Cape Verde - Travel/Philately/Numismatics/Memorabilia Profile

Cape Verde, an archipelago of ten islands and eight islets, is located about 375 miles off the coast of West Africa. It has a land area of around 1550 square miles with a population of around 510. It receives a modest amount of annual rainfall, enough to classify it as a semi-desert. It has a per-capita GDP of around $3,500 (ppp). Almost half the population lives in rural areas doing sustenance farming and fishing. Remittances from the expatriate population and foreign aid contribute to the economy along with tourism and light manufacturing.

Travel Resources:

Cape Verde has a tropical climate throughout the year although it is milder than that of the African mainland. The best time to visit is between April and July when the rain is not in attendance and the temperatures are pleasantly hot. It aims to please the visitor with its beaches, wave surfing conditions (with numerous wave spots), wind surfing, hiking trails and various tours. The cuisine like its people is wonderful blend of African, Portuguese, and Brazilian fare. Rated worldwide as among the best for exquisite way of preparing and serving of food Cape Verdean cuisine is an attraction in itself. Couscous and catchupa is considered the national dish. Cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, ginger and paprika work their way into most dishes.


ResourceISBN or ASINBest PriceDescription
Cape Verde Islands Bradt Travel Guide978-1841622767$19A good introduction to the country followed by detailed description of the islands.
Cape Verde Travel Map978-1553411598$111:500,000 Scale. Inset maps of Sao Nicolau, Sao Vicente, Fogo, Santiago and Santiago’s city of Praia, Brava, and Sao Antao.
Cape Verde Islands Grounded AdapterB001FD7CSO$8


Philatelic Profile:

The first stamps of Cape Verde were released in 1877 and show the ‘Crown of Portugal’ in different single-colors. Most of the early issues of Cape Verde were keytypes issued in all Portuguese colonies. The set (Scott #1 to #9) catalogs for around $240 MNH and around $100 used. A set of five stamps in the same design (Scott #10 to #14) but with different denominations were the mainstay during the period from 1881 to 1885. That set is comparatively inexpensive at around $15 MNH and $8 used. 1886 saw the appearance of the first King Luiz Keytypes – a set of nine stamps (Scott #15 to #23) in embossed chalk-surfaced paper. The set catalogs for around $60 MNH and around half that for used. Issues showing King Carlos, King Manuel II, King Luiz, overprints, and certain common design types dominated Cape Verdean stamp issues during the period till 1914. A long running definitive set of stamps showing the Roman Goddess Ceres was issued during the period from 1914 to 1926 – most of the Portuguese colonies issued similar stamps, key plates that differ only in the denomination and name of colony imprinted in black. They all have the inscription ‘Republica Portuguesa’. The set of forty stamps (Scott #144 to #183) catalogs for around $240 MNH and $150 used. Lower denominated individual issues in this set are very common and can be had for a few cents while the higher denominations are in the tens of dollars. A sister set in the same design was issued on May 1 1934. That set of nineteen stamps (Scott #215 to #233) catalogs for around $100 MNH and around half that for used.

Below are other relevant stamp issues of Cape Verde over the years:

  1. A set of three stamps issued on June 23, 1939 to mark the visit of the President of Portugal. The design shows an outline map of Africa in a single-color background with a pale foreground color. The set (Scott #252 to #254) catalogs for around $100 MNH and around half that for used.
  2. A set of nine stamps issued on October 1, 1948 showing Cape Verdean local scenes. The set (Scott #257 to #265) catalogs for around $70 MNH and around $30 for used. The designs show Ribeira Grande, Sao Vicente Harbor, Distant View – Mindelo, Joao de Evora Beach, Mindelo, Fire Island Volcano, and Mount Paul.
  3. A set of twelve stamps issued in July 1961 in the ‘Arms of cities and towns of Cape Verde’ theme. The set (Scott #308 to #319) catalogs for around $15 MNH and around half that for used. Arms of the following cities in a common design are depicted: Praia, Nova Sintra, Ribeira Brava, Assomada, Maio, Mindelo, Santa Maria, Pombas, Sal-Rei, Tarrafal, Maria Pia, and San Felipe. 
  4. A set of nine stamps issued on July 5, 1977 in the ‘Carved Coconut Shells’ theme. The set (Scott #375 to #383) catalogs for around $8 MNH and around half that for used. The designs show ashtray, bell on stand, lamp with Adam and Eve, hollow shell with Nativity, desk lamp, jar, jar with hinged cover, tobacco jar with palms, and stringed instrument.
  5. A set of seven stamps released on May 17, 1987 in the Tourism theme. The set (Scott #506 to #512) catalogs for around $8 MNH and around half that for used. The designs show Mindelo Bay, Hill Country, mountain peak, monument, peaks, boats, and harbor. 
  6. A set of four stamps released on February 29, 1992 in the ‘Tropical Fruits’ theme. The set (Scott #620 to #623) catalogs for around $4 MNH and around half that for used. The designs show syzgium jambos, mangifera indica, anacardium occidentale, and persea americana. A few other sets showing local flora and fauna were also released in the same year and in 1993. All of those sets are beautiful and very affordable at around a few dollars. Below are the details: A set of four stamps (Scott #629 to #632) released in November 1992 in the Sugar Cane Production theme. The designs show oxen and sugar cane, oxen yoked to press, man placing cane inside press, and the refining process; A set of four stamps (Scott #633 to #636) released around the same time showing Domestic Animals. The designs show cat, chicken, dog, and horse; A set of four stamps (Scott #637 to #640) in the Corals theme. The designs show tubastrea aurea, corallium rubrum, porites porites, and millepora alcicornis; A set of four stamps (Scott #646 to #649) released in September 1993 in the Lobsters theme. The designs show palinurus charlestoni, panulirus echinatus, panulirus regius, and scyllarides latus. A souvenir sheet showing panulirus regius was also released with this set; A set four stamps (Scott #651 to #654) released in October 1993 in the Birds theme. The designs show calonectris edwardsii, sula leucogaster, fregata magificens, and phaeton aethereus; A set of four stamps (Scott #655 to #659) released in December 1993 in the Flowers theme. The designs show rosa alexandra, strelitzia reginae, dianthus barbatus, and dahlia. 
Numismatic Profile:

The first coins of Cape Verde were Portuguese Colonial Bronze coins denominated in Centavos issued in 1930 with the Liberty Head in Obverse and Denomination and Date in Reverse. The first issues had mintage into the millions and catalog in the $10 range for UNC. Republican Coinage Era started in 1977 with the issue of Aluminum coins with Emblem within Wreath and Date in Obverse and Denomination above Fish in Reverse. Those issues are fairly common and catalog for less than a dollar in UNC. Gold Proofs issued in the 80s and 90s in 10, 50, 100, and 2500 Escudos are valued highly and is very collectible.

Numismatic items of Cape Verde include:


ItemPrice RangeDescription
Coins$2 and upCommon UNCs start around $2. Silver Proofs from the 70s and 80s and certain coins from the 1930s in VF start around $20.
Paper Money$5 and upUNC banknotes from the 2000s starts around $5. UNCs from the 70s and specimens from the 80s start around $20. High Value (2000 Escudos) specimens start around $50. 1950s and prior specimens go into the 100s.


Collectible Memorabilia:

Wood carvings, local crafts, pottery, and jewelry are the main souvenirs.



ResourcePrice RangeDescription
Maps, photos, paintings, and small curios$2 and upPrints of 18th century maps and postcards start around $2. Originals go for much higher.



Last Updated: 12/2015.
 

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