Burundi - Travel/Philately/Numismatics/Memorabilia Profile

Burundi is a land-locked country in Central Africa bordered by Rwanda, Tanzania, and Democratic Republic of Congo. The southwestern border of the country is Lake Tanganyika, the 2nd largest fresh water lake in the world by volume. After World War II, the area became a United Nations Trust Territory under Belgian administration until full independence was achieved on July 1, 1962. Ethnic problems have plagued the country since then. Burundi has a land area of over 10,700 square miles and a population close to 9 million making it a very densely populated country at around 840 per square mile. It lies on a rolling plateau with average elevations of around 5600 feet and the climate is equatorial. Burundi is among the poorest countries in the world with a per-capita GDP of $400 – the country is resource-poor and the manufacturing segment is in its infancy. Tourism is picking up in the country and travel conditions have greatly improved.

Travel Resources:

Burundi has its share of attractions for visitors to enjoy. Chief among them are the mausoleum of Prince Louis Rwagasore,the Nyakazu Break, the Karera Falls, the Tanganyika Lake at Vyanda and Kabonambo, the tea plantations of Teza or Rwegura. The reservoir built at this place is surrounded by beautiful sceneries. June is the ideal time to visit the country.  Dishes like bananas and beans, Boko Boko Harees, Ugali, date and banana mix and others make up the cuisine of Burundi


ResourceISBN or ASINBest PriceDescription
Rwanda and Burundi Travel Map978-1553413820$131:300,000 scale.
Strength in What Remains by Tracy Kiddler978-0812977615$9A classic by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author! Recounts the true story of Deogratias, a medical student in Burundi before he fled the genocidal war in Burundi in 1994, ended up a homeless person in Central Park in New York, attended Columbia University and medical school, gained American Citizenship and built a clinic in Burundi.
Burundi Grounded Adapter Plug – GUBB001FDC8LK$8


Philatelic Profile:

The first stamps of Burundi were stamps of Ruanda-Urundi of 1953 overprinted ‘Burundi’ in black. The theme was ‘Flowers in Natural Colors’. The set of eight (Scott #1 to #8) are valued at around $25 MNH or used. The designs show dissotis, protea, vellozia, littonia, ipomoea, angraecum, euphorbia, ochna, hibiscus,  schizoglossum, ansellia, costus, nymphaea, thunbergia, gerbera, gloriosa, silene, and aristolochia. A sister set followed and those were overprints on Ruanda-Urundi issues of 1959 in the ‘Animals’ theme. The set of sixteen stamps (Scott #9 to #24) are valued at around $10 MNH and $5 Used. The designs show Cape buffaloes, black-and-white colobus (monkey), impalas, elephants, eland and zebras, leopard, and lions.



Below are other relevant stamp issues of Burundi over the years:
  1. A set of nine stamps (Scott #25 to #33) released on September 27, 1962 to mark Burundi’s independence. The design shows King Mwami Mwambutsa IV and royal drummers, flag and arms of Burundi, and map of Burundi and King. The set is remarkably affordable at around $4 MNH and $2 used. 
  2. A long set of twenty two stamps released on February 10, 1964 in the Animals theme. Burundi started issuing CTOs (canceled to order) stamps starting with this issue. For this reason, most used stamps after this period is valued very low unless they are postally used. The set (Scott #73-87 and c1-c7) catalogs for around $35 MNH and $8 used. The designs show impala, hippopotamus, giraffe, Cape buffalo, zebra, defassa waterbuck, cheetah, and elephant.
  3. A long set of twenty five stamps issued in 1966 in the Flowers theme. The set (Scott #141 to #156 and c17-c25) catalogs for around $35 MNH and $6 used. The design shows protea, crossandra, ansellia, thunbergia, schizoglossum, dissotis, gazania, hibiscus, and markhamia. The same set was reissued in 1967 with the ‘Royaume du Burundi’ inscription replaced with ‘Republique Du Burundi’ inscription. That set (Scott #159 to #173 and c27-c35) is more valuable at around $50 MNH and $12 used.
  4. A long set of twenty five stamps issued in 1968 in the Butterflies theme. The set (Scott #240 to #255 and c66 to c74) catalogs for around $95 MNH and $8 Used. The design shows salamis aethiops, graphium ridleyanus, cymothoe, charaxes eupale, papilio bromius, teracolus annae, salamis aethiops, papilio zonobia, danais chrysippus, and salamis temora.
  5. A set of five stamps released in February 1979 in the ‘Paintings of the Virgin and Child’ theme. As a Christian majority country (around two-thirds of the population), Burundi has issued several such stamps over the years. The set (Scott #543 to #547) catalogs for around $10 MNH or used. The design shows paintings by Rubens, Solario, Tiepolo, Gerard David, and Bellini.
  6. A set of five stamps released on May 1, 1986 to mark the tenth anniversary of the Great Lake Nations (Burundi, Rwanda, Zaire) Economic Community (CEPGI). The set (Scott #643 to #647) catalogs for around $20 MNH and $10 used. The design shows an outline map of Lake Tanganyika and CEPGI emblem in a common design along with the following insets: aviation, agriculture, industry, electrification, and flags of Burundi, Rwanda, and Zaire.
  7. A set of four stamps (Scott #746 to #749) released on June 4, 1996 in the ‘Fish of Lake Tanganyika’ theme. The set catalogs for around $7 MNH or used. The designs show julidochromis malieri, cyphotilapia frontosa, lamprologus brichardi, and synodonis petricola. Lake Tanganyika is a vital resource for close to ten million people living around the lake and provides for a large percentage of the protein in people’s diets. The downside is that pelagic fish population is going down.
  8. A stamp (Scott #757) released on February 28, 2000 in the ‘Fight Against Hunger’ theme. It catalogs for around $2 MNH or used and feature Danny Kaye, the actor and UNICEF ambassador holding a child.
Numismatic Profile:

The first coin of Burundi was a Franc denominated Brass coin issued in 1965. The coin has high mintage (10M) and is valued at around $3 for UNC. All other coins from this period were Copper-Nickel, Silver, and Gold commemorative proofs and those are valued based on mintage and bullion value. Republican era coinage (1970 onwards) is characterized by a few coins with very high mintage and certain gold commemorative proofs and sets that have high valuations.

Numismatic items of Burundi include:


ItemPrice RangeDescription
Coins$1 and upCommon UNCs start around $1. Silver and Gold Proof sets go into the 100s.
Paper Money$1 and upCommon UNCs start around $1. High value (2000 Francs and up) UNCs start around $10. UNC bundles start around $15. Burundi Overprints, Rare Dates, VF from the 60s, and Specimen Varieties can go into the 100s.


Collectible memorabilia:

Burundi baskets are the most popular takeaway.


Last Updated: 12/2015. 
 

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