Armenia is a land-locked country in Eastern Europe bordered by Georgia, Azerbaijan, Iran, and Turkey. Its land area totals less than 12,000 square miles with a population of just over three million. In spite of its mostly mountainous terrain it is densely populated. The per-capita GDP is around $5,000. As a Christian dominated country controlled by the Ottoman Empire, Armenia has a bloody history that culminated with the Armenian genocide in 1915-16. After World War I, Russia started its control over Armenia with brief interruptions in the early years. Armenia became an independent country on August 23, 1991 as the first non-Baltic republic to secede.
Armenia has a rich ancient culture being the world’s first Christian nation in 301AD as the Kingdom of Armenia. September through November is the best time to visit the country. The major attractions are the various churches, monasteries, museums, castles, and archaeological sites. The food and travel expenses should not worry even the budget conscious traveler.
|Resource||ISBN or ASIN||Best Price||Description|
|Armenia – The Bradt Travel Guide||978-1841623450||$18||2011 Edition – A balanced mix of practical information to travel in the country along with coverage of the country’s many monasteries and other historical subjects.|
|Armenia: A Historical Atlas||978-0226332284||$170||Expensive but the content is outstanding – Five sections each with a chronological introduction followed by historical maps and detailed content from antiquity to present day.|
|Lonely Planet Georgia, Armenia & Azerbaijan||978-1741044775||$17||Packed with solid information and maps and very good coverage of Armenia.|
|Armenia Grounded Adapter Plug||B001FD7C02||$8|
The first stamps of Armenia were Russian stamps of 1902-12 (Scott #73) with two different types (black & violet) surcharge overprints issued in 1919. It is a coat of arms design with the Imperial Eagle and Post Horns. Both the Russian stamp and the overprints are fairly common with the former cataloging at just 20c and the Armenian overprints in the $1 range. Several other overprints on different varieties of the same design were used in the first two years. The first original designs were prepared in 1920 and consisted of ten stamps in three designs. They were issued only for fiscal use – SPECIMEN overprints and imperf varieties also exist. They are valued at about $5. The period through 1923 saw issues in 25 different designs in a series of sets. The original issued sets are common while the surcharged overprints are much more valuable. Here again, collectors need to be careful as counterfeits exist. Also, some sets were not officially issued. The most valuable stamps during this period is a long-set of overprints on Scott #300 to #309 with hand-stamped surcharge of new values in rose, violet, or black. The set (Scott #310 to #333) catalogs for around $1000 MNH or Used but collectors have to be very careful as forgeries exist.
1923 saw stamps of the Transcaucasian Federated Republics which consisted of the formerly autonomous Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Armenia replacing Armenian issues. The designs were mostly Russian symbols and overprints on certain Armenian stamps. The first stamps issued in a set of 8 consisted of Russian stamps of 1909-17 overprinted and surcharged in black or red. The set catalogs for around $50 MNH and a little less for used. The republic existed only till October of that year and Russian stamps were used from that point on till 1991.
The first stamp of Armenia after independence was issued on May 28, 1992 (Scott #430). It depicts Mount Ararat which holds great geopolitical significance for Armenia and their irredentism – the mountain is located in Anatolia which is a Turkish province, but Armenians revere the mountain as symbolizing their national identity – it is also featured in their coat of arms. The stamp catalogs for about a dollar. A souvenir sheet depicting Eagle & Mount Ararat was issued soon after (Scott #431). This catalogs for around $50 either MNH or used.
The first coins of Armenia are coins from the Artashesian dynasty (Artaxiad Royal House) from around 200 BC onwards. The first coins depict Tigranes the Great. The issues are all very rare and valuable fetching well into the 1000s. Standard republican coinage started following independence in 1994. Several gold proofs have low mintage and enjoy high valuation. Numismatic items of Armenia include:
|Ancient Coins||$5 and up||Cicilian Dynasty Levon I Silver Trams start around $5. 13th century bronze issues depicting Hetoum I in VG start around $40. Issues from the Roman period and prior go well into the 100s.|
|Other Coins||$1 and up||UNCs from the 1990s start around $1. Silver proofs from the 1990s and 2000s start around $50. Low mintage proofs along with gold proofs go well into the 100s.|
|Exonumia||$10 and up||Russian era Armenian medals start around $10. Anniversary Bronze medals start around $40.|
|Paper Money||$1 and up||UNC banknotes from the 1990s start around $1. Ruble denominated notes from the 1910s start around $30. Recent UNC year sets start around $50.|
Apricot wood carvings, needlework and objects in obsidian, along with antiques and art are representative of the area.
|Antiques||$25 and up||Bronze-age era ceramic and bronze utensils are in the market for $150 and up while simple bronze bracelets from the same era are priced in the 20s. 19th century tribal carpets go in the 1000s.|
|Art||$10 and up||19th century maps and photos go in the 10s of dollars while material from well known artists like A. Parunakyan, G. Azizyan, G. Hovsepyan, G. Vardanyan, V. Grigorian, etc go well into the 100s.|
|Medals, Plaques, etc||$10 and up||Posters from the WW era are priced in the low 10s, badges and related material a little more. Original communist era material fetch a premium.|
Last Updated: 12/2015.