Angola - Travel/Philately/Numismatics/Memorabilia Profile

In South Western Africa bordered by Namibia, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, and the Atlantic Ocean lies Angola. It has an exclave in Cabinda that is bordered by the two Congos. A stretch 60 kilometers wide which is part of the Democratic Republic of Congo separates Cabinda province from the main country. Until its independence in 1975, for 400 years Angola was under the Portuguese rule. Despite its abundant oil reserve and diamond finds, the life expectancy is around 40 and literacy is below 70%, as until recently the civil war had left the economy in shambles.

Travel Resources:

Angola has a tropical climate with a dry season that runs from June through September. The dry season is preferred over the rainy season, which can lead to flooding. That said, some parts of Angola have year–round pleasant climate. Tourism is picking up in Angola and the tourist can experience traditional tribal culture and an opportunity to view animal life in a backdrop of mountains, jungles and rivers. While Angolan cuisine has a strong Portuguese influence most local dishes are mainly based on fish and cassava products. Chilly is used heavily and be warned the stews are very spicy.


ResourceISBN or ASINBest PriceDescription
Angola – Bradt Travel Guide978-1841623047$20Good coverage of Luand, the capital city, the country’s eighteen provinces, beaches, and rain forests.
Another Day of Life by Ryszard Kapuscinski978-0375726293$11Author’s account of the three months he spent in Angola in 1975 at the beginning of the civil war following independence. The same status would continue for two decades causing untold devastation.
Angloa: Promises and Lies by Karl Maier978-1897959527$13The book depicts the author’s encounters in the country over a period of several years starting around 1986.
Angola Map by Cartographia978-9633529355$7
Angola Grounded Adapter PlugB001FDA6V4$8


Philatelic Profile:

The first stamps of Angola were issued in 1870 when the country’s postal administration was part of the Portuguese mail service. They depict the Portuguese crown in single color with Angola inscribed using Common Design production. A set of ten stamps with this design were the only ones used till 1877 and significant amount has survived in very good condition. The catalog value for the set of ten stamps is in the $350 range for MNH and $250 for Used. Scott #5a and #6 (40r blue and 50r green) are the most valuable in the set with a CV of $250 and $50 respectively for MNH and Used. In 1881, a new set of stamps depicting Luís I in an embossed design appeared in a set of 9 stamps. Each stamp in the set catalogs between $5 and $50 with used ones cataloging for about one-third MNH. The entire set catalogs for around $250 MNH and $80 Used. The same designs along with a King Carlos design and several Common Designs (Ceres, Vasco de Gama, etc) and overprints formed the issues between 1881 and 1945. Many of these stamps catalog in the tens of dollars, but as fakes abound for overprints, collectors need to exercise caution. Couple of stamp issues worth additional mention during this period are:
  1. The 1894 overprints (Scott #37) of a newspaper stamp of 1893 with a vertical inscription of “Angola” and a blue surcharge overprint (25r). This stamp catalogs for around $80 MNH and around $60 used.
  2. The “Marble Column and Portuguese Arms” set of three stamps (Scott #292 to #294) issued in 1938 that catalogs for close to $100 MNH and one-third that for used.
Angola hosted its first philatelic exhibition in April 1950 and a set of stamps were issued to commemorate the eightieth anniversary of Angola’s first stamps. Surprisingly, the set (Scott #328 to #330) catalogs economically at under $10 for MNH. A souvenir sheet also was released with a special oval exhibition cancellation. The sheet catalogs for around $30 and has a minor error as the middle stamp is inverted in the sheet. The years 1951 and 1953 saw Angola issuing two large sets of stamps, the birds set and the animals set. The higher denominations of the birds set (Scott #333 to #356) are valued upwards of $50 – the whole set catalogs for almost $600 MNH – used sets catalog for a much lower value (around $70). The shorter animal set (Scott #362 to #381) is much more affordable (less than $50 MNH and around $10 used) as the denominations go only to 20a while the birds set go to 50a.

Angola’s stamps from the 1950’s are remarkable for their beautiful colors and designs. Catalog Values for many of these stamps are low making it easily affordable. As interest level is low for stamps from Angola, many dealers opt for fixed pricing instead of an auction format. Patience can prove to be a virtue as occasionally good deals are seen at auctions. Some collectible sets worth acquiring, in spite of their low catalog valuations include:
  1. The arms in original colors set of 1963 (Scott #448 to #488). The whole set catalogs for under $50 for MNH and around $35 for Used. Fixed pricing can at auction can sometimes exceed these values.
  2. The beautiful sea shells set of 1974 (Scott #573 to #592). The whole set catalogs for around $25 MNH and about $10 Used. Fixed pricing at auction can approach this valuation.
Surprisingly, only one stamp was issued to mark Angola’s independence from Portugal in 1975. The design is that of a yellow star and a black hand holding a rifle. The stamp can be easily acquired as it catalogs at just 20c for either MNH or used. Angola issued a set of five stamps for the first anniversary of independence with a design of President Agostinho Neto. These stamps along with other independence anniversary issues from the following years catalog for well under $5 and can be easily acquired. A set of five earlier designs (Scott Numbers: 393, 588, 589, 592, and 438) overprinted with bar over inscriptions stating Portuguese republic issued in 1976 and 1977 have a slight premium at around $10 (Scott #604 to #608).

Numismatic Profile:

The first coins of Angola were Portuguese Colonial issues from 1921 onwards with the values denominated in Centavos in Obverse and Arms in Reverse along with the date and ‘Angola’ inscription. Prior to this, colonial coins in the Macuta (50 Reis = 1 Macuta) denomination and certain Arms counter-marked coins dominated the scene during the 19th century. The bronze and copper-nickel coins from the colonial era had high mintages well into the millions. Republic era coinage started following independence in 1975 with Lwei and Kwanza (100 Lwei = 1 Kwanza) denominations. Many of the early issues have unknown but high mintages and are extremely affordable trading in the $2 range for UNC. Other numismatic items of Angola include:


ItemPrice RangeDescription
Coins$1 and upCommon 40s and 50s Centavos denominated coins in Almost Good Condition start around $1. UNC coins from the period start around $5. Scarce and certified coins from the 20s and prior dates start around $40.
Paper Money$2 and upBanknotes from the 90s denominated at 1000 Kwanzas and above in near UNC condition start around $2. Older and UNC notes start around $10. Specimens from the 70s and prior dates start around $50.


Collectible Memorabilia:

Locally made wooden masks and traditional music instruments from rosewood, ebony, malachite, bronze and pottery are good takeaways from the place.


ResourcePrice RangeDescription
Chokwe Masks and Artifacts$30 and UpMasks of the Chokwe people. The ones in the market are mostly their entertainment masks compared to chieftain masks and mukanda masks. Best know among entertainment masks are Chihongo, spirit of wealth, and pwo.
Badges and other Military Articles$20 and UpBadges from Cabinda and from mercenary militias usually fetch a premium
Postcards and other Imagery$1 and UpOriginal photographs from early twentieth century showing local scenes and or the native peoples (usually scantily dressed) fetch a sizable premium.


Last Updated: 12/2015.

1 comment :

Pablo (yo) said...

From 1894 to 1920, Cabinda issued its own stamps, under the name of Portuguese Congo

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