On the reverse the national coat of arms is placed between the letters “R” and “A” which means “duties and excise”. This side of this type has a lot in common with the customs seal R-WAPEN-A that was (probably) used for import in the period 1845-1940. Perhaps this seal was the version that was used for import to the colonies in the same period (1845-1940).


Douanelood R-WAPEN-A








Type MIB

shape: eggshape
Dating: 1845-1940
Found in: Indonesia
Copies known: 1

On the front “MIB”

On the backside the Dutch coat of arms


picture seal by Jaime Rub











Type SA

shape: round
Dating: 1845-1940
Found: Indonesia
seals known: 1

On the front “SA”

On the backside the Dutch coat of arms


picture seal by Jaime Rub












Shape: round
Dating: ca 1840-1845
Found in: Indonesië
Known copies: 1

This seal again has many similarities with the customs seals of the NO-R&A and R&A types. However, since this lead bears the larger (longer) national coat of arms and is also round, it has the most similarities with NO-R&A, a customs seal that was used in ca 1840-1845. I therefore work with a comparable date for this type of lead seal.

What is striking is that the word “No” is missing, the font is larger, the border is missing, the weapon is too large for the surface and the perfect round shape.









Shape: roundish
Dating: 1937-1940
Found in: Indonesië
Known copies: 1

The Eighth Department was established in 1937, when it took over the tasks of Department D (1935 to 1937) under the Commissariat for Indies Affairs. Department D was in charge of crisis affairs and trade policy from 1935. Due to its size, this part of the task was upgraded in 1937 to a department that came under the Ministry of Colonies instead of the Commissariat for Indian Affairs.n
The Eighth Division had tasks concerning:

– the affairs in the Dutch East Indies belonging to the sphere of activity of the Department of Economic Affairs, insofar as these matters relate to foreign trade, commercial policy, quotas and licenses in the Dutch East Indies;

– cultural restrictions, economic cooperation with the mother country, economic shipping affairs, economic information, consular affairs, economic affairs of the League of Nations and participation in exhibitions and fairs. See reference








Shape: round
Size: ca 10mm
Dating 1795-1816
Found in: Nederlands
Known copies: 3

The “discovery” of the PAREL-RIJKSWAPEN type in Indonesia gave a find by Marcel Vos a new perspective. These seals, which were remarkably attached to leather straps, look very much like the PEARL-RIJKSWAPEN type, but have the generality lion instead of the national coat of arms. The text “No” is also used. This lion was already used by the admiralties before 1795, but also in the first year of the Batavian Republic (1795-1796) and during the Batavian Commonwealth (1801-1806). William I used a crowned version of this lion in the period 1814-1816. This puts the date of these seals somewhere in the period 1795-1816














Notes and Request

This article was made available, among other things, by the providing of the seals of Jaime Rub and Marcel Vos. Thank you very much for this!

I realize that the amount of seals available is very low to make a good catalog. I would therefore like to ask everyone who has comparable seals (especially with coat of arms or generality lion) and/or seals from the (former) Dutch colonies to make photos available so I can add them to this document. Mail with photos stating location found and preferably the size can be sent to info@metaaldetecteren.nl.