Japanese Invasion Money Part 4: Netherlands (Dutch) East Indies


The Netherlands (or Dutch) East Indies (NEI), now known as Indonesia, were conquered by the Japanese in March 1942. The JIM from this area is the most varied. For this series of JIM the block letter designation is “S”, for Sumatra. There are specimen notes for most of the denominations, but they will be discussed at a later time in a different post. NEI Notes were issued with block letters, block letters with serial numbers and fractional block letters. For an explanation of these numbering systems along with the other common design elements of the JIM series See Japanese Invasion Money Part 1: Introduction & Common Design Elements.

Altogether, there were three series\denominations of notes printed for the NEI. The denominations were Cents, Gulden, and later on when higher denominations were needed the Roepiah notes were printed.

Fractional Issued Netherlands East Indies JIM

In this section Fractional refers to a “fraction” of the full denomination. I.e. a cent is a fraction of 1 dollar. 

The first series fractional notes have “DE JAPANSCHE REGEERING” instead of “THE JAPANESE GOVERNMENT” on the face. The notes also have the denomination spelled out on the face and the numeral denomination repeated on an ornamental design on the face and back. The fractional notes come in one, five and ten cent (this is not a typographical error-it is cent, not cents). They are lithographed and have no watermark. Block letters are black. 

The half gulden note has the addition of a fan palm on the right of the face and the there are varieties with and without a watermark.

Varieties for Japanese Issued Fractional Denominated JIM for Netherlands East Indies (NEI)

Examples of Japanese Issued Fractional (Cents) JIM notes for Netherlands East Indies (NEI)

Gulden Denominated JIM

The second series of notes issued by Japan for the occupation of Sumatra (Netherlands East Indies)  were denominated in Gulden, a Dutch term for “gold coin.”

The gulden denominated notes have an engraved face and lithographed back. The block letters and serial numbers are black. The denominations are 1, 5 and 10 gulden. The face has “DE JAPANSCHE REGEERING”; “BETAALT AAN TOONDER” (pays to bearer) and the denomination both spelled out and as repeated numerals. The back of the 1 and 5 gulden have the numeral repeated on an ornate design. The back of the 10 gulden has the addition of a vignette of a ship on the horizon. All notes have a quatrefoil (flower with four petals) watermark, unless noted otherwise. The 10 Gulden are also the only type which was also printed on woven and and horizontal quadrille paper. To see examples of the quatrefiol watermark and quadrille paper please  refer again to part one of this article series, Japanese Invasion Money Part 1: Introduction & Common Design Elements.

The 5 gulden note has a coconut palm on the left and a pawpaw on the right. The 10 gulden has bananas, breadfruit and coconuts in the center of the face. The 10 Gulden is the only Gulden denominated note which is known to have a variety with block letters followed by a serial number. Block Letters with serial number variety was covered in Part 1 of this series, but you can click here to see what a note with this type of block letter serial number would look like.

Varieties for Japanese Issued Gulden Denominated JIM for Netherlands East Indies (NEI)

Examples of Japanese Issued Gulden JIM notes for Netherlands East Indies (NEI)

Roepiah Denominated JIM

The Japanese determined there was a need for higher denomination notes. At the time, anti-Dutch sentiment was prevalent in the Netherlands East Indies. The Japanese took advantage of this and changed the denomination on these notes to “roepiah” (pronounced roo-pie-uh). They were issued as 1/2, 1, 5, 10 and 100 roepiah. These roepiah notes featured native Indonesian artwork, architecture, and scenery.  All denominations are lithographed on unwatermarked paper; all above the 1/2 roepiah have silk threads in the paper. The block letters of the roepiah-denominated pieces are red. At one time this series was very difficult to locate, but now most notes are available in high grades.

Varieties for Japaneses Issued Roepiah Denominated JIM for Netherlands East Indies (NEI)

Examples of Japanese Issue Roepiah JIM notes for Netherlands East Indies


There are a large number of deceptive replicas of the 1 – 100 roepiah denomination notes. These are slightly larger than the original reopiah notes and have staining on the edges. The staining is identical on all of the notes as it was part of the printing plate. The silk threads are printed on the paper, so they, too, are identical on each note. The ½ reopiah has an ornamental design on the face and back.

NEI JIM Notes were never counterfeited by either the U.S. or Britain like some other notes were. In a summary, dated May of 1944, by the SOE (British Special Operations Executive)  it was suggested that the OSS (U.S. Office of Strategic Services) should pursue the creation of counterfeits citing a March 29th 1944 cable from New Delhi showing NEI guilders as being the current top priority for counterfeit (over Thai, Burmese, and Malay notes). As far as it’s know, all “counterfeits” of NEI JIM notes are postwar products of revolutionary or commercial organizations.

There will be a separate article written at some point in this series that will delve into the known counterfeits and replicas of all JIM notes.


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