Cayman Islands - Travel/Philately/Numismatics/Memorabilia Profile

Cayman Islands are a set of three islands located in the Western Caribbean Sea. The islands are Grand Cayman (75 square miles), Cayman Brac (14 square miles), and Little Cayman (10 square miles). The islands are flat coral heads covering peaks of an underwater ridge standing 8000 feet from the sea floor. The highest point is just 140 feet above sea level. The total land area is just over 100 square miles with a population of around 60,000. Cayman Islands has the highest standard of living in the Caribbean with a per-capita GDP (ppp) of around $50,000. The area is a major international financial center – residents and Cayman Islands companies are not directly taxed. Government finances are supported through indirect taxation – there is a duty on most imported goods and tourist accommodations.

Travel Resources:

The climate is tropical with a wet season of warm, rainy summers followed by a dry season of comparatively cool winters. Barring the hurricane season, Cayman receives a steady throng of visitors from all age groups. Cayman has many family entertainment options such as the Turtle Farm, Sting Ray City, dive sites, snorkeling, shipwrecks, hiking trails, tours and of course the beaches. Conch (mollusc) has been the main source of protein for Caymanians for centuries. Jamaican influence is evident in the jerks and curries, and coconut, plantain, breadfruit, yams, cassava, rice and peas are consumed regularly. Tuna, turtle, eel, mackerel, dolphin, crab and swordfish are regularly featured in the seafood menu.


ResourceISBN or ASINBest PriceDescription
Frommer’s Portable Cayman Islands978-0470470619$11Good maps, hotel and restaurant reviews, sights, shopping, and nightlife. Practical tips, planner, and an introductory ‘best of the Cayman Islands’ section.
Fodor’s in Focus Cayman Islands978-1400004782$10Introductory ‘Experience Cayman Islands’ section followed by sections on exploring, Eating, Staying, and Activities.
Cayman Islands Map by ITMB978-0921463337$9Scale 1:50,000. City map of Georgetown. Legend locates hotels, condos, and points of interest.
Cayman Islands Adapter Plug - GUAB001FDA7UE$8
AccomodationNAVaries


Philatelic Profile:

The first stamps of Cayman Islands were Queen Victoria Keytypes issued in 1900. The set of two stamps (Scott #1 & #2) catalogs for around $10 MNH and $20 used. This issue was followed by a series of King Edward VII keytypes issued 1901 (Scott #3 to #7), 1905 (Scott #8 to #12), and 1907 (Scott #13 to #16). These sets are very valuable and catalog for $130, $90, and $350 respectively for MNH and $250, $130, and $600 respectively for used. These stamps along with some varieties that have new denominations overprinted continued until 1908 when another issue (Scott #31) with a simple crown design with the denomination in the middle appeared. This was followed by a set of thirteen stamps (Scott #32 to #44) issued between 1912 and 1920 in the King George V (KGV) theme. The set is very valuable at around $400 for MNH and $675 for used. Lower denominations can be had for a few dollars but the 5sh and 10sh denominations run into the $100 range.

Below are other relevant stamp issues of Cayman Islands over the years:
  1. A set of twelve stamps released on December 5, 1932 showing King William IV and King George V. The release was to mark the centenary of the formation of the Cayman Islands Assembly. The set (Scott #69 to #80) catalogs for around $500 MNH and $750 for used.
  2. A set of twelve stamps (Scott #85 to #96) released in 1935 to 1936 timeframe showing KGV and local scenes. The set catalogs for around $350 MNH and $240 used. The designs show KGV, catboat (sail-boat with a single mast carried all the way forward), red-footed boobies (large sea bird of the gannet family), conches and coconut palms, and hawksbill turtles. This set was followed in the 1938 to 1943 by a sister set of twelve stamps in a similar theme. That set (Scott #100 to #111) catalogs for around $135 MNH and $50 for Used. The designs show beach view of Grand Cayman, dolphin, hawksbill turtles, map of the Islands, and Cayman schooner.
  3. A set of thirteen stamps (Scott #122 to #134) released on October 2, 1950 showing local scenes. The set catalogs for around $60 MNH and $50 used. The designs show coconut grove, green turtle, thatch rope industry, Caymanian seamen, map, parrot fish, Bluff at Cayman Brac, George Town Harbor, turtle “crawl”, Cayman schooner, boat building, and government offices. 
  4. A set of fifteen stamps (Scott #153 to #167) released on November 28, 1962 showing local scenes and Queen Elizabeth II. The set (Scott #153 to #167) catalogs for around $75 MNH and $50 used. The designs show Cayman parrot, catboat, orchid, May of Islands, fisherman casting net, West Bay Beach, green turtle, Cayman schooner, angler with kingfish, iguana, swimming pool at Cayman Brac, girl and sailboat, Fort George, Coat of Arms, and Queen Elizabeth.
  5. A set of fifteen stamps (Scott #210 to #224) released on June 5, 1969 showing more local scenes. The set catalogs for around $10 MNH and a little more for used. The set is special in that after the currency conversion, the same set was reissued with the new denominations overprinted as a surcharge. That set (Scott #227 to #241) also has similar catalog value. The designs show Grand Cayman thrush, Brahman cattle, blowholes on coast, map of Grand Cayman, town scene in George Town, Royal Poinciana, map of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, motor vessels at berth, basket making, beach scene, rope making, barracudas, Government House, Coat of Arms, and Queen Elizabeth II.
  6. A set of twelve stamps (Scott #562 to #573) released on September 15, 1986 showing Marine Life. The set catalogs for around $35 MNH and $45 used. The designs show rhynchocinetes rigeus, nemaster rubiginosa, Calcinus tibicen, rhodactis sanctithomae, spriobranchus gigantea, diodon holacanthus, pseudocorynactis aribbeorum, astrophyton muricatum, cyphoma gibbosum, conolylactis gigantea, malacoctenus boehlkei, and lima scabra.
  7. A set of five stamps (Scott #681 to #685) released on April 21, 1994 showing West Indian Whistling Ducks. The set catalogs for around $15 MNH and around $10 for used. The designs show whistling ducks in Action: one standing, landing in water, four ducks engaged in activities, one raising wings, and an adult and chick. 

Numismatic Profile:

Cayman Islands started issuing coins of their own in 1972 following decimalization. Prior to this, Jamaican dollar was the currency. The first issues were bronze coins denominated in Cents with QEII and Date in Obverse and the Great Cayman Thrush in Reverse. The coins are not especially valuable cataloging for well under a dollar for UNC. Cayman Islands have issued a number of commemorative gold proofs over the years.

Numismatic items of Cayman Islands include:


ItemPrice RangeDescription
Coins$2 and upCommon UNCs start around $2. Low Mintage varieties from the 70s start around $5. Silver dollar proofs start around $25. Commemorative gold proofs go well into the 100s depending on bullion value and mintage.
Paper Money$2 and upRecent UNCs start around $2. Commemorative banknotes in UNC start around $15. UNC Replacements, Low Numbers, etc start around $30. Scarce High Value ($50 and above) UNCs go into the 100s.


Collectible Memorabilia:


ResourcePrice RangeDescription
Hard Rock Café Memorabilia$3 and upRecent magnets start around $3 and can go up to $100 or so for the first series.
Souvenirs$5 and upMarine themed items such and gold and silver cuff-links, money clips, necklaces, etc fetch a good premium


Last Updated: 12/2015. 
 

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