Bahrain - Travel/Philately/Numismatics/Memorabilia Profile


Bahrain is an archipelago of thirty three Islands in the Persian Gulf consisting of Bahrain itself, Muharraq, Umm an Nasan, Sitra, and several smaller islands. The total land area slightly less than 300 square miles supports a population of around 800,000 (including over 200,000 non-nationals mostly on temporary work visas) – very small country but very densely populated at over 3000 people per square mile. Over 80% of the population are Muslims (over 65% Shia), with about 10% Christians, and the rest from other groups. It is one of the richest countries in the Persian Gulf with a per-capital GDP (PPP) of close to $35,000 helped by oil, petroleum production and processing, and the financial industry with its status as Financial Hub of Islamic nations. Over ninety percent of the land area is a low lying desert plain with the climate categorized by mild winters and very hot and humid summers.

Travel Resources:

November and March are the best time to visit Bahrain. Authentic Arabian experience is what Bahrain provides best for the traveler. Islamic architecture of various vintages abound waiting to be explored. Bahrain National Museum, Bahrain fort and Arad Fort, Barbar temple and beautiful mosques are part of this elite group. Coffee is considered part of traditional welcome. Machboos made from meat or fish and muhammar a sweet rice preparation served with dates are traditional Bahrain dishes.


ResourceISBN or ASINBest PriceDescription
Culture Shock! Bahrain: A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette978-0761454731$16A cultural introduction to Bahrain including how to socialize and doing business in Bahrain along with Food & Travel sections.
Mini Guide to Bahrain978-9948033196$11Area Maps and a pull-out map. Sections on exploring Manama and beyond, discovering Arabic Culture, shopping restaurants, accommodation and other essential info.
Bahrain Mini Map978-9768182708$6Includes Main areas and streets of Bahrain along with a detailed map of Manama, the capital.


Philatelic Profile:

Indian stamps issued by the Indian postal service sub-office in Manama starting in 1884 were the first stamps used in Bahrain. The first issues considered as Bahrain stamps were a set of fourteen Indian stamps from 1926-32 with a ‘BAHRAIN’ overprint in black issued August 10, 1933. The set (Scott #1 to #14) catalogs for around $300 MNH and around $350 used. Two other smaller sets followed in 1934 and 1935-37. The period from 1938 to 1944 saw the 1937-40 KGV and Mail Transport and the 1941-43 KGV sets of India being reissued with the ‘BAHRAIN’ overprint in two large sets. The first set of sixteen stamps (Scott #20 to #37) is very valuable at over $800 for MNH and around half that for used. The second set of thirteen stamps (Scott #38 to #51) catalogs for around $100 either MNH or used.

After India’s Independence, the British Postal Service started handling the postal services of Bahrain. Their issues were “Bahrain” overprints of British stamps with the denomination also overprinted with Indian currency. The first issue consisted of overprints of eleven stamps in five different British KGVI designs (1937-42) issued 1948-49. The lower denominations of this set (Scott #52 to #61A) are very affordable and catalogs for less than a dollar. The higher denominations that have the classic KGVI and Royal Arms design and the KGVI in an ornate frame design command a premium. The highest denomination (10r on 10sh) is especially valuable at around $60. Bahrain overprints on British stamps were used until 1960. Many popular themes such as the Silver Wedding Anniversary, the Olympic issue, and the UPU issue were used for the Bahrain overprints – these issues are fairly common and trade for between less than a dollar and a few dollars largely based on denomination. In between, Bahrain issued a set of six stamps for local use only – they are significant in that they are the first original designs and show Sheik Sulman bin Hamad Al Kalifah – issued in 1953-57, they catalog for around $20 MNH. A similar set was also issued for local use only in 1961 and that catalogs for around $10.

The first original design for regular use was issued on July 1, 1960 and shows the Sheik Sulman bin Hamad Al Kalifah portrait. These stamps were denominated in Gulf Rupee which replaced the Indian Rupee as Bahrain’s currency in 1959. The set (Scott #119 to #129) consisted of eleven stamps with denominations that ranged from 5np to Rs 10. It catalogs for around $30 MNH and less than half that for used. Other significant issues of Bahrain include:
  1. A set of 12 stamps seven different local themes (Bahrain International Airport, Pearl Divers, Pier at Mina Sulman Harbor, Falcon and Horse Race, Hospitality, and Mosque with Emblem – all with a portrait of the Sheik in the foreground) issued on January 1, 1966. The mosque, sheik, and emblem design used in the higher denominations is especially colorful. The issue was significant in that it is the first issue after Bahrain replaced the Gulf Rupee with their own currency (Dinar and Fils) in 1965. The set (Scott #141 to #152) catalogs for around $60 MNH and less than one-third that for used. Pearl related design is a fairly popular theme that appears frequently in Bahrain stamp designs and marks the country’s rich tradition of diving for natural pearls on its coast.
  2. A set of four stamps issued October 2nd 1971 with the independence theme following the declaration of Bahrain Independence on August 15th 1971. The set (Scott #182 to #185) consists of two designs – “Freedom” with dove, torch, and globe, and Coat of Arms. The set catalogs for around $35 MNH and around $20 used.
  3. A miniature sheet of eight stamps depicting Arabian Stallions released on September 1, 1975. The beautiful sheet (Scott #224) catalogs for around $60 MNH and half that for used. The designs were Brown Head, White Mare, Mare and Stallion, and Bedouins on horseback.
  4. A miniature sheet of eight stamps depicting Saluki Dogs released July, 1977. The sheet (Scott #256) catalogs for around $35 MNH or used. The designs were Dog and Camels, Dog and Gazelles, Dog and Ruler’s Palace, Dog’s Head, Heads of two dogs, Dog in Dunes, and Playing Dogs. The issue is significant in that Muslims (originated Bedouin tribe “Kiss of Allah” belief) regard Salukis with a patch of white in the the forehead to be blessed.
  5. A set of eight stamps released on July 16, 1979 in the “Dhows of the Arabian Gulf” theme. The set (Scott #263 to #270) catalogs for around $80 MNH or used in a block of eights. Individual stamps can be had for a slight discount. The dhows depicted were Ghanja, Zarook, Shu’ai, Jaliboot, Baghla, Sambuk, Boom, and Kotia.
  6. A miniature sheet of sixteen stamps released on March 21, 1992 in the “Indigenous Birds of Bahrain” theme. The sheet (Scott #382) catalogs for around $25 MNH or used. Individual stamps can be had for around a dollar.
  7. A miniature sheet of twenty one stamps released on April 23, 1997 in the “Pure Strains of Arabian Horses” theme. The sheet (Scott #492) catalogs for around $40 MNH or used.
  8. A set of three stamps released on February 1, 2002 in the “Day of the Arab Woman” theme. The set (Scott #559 to #561) catalogs for around $5 MNH or used. The designs were Emblem, Emblem and Rings, and Women. Woman’s right to vote was granted for the first time in the 2002 election and this issue signify that important political step.
Numismatic Profile:

Bahrain started issuing coins denominated in Fils in 1965. Prior to this, British East India company coins were used. The first issues have mintage into the millions and catalog for less than a dollar in UNC. Other Numismatic items of Bahrain include:


ItemPrice RangeDescription
Coins$1 and upProofs from 2000s and first coins in VF start around $1. Bi Metal coins from 2000s in BU starts around $20. UNICEF, Rhim Gazelle etc Silver Proofs start around $50. Silver proof sets and error varieties go into the 100s.
Paper Money$2 and upCommon UNCs start around $2. Notes from the early 60s in UNC start around $30. Scarce dates, First Issues, etc in UNC start around $100.


Collectible Memorabilia:

Pottery, utility and decorative items weaved from split palm fronds, Arabic calligraphy, and stained glass by Bahraini artisans makes for great souvenirs and gifts.


Last Updated: 12/2015.
 

    Pumpkin Festival in Half Moon Bay – A Trip Report

    October heralds in the annual Art and Pumpkin festival in Half Moon Bay for Bay Area residents. The 41st festival was held on October 15-16, 2011 and the festivities commenced a week earlier. The event location was at Main Street off highway 92 between Spruce and Miramontes. The Scarecrow and the Pumpkin weigh-off contest happens on the previous Sunday and Monday (October 8th and 9th) respectively. Like every year, the winning gourd along with the top-five weight-off pumpkins was the prime attraction on the festival weekend.

    The route to this popular festival at Half Moon Bay from most parts of the Bay Area includes a single-lane highway for about 5 miles and public transportation is not practical. This combination calls for a travel nightmare in that area for those two days. To circumvent this, go real early and depart early. Though the festival officially is from 9 AM - 5 PM both days, the traditional pancake breakfast is served from 7 AM. The fringe benefit for the early bird is the availability of free parking in one of the side streets. Several paid parking options exist ranging from $5 to $10 for the whole day.

    The following is a summary of the main Events (click for current event update):

    Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off

    The World's Greatest Gourd Growers competed on Monday, October 10, (7 a.m., on the IDES Grounds, 735 Main Street, in Half Moon Bay) for total prize money of about $20,000. There was also a mega prize of $5,000, for any grower that broke the existing world record (1725 pounds).

    Pancake Breakfast

    The High School Varsity Basketball Team hosted the traditional Pancake Breakfast on Main Street (Kelly Avenue) both Saturday & Sunday from 7AM and provided plain or pumpkin pancakes, grilled sausage links, fresh orange juice, and plenty of Peet's coffee.

    Pie Eating Contests

    Held at the Family Fun Zone at 620 Main Street, it was a highly entertaining event with each participant devouring pumpkin pie heaped high with whipped cream – panache and power eating were considered by the audience judges. For children aged 11 and under, the event was scheduled for 2 PM, and at 2:15 PM for those 12 and older on both Saturday and Sunday.

    Harvest-Inspired Art

    Hundreds of one-of-a-kind handcrafted items by America’s finest artists and craft makers were on display at over 250 booths. Worth more than a cursory look!

    Music Stages (click for current event update & schedule)


    IDES Main Stage featured folk singer Jim Stevens, R.W. Smith and The California Cowboys, soul singer Willie G, The Cocktail Monkeys, Lovefool, and Caravanserai.

    The South Stage at the Gazebo featured the high-energy dance band Top Secret, Rockin' Down the Hiway, Kaye Bohler, and The Bay Area Heat.

    Street Performers included Emerson, Bob Culbertson, Heartstrings Music, Kwaeh, Jeffrey Michael, The Sardine Family Circus, and a a few others.

    Family Stage (click for current event update and schedule)

    The Family Stage at 620 Main Street (Bank of America Parking lot) featured Radio Disney's N.B.T. ("Next Big Thing"), the teenage wonder Amber Lily, pop and R&B singer/songwriter Jasmine Sagginario, and the Radio Disney Road Crew.

    Haunted Barn
     
    Located just off Main Street and Kelly behind 505 Johnston Street (Historic 1906 Jail building) is this barn (open 9AM to 5PM both Saturday and Sunday). It featured live (undead) actors from The Coastside Young Actors Workshop alongside audio-animatronic figures, projected and transparent ghosts, intense lighting, sound, fog effects, and unexpected dropping and swooping objects caused by unseen forces. Every year, creative members of the Coastside Young Actors Workshop wow visitors over with their theatrical skills, fabulous costumes, and spooky special effects. Admission was $5 per person, children 3 and under free.

    Others


    Other attractions included “Farmer Mike” carving pumpkin up and down the street, demonstrating his amazing carving skill in transforming giant pumpkins into one-of-a-kind sculptures, Coloring Contest, Costume Contest, Mobile Rock’s climbing wall ($5), and face painting ($5) booth. Add to this the myriad food options (not overly expensive for most food booths are hosted by non-profits), several beer and wine options, the “Take 5 lounge” for the couch potatoes and you have something for every taste.

    Overall, we rate this event worth every penny you opt to spend…

    Last Updated: 10/2011.

    Fleet Week in San Francisco – A Trip Report

    One of the October highlights in the Bay Area is the fleet week in San Francisco where the public get to sense the power of the US Navy on land and air. Every year, the main air-show happens on the weekend days with practice sessions on Thursday and Friday. The 2011 Dates were from October 6th through the 11th (Thursday through the following Tuesday). The ship tours are available free of charge on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday (11 AM to 4 PM, Piers 27 and 30/32) limited to 20 people at a time.

    The fleet week events are all free, but a reserved seating area at Marina Green is not – the options available were
    1. Fully-catered Flight Deck Club on Marina Green: Friday - $100, Saturday - $175 adults, $95 children 4-12, Sunday - $150 adults, $75 children 4-12 (Includes breakfast, lunch, beer, and wine),
    2. Reserved Seating on Marina Green: Saturday - $30, Sunday - $30,
    3.  Private Chalets - from 50 to 150 guests - fully catered - call 650-599-5057 or email info@fleetweek.us for details.
    The Marina Green and the Pier 39 areas are the best locations to catch the air-show. The ships open for tours are moored along Piers 27 and 30/32. The air-show event times are 11:30-5:00 PM Saturday & 1:00-5:00 PM Sunday. The vessels can be viewed between 11 AM and 4 PM (Saturday, Sunday, & Monday).

    The parade of the mighty ships on Saturday from 11:00AM officially kicks off the event – a tradition that started 100 years ago when 16 US Navy battleships flanked with dozens of escorts and 14,000 sailors entered San Francisco Bay. Those ships were part of the “Great White Fleet”’ (with the ships painted all white) that journeyed around the world. One of the objectives of fleet week then was to ensure Americans were aware of the reasons for having a strong and capable Navy and to provide an opportunity for them to experience it. The objective of the modern version of fleet week continues to be the same.

    The air-show event (Saturday & Sunday - 12:30 to 4:00 PM) comprises of several teams that puts on a performance of some sort during the event. In 2010 (click for latest update), the team consisted of the following:
    1. US Navy’s Blue Angels.
    2. US Air Force’s F16.
    3. Canadian Forces Snowbirds.
    4. US Coast Guard’s HH65 Helicopter.
    5. Airshows America’s four jet L-39 Patriots team and the 2 jet Mig-17 team.
    6. Five single small-plane events from sponsors and other aerobatic performers.
    Undoubtedly, the coveted part of the air-show belongs to the thunderous Blue Angels - six US-navy F/A-18 Hornets perform amazing synchronized aerobatics for a full hour starting at 3PM (Saturday & Sunday).

    The fleet-week ships last year included (click for latest update):

    1. USS Pinckney (DDG 91)
    2. USS Bonhomme Richard
    3. CGC Bertholf
    4. SS Jeremiah O’Brien

    Just across the Bay the show cannot be appreciated well from Alameda – the planes turn miniature and the diminished sound lags the sight. San Francisco is very crowded during this weekend and public transportation if available is the best option. For us, the most convenient option was the ferry that ran extra trips for the fleet week weekend and we reached Pier 41 at 2:45 PM. After a quick detour to Pier 39 we positioned ourselves on the return line for the ferry back at 4 PM. The reserved line area has the advantage of a terrific view and since it is a line that is blocked off by ferry personnel, that area is available at the last moment. Needless to say, the show was fantastic and the glorious feel of cheering with the crowd on a sunny day lingers on for a very long time…

    Last Updated: 10/2011.

    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.
     

      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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