Antigua and Barbuda, a small nation consisting of the two islands bearing the same names, has a combined area of around 170 square miles and a population of around 80,000. The country’s economy is centered primarily on tourism as American and European tourists find the beautiful beaches in tropical setting an ideal getaway. The tourism industry is chiefly responsible for the country’s respectable GDP of well over $10K and fine showing in other areas including literacy and health. Of the two islands Antigua is fully commercialized with 365 beaches and accounts for more than 95% of the population. To the contrary, Barbuda is undeveloped with only around 1500 people inhabiting approximately 60 square miles.
Antigua and Barbuda is nicknamed ‘Land of 365 Beaches’ and the twin-island nation’s economy is heavily dependent on tourism. Nelson’s Dockyard and the capital city of St. Johns are the most popular tourist destinations. Antigua and Barbuda are considered to be in season from November through April, when it's colder in North America and Europe. The sailing week in April and the carnival time in July and August are crowd pullers.
|Resource||ISBN or ASIN||Best Price||Description|
|Antigua and Barbuda Island Guide||978-0615218373||$14||Written by a former Peace Corps volunteer who lived, researched, and wrote the book. It is a good source for detailed maps, directions, accommodations, and food that can fit your budget.|
|Antigua and Barbuda Map by International Travel Maps||978-1553411291||$11||1:35,000 scale. Distances in kilometers and miles. Shows airports, bus stations, points of interest, accommodations, beaches, reefs, golf courses, etc.|
|Antigua Barbuda Grounded Adapter Kit – GUA and GUD||B001FD7BY4||$15|
Antigua was one of the presidencies of the British Leeward Island colony with its own stamp issues. The first stamp issued in 1862 was a colonial Queen Victoria keytype design with Antigua inscribed at the top and the denomination at the bottom. This single-color design continued through 1879. The eleven stamps with this design are all valuable with catalog values well over $100. Among these, certain color varieties and imperforate pairs are especially valuable and catalog in the thousands and the most valuable being the 6p Blue-Green (Scott #7) watermarked version of 1872 that catalog for over $500 for MNH. Varieties also exist and the 6p yellow-green variety (Scott #4) is highly prized mostly for its rarity at over $3500 dollars for MNH.
Antigua stopped issuing stamps in 1890 and from 1890 to 1903 stamps of Leeward Islands were used instead. Significant design shift occurred with the 1903 issues of the ‘Seal of the Colony’ in two-color designs. The same designs along with a KGV design in double-colors continued till 1915. The most valuable stamps during this period include the ‘2sh violet and green Seal of the Colony’ design type and the ‘5sh violet and green KGV’ design type which both catalog for around $100 MNH.
The St. John’s Harbor design of 1921 was the first design with an Antiguan theme. Stamps of the same design continued till 1929 in three different sets. The most valuable among them is the set consisting of Scott #58 to #64 in chalky paper (wmk 3) that catalog for well over $300 MNH and over $550 used – Scott #64, the “one-pound violet and black, red” design is the most valuable individual stamp in the set at $250 MNH and over $350 Used. This was followed in 1932 by a set of ten stamps in four different designs issued to mark the tercentenary of the colony. The set is very collectible and catalog for over $200 MNH and over $300 Used for the complete set. A sister-set of twelve stamps issued in 1938 (Scott #84 to #95 that catalog for around $100 for either MNH or Used) along with several common-design types comprised the bulk of stamp issues till 1966.
Antigua became an associated state of the United Kingdom in 1967. A set of four stamps in three different designs to mark the event was issued in February 1967. The designs comprised of independence themes such as the flag, map, the premier’s office building, and the spiny lobster. The set (Scott #186 to #189) is common and catalog for less than a dollar for either MNH or used. Nevertheless, the colorful design marked the beginning of stamps with beautiful designs in multi-colors covering a large variety of local and international themes. Such stamps, although not especially valuable are still part of many collections, as they present really well.
Antigua gained independence on November 1, 1981. Stamps from this point onwards have the inscription ‘Antigua & Bermuda’ instead of just ‘Antigua’. A set of four stamps (Scott #633 to #636 and a souvenir sheet - #636) with different designs were issued to mark the event. The designs were
- Prime Minister Vere Cornwall Bird, and
- St. John’s Cathedral.
- The Donald Duck Set of nine stamps and two souvenir sheets issued in 1984 (Scott #808 to #818). The beautiful set including the souvenir sheets catalog for under $20 for either MNH or Used, and
- The Entertainer’s set (Scott #1040 to #1047) of eight stamps issued in 1987 featuring Grace Kelly, Marilyn Monroe, Orson Welles, Judy Garland, John Lennon, Rock Hudson, John Wayne, and Elvis Presley. The set catalogs for around $25 MNH and $10 Used.
The first coins of Antigua were Farthing denominated copper coins issued in 1850. Five die varieties and certain countermarked varieties exist. The issue catalogs for around $325 for the Proof and for around $20 for Fine. Prior to this, Spanish silver coinage and French colonial Black Dogs were used. Antigua used coins of the British Caribbean Territories from 1955. Between 1970 and 1982, British Administration era issues with Antigua and Antigua and Barbuda inscriptions were used until they were augmented in 1981 by Eastern Carribbean States issues. These issued hold good numismatic interest and are valued high. Other numismatic items of Antigua and Barbuda include:
|Coins||$10 and up||Proof varieties of the first issue with the helmeted arms with supporters obverse design in copper-nickel go for around $40 while VF condition can be had for as low as $10. 1836 Farthings, 1988 Bird 4 oz Silver Proofs, 1985 $10 QE Visit proofs etc go well into the 100s.|
|Paper Money||$10 and up||Eastern Caribbean $5 banknotes (UNC) start around $10. 23kt gold notes start around $20 with the 1988 gold foil note in folder going for as high as $100.|
Straw goods, batik, printed cotton and silk made by local artisans are good souvenirs.
Last Updated: 12/2015.