Azerbaijan - Travel/Philately/Numismatics/Memorabilia Profile

Azerbaijan is a country in Western Asia bordered by the Caspian Sea, Russia, Georgia, Armenia, and Iran. Azerbaijan also has an exclave called Nakhichevan which is bounded by Armenia, Iran, and Turkey. Its land area totals less than 34,000 square miles with a population of close to nine million. Azerbaijan’s population is predominantly (~95%) Muslim (~85% Shia and the rest Sunni), but it is a secular state. The per-capita GDP is respectable at close to $9,000 helped by its status as a hub in the transportation of oil, gas, and other raw materials to Europe and other global markets, the energy sector, and economic reforms.

Travel Resources:

Azerbaijan is for the most part a chance to experience history. Rock carvings, ancient monuments, mosques, minarets and ruins is a sure way to synchronize with the past. Baku , Baki, Northeast Azerbaijan, Tabriz feature in the popular regions to visit. Because of the oil boom it is not exactly wallet friendly. Black caviar from the Caspian Sea is one of the best known delicacies of the country. Kabobs and plov (saffron rice) are popular dishes of the place.


ResourceISBN or ASINBest PriceDescription
Azerbaijan with Excursions to Georgia by Trailblazer Publications978-1905864232$182010 Edition. Content is excellent and covers Azerbaijan really well with good maps and just a few pages dedicated to Georgia. Lacks pictures (pictures are clubbed together in the last few pages).
Azerbaijani-English English-Azerbaijani Dictionary and Phrasebook978-0781806848$8A good phrase book for basic travel needs. It has an introduction to the alphabet and some grammar coverage as well.
Azerbaijan Grounded Adapter Plug – GUBB001FDA754$8



Philatelic Profile:

The first stamps of Azerbaijan were a crude but colorful imperforate set of ten stamps (Scott #1 to #10) in the National Republic theme in four different designs (Standard Bearer, Farmer at Sunset, Baku, and Temple of Eternal Fires). The set is very affordable at around $5 for mint and $25 for used – the Temple of Eternal Fires issue in blue, red, and black (Scott #9) is the most valuable at $20 for used. The 2nd set of stamps released in 1922 is a classic set of fifteen (Scott #15 to #29) in the Soviet Socialist Republic theme in nine different designs depicting Baku scenes and certain global symbols (symbols of Labor, Oil Well, Bibi Eibatt Oil Field, Khan’s Palace Baku, Globe and Workers, Maiden’s Tower, Goukasoff House – State Museum of Arts, Blacksmiths, Hall of Judgement) – these were also imperforate stamps but the single color conservative design stands in stark contrast to the colorful earlier design. These stamps are also very affordable at $5 mint and about 50% more for used. The fact that the first twenty five stamps are so affordable makes for another unique quirk – counterfeits exist and they usually sell for a premium compared to the genuine copies.
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. Another set (Scott #14 to #21) of eight stamps in two different designs (Oil Fields and Soviet Symbols) soon followed. It catalogs for around $10 MNH and about thrice that for used. The republic existed only till October of that year. A set of semi-postal issues were also used in Baku province between 1922 and 1924. These are valuable – the 1922 set (Scott #301 to #309) with the ““Bakinskoi P. K.” (Baku Post Office) overprint catalogs for over $700 mint and the 1924 set of fifteen stamps (Scott #312 to #333) with a similar overprint catalogs much higher at close to $2500. Russian stamps replaced stamps of Azerbaijan from 1924 till 1991. Counterfeits exist on both the original stamps (Scott #32 to #80) and the overprints.

The first stamp of Azerbaijan after independence was issued on March 26, 1992 (Scott #350) with a flag and map design. The stamp catalogs for less than $2 for either MNH or used. Other significant recent issues include:
  1. A sheet of three stamps and a souvenir sheet (Scott #582 and #583) released on June 7, 1996 to commemorate the 3000th anniversary of Jerusalem. Two of the designs are significant in that the structures are important to multiple religions: 1. Dome of the Rock (Christianity – site of the church of Holy Wisdom, Judaism – location of their holiest site – Foundation Stone, Islam – Foundation Stone – holiest site after Mecca and Median – spot where Mohammud ascended to heaven). Both the souvenir sheet and the set of stamps are very affordable at less than $5 for MNH or used, and 2. Wailing Wall (a holy site claimed by both Jews and Muslims).
  2. The birds set of six stamps (Scott #591 to #596 and #597 – a souvenir sheet) released June 19, 1996. This beautiful set depicts the following birds in a distinct multi-colored fashion - Shaft-tailed Whydah, Yellow-mantled Widowbird, Black-hooded Oriole, Eurasian Golden Oriole, Common Starling, and Yellow-fronted Canary. The design uses light shades of a single color to form the background and multicolored theme to depict the bird. 
  3. A souvenir sheet released October 16, 2002 (Scott #741) depicting the Turkish world-cup soccer team that finished third in the championships. Global themes such as the Olympics and world soccer appear frequently in Azerbaijani stamp designs, but this issue is significant in that it portrays another country’s achievement – it follows the theme of President Heydar Aliyev who proclaimed Azerbaijan and Turkey are “one nation with two states” due to their common culture, history, and language intelligibility.
  4. A stamp depicting a pictorial of the Baku-Tibilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline released April 8, 2003 to mark the beginning of construction of the pipeline which transports oil from the Azerbaijan's Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli oil field in the Caspian Sea to the Turkish port of Ceyhan through Tibilisi in Georgia. The stamp (Scott #749) is also very affordable at less than $3 for MNH or used.
  5. A stamp depicting a map of Nakhchivan, the autonomous exclave of Azerbaijan was released on January 3, 2004 to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the province' status as an autonomous republic. The stamp (Scott #767) catalogs for around $3 MNH or used.
Numismatic Profile:

The first coins of Azerbaijan were brass coins issued in 1992 with the value in obverse and three symbols above date at center of sun. The issue is common and can be had for less than $5 UNC. Silver and Gold proofs issued in 1996 and 1999 (silver only) enjoy low mintage and are especially popular among collectors. Other numismatic items of Azerbaijan include:


ItemPrice RangeDescription
Coins$2 and upCommon UNC coins from the 2000s start around $2. Sets start around $10.
Paper Money$1 and upCommon Manats from the early 90s in UNC start around $1.

Collectible Memorabilia:

Mini carpets, hand-blown glass, miniature daggers and swords, and miniature dolls sporting Azerbaijan’s national costume. Azerbaijan brandy has its share of loyalists too.


ResourcePrice RangeDescription
Antiques$20 and upHandmade (hand-knotted) pillows start around $20 while carpets hand-knotted from the turn of the century can fetch into the 1000s.
Hand Blown Glass$20 and upItems from well-known manufacturers like Baijan Glass fetches a premium.




Last Updated: 12/2015. 
 

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