Burkina Faso (formerly Upper Volta) - Travel/Philately/Numismatics/Memorabilia Profile

Burkina Faso (formerly Upper Volta) is a land-locked country in Western Africa bordered by Mali, Niger, Benin, Togo, Ghana, and Ivory Coast. The northwestern part of present day Burkina Faso is known to have been populated between 14,000 and 5000 BC. More recently, Mossi kingdoms reigned from the fifteenth century until their defeat at the French Colonial Forces in 1896. Full independence from France occurred in 1960. Burkina Faso has a land area of close to 106,000 square miles and a population close to 16 million resulting in a population density of around 150 per square mile. Bukina Faso is a flat country with the difference between the highest and lowest terrain at around 600 meters. Climate is tropical with a 4-month rainy season ending in September followed dry weather categorized by winds from the Sahara. Burkina Faso has one of the lowest per-capita GDP figures in the world at around $1200 due to the lack of natural resources and weak industrial base.

Travel Resources:

Burkina Faso has attracted visitors from different walks for various reasons. Heritage sites, buildings, and mosques, national parks, zoological gardens, lakes and waterfalls, and busy market places all get their fair share of visitors. Many rock formations also hold the interest of the visitors. Typical Burkinabe cuisine is fufu (boiled starchy root dough  - cassava) with a side of goat stew or peanut soup. Sorghum, rice, beans, potato, yams, and okra are locally grown there.


ResourceISBN or ASINBest PriceDescription
Burkina Faso: The Bradt Travel Guide978-1841621548VariesOne of the only guides to Burkina Faso. Covers cultural celebrations, wildlife experiences, history, architecture, craftsmanship, market days, and rituals.
Burkina Faso Travel Map978-1553411512$111:1,000,000 scale. Inset maps of Ouagadougou and Bobo-Dioulasso.
Land of the Flying Masks: Art and Culture in Burkina Faso, the Thomas G.B. Wheellock Collection978-3791335148VariesOne of the best books on African art ever written. Thomas Wheelock Collection is the largest private collection of Burkina Faso Art and this book presents it in great detail.
Burkina Faso Grounded Adapter Plug – GUBB001FDC8JM$8


Philatelic Profile:

The first stamps of Burkina Faso were a set of twenty eight stamps (Scott #1 to #28) released between 1920 and 1928 in the “Camel with Rider” design. The set were ‘HAUTE-VOLTA’ overprints in black or red on Upper Senegal and Niger stamps of 1914 to 1917. The set catalogs for around $20 MNH or used. A few other overprints and surcharges of the same design were issued until around 1927. Valuations for these stamps are in the same range. Varieties with double surcharges and overprint omissions command a good premium. The first original issues were a long definitive set (Scott #43 to #65) of twenty three stamps in the ‘Hausa people’ theme released in 1928. The designs show ‘Hausa Chief’, ‘Hausa Woman’, and ‘Hausa Warrior’. The set catalogs for around $65 MNH or used.


Below are other relevant stamp issues of Burkina Faso over the years:

  1. A stamp (Scott #70) released in 1959 to mark the first anniversary of the proclamation of the Republic. The design shows Council President Ouezzin Coulibaly who died the previous December. The stamp is affordable at around 50c MNH or used. The issue was followed by a long set (Scott #71 to #88) of eighteen stamps released in 1960 in the ‘Animal Masks’ theme. The set catalogs for around $10 MNH and $6 used. The designs show deer musk and deer, wart hog, monkey, buffalo, antelope, elephant, and secretary bird.
  2. A set of six stamps (Scott #97 to #102) released on June 30 1962 showing forest reservations and its animals. The designs show buffaloes at water hole, lions, Defassa waterbuck, Arly Reservation, Diapaga Reservation, and Buffon’s kob. The set catalogs for around $10 MNH and $6 used.
  3. A set of six stamps (Scott #244 to #249) released on June 30 1971 in the Butterflies and Moths theme. The beautiful set catalogs for around $25 MNH and around $5 used. It features hamanumida daedalus, ophideres materna, danaus chyrsippus, hypolimnas misippus, and danaus petiverana.
  4. A set of six stamps (Scott #263 to #268) released between 1971 and 1972 in the “Upper Volta Houses” theme. The designs show Peulh house, Gourounsi house, Mossi houses, Bobo house, Dagari house, and Bango house. The set catalogs for around $4 MNH and around half that for used.
  5. A set of four stamps (Scott #501 to #504) released in June 1979 to mark the one-hundredth anniversary of the death of Sir Rowland Hill, the originator of postage stamps. The design shows Trains and Upper Volta with Sir Rowland Hill in the inset. The set catalogs for around $8 MNH and $3 used. There is also a souvenir sheet (Scott #505) and that catalogs for around $5 MNH and $2 used.
  6. A set of seven stamps (Scott #732 to #738) released on July 23 1985 in the ‘Locomotives’ theme. The designs show electric tank wagon, diesel shunting locomotive, diesel locomotive, diesel railcar, No. 6093, No. 105 diesel railcar, and diesel passenger car. The set catalogs for around $12 MNH and $2 used.
  7. A set of two stamps (Scott #955 & #956) released on July 15 1993 to mark the philatelic exhibition in Paris. The set catalogs for around $10 MNH and $4 used. The design shows Paris landmarks.
  8. A long series of stamps (individual sets, sheets of six, and souvenir sheets) released in October 1998 in the Birds and ‘Butterflies and Moths’ themes. The entire set of close to fifty stamps (Scott #1098 to #1103, #1104a-i, #1105a-I, #1106-1107, #1108a-i, #1109a-i, and #1110 to #1113) is a very collectible, beautiful set. The whole set catalogs for around $60 MNH and around half that for Used.
Numismatic Profile:

Burkina Faso uses coins of the monetary union of the West African States which include the republics of Benin, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Mali, Togo and Niger. Prior to this, coins of French West Africa were used in Burkina Faso (Upper Volta at the time).

Numismatic items of Burkina Faso include:


ItemPrice RangeDescription
Coins$2 and upCommon UNCs start around $2. Silver and Gold Proofs from the 70s and 80s start around $30.
Paper Money$5 and upCommon UNCs start around $5. Banknotes from the 60s in VF start around $30.



Collectible Memorabilia:

Burkina Faso is famous for textiles, clothing, carvings (masks), leather-work and painting.


ResourcePrice RangeDescription
Antiques$10 and upCarved dolls, sling shots, etc start around $10. Masks, Mossi Figurines, and Statues start in the 50s and go well into the 100s.


Last Updated: 12/2015. 
 

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