Bangladesh - Travel/Philately/Numismatics/Memorabilia Profile


Bangladesh a country in South East Asia is bordered by the Bay of Bengal to the South, Burma to the South East, and everywhere else by India. Following India’s independence and the partition of Bengal along religious lines in 1947, East Bengal was renamed as East Pakistan – almost 90% of the population is Muslims with about 10% Hindus. Bangladesh was formed following the Bangladesh liberation war of 1971. It is one of the poorest countries in Asia with a per-capital GDP (PPP) of less than $1500 due to its history of political violence, inefficient public enterprises, associated corruption, and the effects of natural disasters that frequently ravage almost a third of the country. A large part of Bangladesh is a low-lying delta formed by the confluence of multiple rivers including Ganges, Brahmaputra, Meghna, and several tributaries making it among the most fertile in the world. Ready-made garments and jute are the major export industries and the country is now making strides in leather too.

Travel Resources:

The best time to visit Bangladesh is in the winter when the weather is dry and fresh. For the traveler, Bangladesh provides a relatively tourist-free spot in Southern Asia. Sunder-bans, the world’s largest mangrove forest is home to a wide variety of plants, animals (Bengal tiger, spotted deer, Gangetic dolphins to name a few), birds, reptiles and other species is worth slowing down for. Mainimati Ruins, the seat of Buddhist culture dates back to 7th century. Lalbagh Fort is the top attraction of Dhaka. Bangladeshi cuisine is spicy and resembles South East Asian food. Hilsa fish dishes are rated very high.


ResourceISBN or ASINBest PriceDescription
Bangladesh – Bradt Travel Guide978-1841622934$19The best travel guide available for Bangladesh. Maps, background information, and coverage by division Dhaka, Sylhet, Chittagong, Khulna, and Rajshahi.
Bangladesh Travel Reference Map978-1553411260$11Scale: 1:750,000. Inset maps of Dhaka and Chittagong.
Universal World Wide Travel Charger Adapter PlugB001MGUB9Q$4


Philatelic Profile:

The first stamps of Bangladesh were a set of eight stamps released on July 29, 1971. The designs of the set (Scott #1 to #8) fully reflect the uncertainty surrounding the newly formed Country of Bangladesh at the time – an exile government was formed on April 14 1971, the alliance of the Indian Army and the Mukti Bahini (Freedom Fighters) called the Mitro Bahini won the war against Pakistan only by December 16, 1971. The designs were Dacca University Massacre (marks its share of the genocide in Operation Searchlight, initiated by the Pakistan army under the direction of the dictatorship in West Pakistan), “75” (to honor the 75 million people that formed the new country), Flag of Independence showing map, Ballot box, Broken Chain, and “Support Bangladesh” inscription with map. Following liberation, the same stamps with “Bangladesh Liberated” overprints were released on December 20, 1971 (Scott #9 to #16). The first sixteen stamps of Bangladesh in MNH condition are remarkably affordable at around $15. Scott #10 to #14 was not put on sale and so they do not exist in used condition. The rest of the stamps catalog for a slight premium compared to the MNH copies. Other significant issues of Bangladesh include:
  1. A set of fourteen stamps released on April 30, 1973 showing local scenes. Bangladesh converted their currency from Pakistani Rupee to Taka in 1972. The denominations of this set consisted of 2p (Poisha – 100 Poisha is 1 Taka which had the same value as Pakistani Rupee at the time of issue) at the low end and 10t (Taka) at the high-end. The set (Scott #42 to #55) catalogs for around $45 MNH and one-third that used.
  2. A set of four stamps released on October 9, 1974 in the UPU theme. The two designs were UPU emblem and Mail Runner. The set (Scott #66 to #68) is inexpensive at less than $2 for MNH or used. An Imperforate Souvenir Sheet of four however catalogs for $90.
  3.  set of four stamps released on August 7, 1983 depicting local birds. The set (Scott #221 to #224) catalogs for around $8 MNH and a little less for used. The Souvenir Sheet catalogs for about double that. Souvenir Sheets catalog for an unusual premium mainly because they are sold at a premium to the face value by the Post Office – the birds set souvenir sheet sold for 13 Takas although the face value was only 10.75 Takas.
  4. A set of two triangular stamps released on May 17, 1984 to mark the first Bangladesh National Philatelic Exhibition. The designs show a girl examining a stamp in an album using a magnifying glass and a boy working on his collection. The set (Scott #245 and #246) is very affordable at less than $4 MNH or used. The Souvenir Sheet again trades at a slight premium at around $6 – it sold 10 Takas compared to the face value of 8 Takas. There is also a version with an overprint that reads “Silver Jubilee/Bangladesh Post Office Stamps 1971-96” that catalogs for around $10.
  5. A set of five stamps released October 24, 1987 in the transportation theme. The designs show a palanquin being carried by men, a tricycle rickshaw, paddle steamer, train, and bullock cart. The set (Scott #296 to #300) catalogs for around $8 MNH and less than $3 for used.
  6. A strip of three stamps released on November 27, 1988 to mark the third Asia Cup Cricket tournament held in Bangladesh between October 26 and November 4, 1988. Kabbadi is the national sport but cricket is the most popular and that accounts for a number of stamps and sets depicting this sport released over the years. The set (Scott #313 a-c) catalogs for around $5 MNH or used.
  7. A long series of stamps released starting with the 20th anniversary issues of 1991 to commemorate martyrs killed during its struggle for independence. The first set (Scott #402 a-j thru #404k a-j) totaling 40 stamps along with labels catalogs for less than $20 MNH or used. The following sister sets were released over the years: Scott #470-1, 499-500, 534-5, 558-9, 568-9, 595, and 627-8.
  8. A set of four stamps released on June 23 1998 to mark the opening of the Bangabandhu bridge that connects the two halves (the central and north western districts) of Bangladesh separated by the mighty rivers Jamuna (Brahmaputra) and the lower stretch of Padma (Ganges). The designs show approach roads from the East and West, River Training Works, and the Bridge itself. The bridge is an engineering marvel designed and implemented by Hyundai of South Korea at a cost of close to one billion dollars. However, cracks were noticed on the bridge in 2007 prompting the government to control the amount of traffic on the bridge and announce plans for litigation against Hyundai accusing flawed design. The set (Scott #562 to #565) catalogs for around $4 MNH or used.
Numismatic Profile:

Bangladesh started issuing aluminum coins in the Poisha (100 Poisha = 1 Taka) denomination in 1974. The issues generally have very high mintage and so the valuations fall well under a dollar. Prior to this, Pakistani Rupee and Paisas were used. The Rupee coinage dates back to the period of Pashtun Emperor Sher Shah Suri from 1540. Taka became Bangladesh’s currency in 1972 following independence in 1971. Overstamped Pakistani notes were used in 1971. Numismatic items of Bangladesh include:


ItemPrice RangeDescription
Coins~$1 and upMost UNCs go for less than $1. Exceptions include several commemorative Silver Proofs issued in the 1990s that catalog in the $30 range.
Paper Money$1 and upRecent Takas in UNC start around $1. Recent UNC bundles start around $15. UNC year sets start around $25. Individual Specimens, Scarce Dates, Overprints, etc start around $100.

 
Collectible memorabilia:

Bangladesh is known for its rich arts and crafts tradition - wooden and leather goods, fine cotton and silks, dolls dressed in traditional costumes and jewelry make for great souvenirs.


Last Updated: 12/2015. 
 

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