Bahamas - Travel/Philately/Numismatics/Memorabilia Profile


Bahamas consists of 29 islands located in the Atlantic Ocean south east of United States and has a land area below 5,500 square miles with a population of around 300,000. It is one of the richest countries in the Caribbean with a per-capital GDP (PPP) of over $27,000 helped by growth in tourism and off-shore banking – those two industries make for over 95% of the economy. US tourists and their financial services sector account for the bulk of this sector and thus the economy is directly dependent on economic growth in the US.

Travel Resources:

Bahamas’ beaches along with water sports form the major draw. Nassau is the top draw and the place to romance with steel drum bands. Grand Bahamas Island and Andros Island offer dive sites, and snorkeling, and Paradise Island is famous for its beaches.  Cruise-ship operators own some of the islands in the Bahamas making it mandatory to be part of the respective cruise to visit the island. The Bahamas cuisine can tickle the seafood lovers pink. Local to the islands are the crawfish, conch, yellow tail and red snapper.


ResourceISBN or ASINBest PriceDescription
Frommer’s Bahamas 2011978-0470614372$13Good practical information throughout - Detailed maps, itineraries, walking tours, reviews of hotels and restaurants.
Fodor’s Bahamas 2011978-1400004638$1437 easy-to-read color regional maps and 200 color photos. Top experiences, tips, and opinions from destination experts.
Laminated Bahamas Map by Borch978-3866095281$11Folded Laminated road and travel map at 1:500,000 scale.
Bahamas Grounded Adapter PlugB001FD5CLS$8
Rentals & Real EstateNAVariesA number of deals are available on the internet on any given day.


Philatelic Profile:

The first issue was a Queen Victoria Chalon Head Imperforate design in dull lake with the inscription “Interinsular Postage” (for use only for local mail) in thin paper. Used copies of this stamp (Scott #1 – 1p dull lake Chalon Head) are very valuable at over $1700. Mint copies can be had for around $60, but keep in mind that these are not as rare as remainders form the bulk of them. There are a couple of varieties in thick paper (reddish lake and brown lake) that catalog for much higher – over $2500 for used and double that for mint. There is also a brownish lake variety on thin paper which catalog for around $250 mint. Perforate versions of Chalon Head design appeared in 1860 and higher denominations in 1861. The Chalon Head designs of 1861 and 1862 in three denominations (1p, 4p, and 6p) and varieties are very valuable (Scott #2 to #10) – the rarest single stamp among them is a variety of the 6p gray violet design of 1862 with a Perf of 11.5x11 or 12x11 – mint copies (Scott #7a) catalog at close to $20,000. The same variety of the 4p dull rose (Scott #6a) is also valued close to this level. Key Type QV issues appeared in 1863 and these themes dominated the stamp issues till 1883. Most of these stamps catalog in the $100 range for lower denominations and a few thousand for higher denominations in mint condition. Used copies catalog somewhat lower.

The Queen’s Staircase of Nissau set of 1901 (Scott #33 to #36) was the first original design. The beautiful set catalogs for around $100 mint and double that for used. The period till 1930 saw just three additional designs, and certain reissues: a) two sets of stamps issued in 1902 and 1906-11 (Scott #37 to #43 and Scott #44 to #37) respectively with KEVII key type design. The former catalogs for around $450 mint and around $650 used while the latter catalogs for about $100 for either mint or used, b) two sets of stamps issued in 19012-19 and 1917-19 (Scott #47 to #56 and Scott #58 to #62) respectively with KGV key type design. The former catalogs for around $250 mint and around $500 used while the latter catalogs for about $120 mint and $160 used, and c) A KGV and Seal of Bahamas set of five stamps (Scott #65 to #69) issued in 1920. The set catalogs for around $35 mint and $65 used. Reissues of the Queen’s Staircase of Nissau set and certain of the KGV keytypes complete the stamp issues. The reissues are also valued in the same range as the above original issues.

Common Designs were the most common stamps of Bahamas during the period from 1930 to 1966. Most of these sets are very common and can be had for a few dollars. Original designs during this period are mostly commemorative issues and as such commands a premium catalog value. Below are the significant issues:
  1. A set of five stamps (Scott #85 to #89) with the Seal of Bahamas design commemorating the three hundredth anniversary of the colony’s founding. The set catalogs for around $90 MNH and $210 for used.
  2. A long set of 17 stamps (Scoot #100 to #113) issued between 1938 and 1946 with a KGVI and local themes in four designs – KGVI keytype, Sea Gardens, Fort Charlette, and Flamingos in Flight. The set catalogs for around $200 MNH and about half that for used.
  3. A long set of 14 stamps (Scott #116 to #129) issued October 12, 1942 to commemorate the 450th anniversary of the discovery of America by Columbus. It used the same KGVI design in the 1938 set with an overprint that read “1492 landfall of Columbus 1942”. The set catalogs for around $90 MNH and $65 used.
  4. A long set of 16 stamps (Scot #158 to #173) issued January 1, 1954 showing a QEII and local scenes design. Each denomination showed different scene as follows - Agriculture, Out Island settlement, Native Strawwork, Fishing Fleet, Water Skiing, Dairying, Transportation, Paradise Beach, Hotels, Yacht Racing, Sisal (a local fleshy plant that yields a stiff fiber used in rope making), Ship Building, Tuna Fishing, Salt Production, and Parliament Building. The set catalogs for around $60 MNH and around $20 used.
  5. A set of 16 stamps (Scott #204 to #218) issued January 7, 1965 showing a QEII and local scenes design. This set has a colorful multicolor design compared to the much more conservative single color design used in the 1954 set. The set catalogs for around $35 MNH and $20 used. The themes were Badge, Princess Margaret Hospital, High School, Flamingo, Liner "Queen Elizabeth", Island Development, Yachting, Public Square, Sea Garden, Cannons, Seaplane and Jetliner, Underwater Post Office (film project), Conch Shell, and Columbus Flagship
Bahamas started issuing colorful stamps partly aimed at collectors starting in 1967. Significant issues include:
  1. A set of 18 stamps (Scott #313 to #330) in the recurring QEII and local scenes design released in 1971. The set catalogs for around $30 MNH and $45 used. Several variations of the same design were released in different sets in 1973, 1976 (2), and 1978. All of these sets cataog in the same range as the 1971 set.
  2. A set of four stamps and a souvenir sheet (Scott #625 to #629) in the Pirates of the Caribbean theme released in 1987. The set including the Souvenir sheet catalogs for around $30 MNH and $20 used.
  3. A long set of 16 stamps (Scott #1007 to #1022) in the Birds and Eggs theme released in 2001. The set catalogs for around $50 MNH or used. Similar long sets were also released in 1990 (Bird Set – Scott #709 to #724), 1987 (Fish Set – Scott #604 to #618a), and 1995 (Seashells Set – Scott #849 to #864). The denominations ranged from 5c to $10 and sport catalog values in similar range.
Numismatic Profile:

The first coins of Bahamas were British Colonial Copper Pennies issued in 1806 with mintage into the 100,000’s. Proof varieties were also issued and those are valued well into the 100s. The coinage of Great Britain was used in Bahamas from 1825 onwards. Following achievement of internal self government in 1964, Bahamas started issuing coins in 1966. The first issues have mintage into the millions and are valued in the dollar range for UNC. Large commemorative gold coins have been issued over the years. Some have very low gold content and so care has to be taken before acquiring one. Low mintage and popular issues include the first anniversary100 dollar issue from 1974 (0.29oz gold) released to commemorate the first anniversary of independence with mintage around 4000 and the exquisite 1987 Proof with a mintage of just 100 showing the bust of QEII in Obverse and Queen Isabella receiving Columbus along date and value in Reverse. Very high troy ounce (12oz or more) high values ($1000 thru $2500) were released between 1974 and 1977 and they catalog well into the 10,000s range.

Numismatic items of Bahamas include:


ItemPrice RangeDescription
Coins$2 and upRecent UNC coins start around $2. Silver proof year sets start around $10.
Paper Money$3 and upUNCs from the 70s starts around $3. Scarce notes from before independence in VF start around $30. UNCs from the 60s and prior dates go into the 60s and 70s. Scarce specimens start around $100.


Collectible Memorabilia:

Visitors take a delight in carrying home the Bahamas Rum Cake and locally made straw pieces.


Last Updated: 12/2015.
 

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