Cameroon - Travel/Philately/Numismatics/Memorabilia Profile

Cameroon, in Central Western Africa, is bordered by Nigeria, Chad, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Congo, and the Atlantic Ocean (Bight of Bonny – Gulf of Guinea). Human presence dates back to the Neolithic period (around 9000 BC). Cameroon has a land area of about 185,000 square miles and a population close to 19 million. The country has an eclectic terrain characterized by the coast, desert, mountains, rainforest, and the savanna. It has a per capita GDP of around $2300 (PPP) – majority of the people depend on sustenance farming for livelihood although factory-based industry accounts for around 30% of the GDP. The country is characterized as ‘not free’ in terms of people’s rights, as the President of Cameroon controls everything and his party is the sole legal one.

Travel Resources:

Tourism is not a full-fledged industry yet in Cameroon. Drawing on its diverse terrain, Cameroon’s tag-line to attract travelers is ‘Africa in miniature’ experience.  The dry months from November through February are considered tourist friendly. Herd viewing is best during this time as vegetation is at its thinnest and game is concentrated to the water sources. North Cameroon is the strongest magnet with Africa’s iconic animals – cheetahs, chimpanzees, elephants, giraffes, zebras, hippopotami, rhinoceroses, and many unique species of birds. Poor travel conditions and corrupt officials are the chief obstacles tourists encounter. The major cities are Maroua, Yaounde, and Douala. Typical Cameroonian diet is mostly starchy food eaten with spicy, hot stews or soups. Skewered meat, fried fish, curries and soups are consumed with fufu made from yams, cassava or plantains.


ResourceISBN or ASINBest PriceDescription
Cameroon Bradt Tavel Guide978-1841622484$22Detailed guide to the provinces along with a practical introduction.
Culture and Customs of Cameroon978-0313332319$42Great introduction to the people and culture of Cameroon.
Cameroon and Gabon Travel Map978-1553411574$131:1,500,000 Cameroon and 1:950,000 Gabon scales.
Cameroon Grounded Adapter Kit – GUB and GUFB001FD5D5I$15


Philatelic Profile:

The first stamps of Cameroon were issued in 1897 and were overprints on German issues from the same year. The set of six stamps (Scott #1 to #6) catalog for around $60 MNH and around $100 for used. The first original issues were a set of thirteen stamps (Scott #7 to #19) released in 1900. The design shows the German Emperor’s (Kaiser) Personal Imperial Yacht “Hohenzollern” in two different sizes and many colors. The design itself is a common design type used in many other colonial issues from the period. The set catalogs for around $275 MNH and $720 used. The same stamps were reissued with a different watermark between 1905 and 1918. That set catalogs for around $35 MNH. A couple of used stamps in the set (Scott #23 and #25) fetch a huge premium ($125 and $4750 respectively) as they are extremely rare. There is also a reissue of the same set in 1915 under British occupation. That set (Scott #53 to #65) features a ‘C.E.F.’ (Cameroons Expeditionary Force) overprint along with a surcharge. The set is very expensive as they were only used for a very short period and catalog for around $900 MNH and over $3600 for used. Varieties with double surcharges and inverted overprints fetch a premium. Counterfeits and forged overprints do exist as well. The areas under French Occupation issued a long set of fifteen overprints (Scott #101 to #115) the same year. This set is also very expensive at around $1800 for MNH and $1500 for used. The following Gabon issues were used in the overprints: Scott #37, #49-#52, #54, #57, #58, #60, #62 to #64, #66, and #69 to #71. A few other overprints on Middle Congo issues from 1907 were also issued between 1916 and 1921. These sets (Scott #116 through #146) are relative more affordable – many individual issues can be had for less than a dollar while some of them are valued into the fifties.


Below are other relevant stamp issues of Cameroon over the years:
  1. A long set of forty two stamps (Scott #120 to #211) issued between 1925 and 1938 featuring local scenes. The set is somewhat affordable at around $65 for MNH and $40 used. The designs show herder and cattle crossing Sanaga River, tapping rubber tree, and rope suspension bridge. A sister set of thirty stamps (Scott #225 to #254) followed in 1939 in the same theme. That set catalog for around $30 MNH and $25 used. The designs show Mandara woman (native of Mandara mountains, a descendent of the Mandara Kingdom), Falls on M’bam River (tributary of Sanaga River) near Banyo, elephants, and Man in Yare.
  2. A set of nineteen stamps (Scott #304 to #321) released in 1946 in the ‘People of Cameroon’ theme. The designs show Tikar women (native of North Western Cameroon), porters carrying bananas, bowman, Lamido (traditional ruler) horsemen, and farmer. The set catalogs for around $12 MNH and $5 used.
  3. A set of fifteen stamps (Scott #358 to #372) released in 1962 in the Animals theme. The set catalogs for around $15 MNH and $3 used. The designs show moustache monkey, elephant at Ntem Falls, Buffon’s kob (Kobus Kob Kob), hippopotamus, manatee at Lake Ossa, buffalo at Batouri (Eastern Cameroon), and giraffes at Waza Reservation (National Park of far north province, Cameroon). A couple of sets were also issued earlier in the year for use in the former United Kingdom Trust Territory of Southern Cameroons that features President Ahidjo and Prime Minister Foncha. The first set (Scott #352 to #354) catalogs for around $50 MNH and $45 used. The set (Scott #355 to #357) is a surcharged variant. These are very rare and each stamp in the set catalog for $150 MNH or used. They were in circulation only for a few days thus accounting for the rarity.
  4. A set of ten stamps (Scott #476 to #485) released on July 25, 1968 in the ‘Fish and Crustaceans’ theme. The set catalogs for around $16 MNH and $2 used. The name Cameroon was given to the area by the Portuguese on their arrival in the late fifteenth century from 'Rio dos Camaroes' - the phrase means 'River of Shrimp' as they saw plenty of fish and crustaceans in the Wouri River they navigated. The designs show river crayfish, Nile mouth-breeder, sole, common pike, crab, spade dish, shrimp, African snakehead, and threadfin.
  5. A set of five stamps (Scott #654 to #658) released on September 20, 1979 in the ‘Protected Animals’ theme. The set catalogs for around $10 MNH and a dollar for Used. The designs show rhinoceros, giraffe, gorilla, leopard, and elephant. A long series of sister sets followed starting with the issue of a set of two stamps (Scott #678 and #679) on December 24, 1980 in the 'Endangered Species' theme. The set catalogs for around $6 MNH and $2 used. Other sets in the same series are: A set of three stamps (Scott #691 to #693) released on July 20, 1981 featuring mououroum, tortoise, and scaly anteater. The set catalogs for around $4 MNH and a dollar for used; A set of three stamps (Scott #746 to #748) released on September 22, 1983 featuring civet cat, gorilla, and cobaya. The set catalogs for around $9 MNH and $2 used; Two sets of stamps (Scott #761 to #762 and #763 to #764) released in 1984 featuring wild pig, deer, nightingale, and vultures. The set catalogs for around $7 MNH and $2 used; A set of two stamps (Scott #823 and #824) released on August 20th 1986 featuring Varanus Niloticus and Panthera Pardus. The set catalogs for $6 MNH and $2 used.
  6. A set of four stamps (Scott #874 to #877) released in August 1992 in the ‘Cameroon Soccer League’ theme. The designs show Mbappe Mbappe Samuel, Linafoote League Emblem, and stadium. The set catalogs for around $12 MNH and $9 used. As the most successful African nation in soccer, the sport is the most popular in Cameroon.
Numismatic Profile:

The first coins of Cameroon were French Mandate Aluminum-Bronze 50 Centimes Issues from 1924. They have mintage into the millions but still catalog in the $100 range for UNC. Republic Standard Coinage era started in 1960 with the issue of 50 Francs Copper-Nickel Independence Commemoratives that depict three Elans in Obverse and Denomination within wreath in reverse. That issue also has high mintage (9M) and catalogs for around $10 UNC. A series of four commemorative gold coins issued in 1970 for the 10th anniversary of Cameroon’s Independence along with bullion proofs issued in the 2000s are highly valued.

Numismatic items of Cameroon include:


ItemPrice RangeDescription
Coins$2 and upCommon UNCs start around $2. Recent silver proofs start around $15. Boxed Butterfly 3D Papillon Proofs, Angel of Love 3D Holograms, etc start around $100.
Paper Money$5 and up500 Francs recent UNCs start around $5. UNCs from the 80s and prior dates start around $15.


Collectible Memorabilia:

Painted gourds, masks, jewelry, leather goods and grisfris (necklaces) are popular buys among the travelers.


ResourcePrice RangeDescription
Antiques$10 and up19th century maps start around $10, and Bamum statues start around $50 and can go into the 100s depending on the complexity and authenticity. Authentic fetishes, Kirdi Cache-Sexe African Beaded Apron, and Masks start around $100 and can go into the 1000s.


Related Posts:

  1. Nigeria
  2. Cameroons (UKTT).

Last Updated: 12/2015. 

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