Equatorial Guinea - Travel/Philately/Numismatics/Memorabilia Profile

Equatorial Guinea, a small country located in Middle Africa bordered by Cameroon, Gabon, and the Gulf of Guinea has a total land area of 10,830 square miles and a population of around 650,000. The country has a Continental Region (Rio Muni) which includes several small offshore islands and an insular region comprising of Annobon Island and Bioko Island. The discovery of sizable petroleum reserves in recent years is altering the economic and political status of the country. Equatorial Guinea has been cited as an example of the natural resource curse - while the per capita GDP ranks 28th in the world most of the country's considerable oil wealth actually lies in the hands of only a few people. More than 70% of the population is under the United Nations poverty threshold of $2 per diem.

Travel Profile:

Tourism industry is very undeveloped, with limited hotel space available in Malabo and Bata. Major attractions include the Spanish colonial architecture of Malabo, the white sand beaches, and the tropical rain forests. Currently a visit to this country is worth its time only for a die-hard traveler.


Philatelic Profile:

The first stamps of Equatorial Guinea were a set of three stamps released on October 12, 1968 to mark the attainment of independence. The set (Scott #1 to #3) catalogs for around a dollar MNH or used. The design shows clasped hands and laurel. This issue was followed in 1970 and 1971 by a couple of sets featuring President Francisco Maricas Nguema as the primary theme. The sets (Scott #4 to #10 and Scott #11 to #14) are inexpensive cataloging for a few dollars each. Nguema was the first president of Equatorial Guinea. Soon, after election, he created a single-party state and started a reign of terror – the country earned the nickname “the Dachau of Africa” (Dachau was Hilter’s first concentration camp) due to political executions and human rights violations that resulted in the killing of one-fourth of the population. Education was banned, there was no economic plan, and so foreigners and skilled citizens left the country. His reign continued until the coup of August 3, 1979 when he was captured and executed following a trial.

Other issues of Equatorial Guinea enjoying good philatelic interest include:
  1. A souvenir sheet released on August 30, 1981 showcasing President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. The sheet (Scott #46) catalogs for around $8 MNH and $3 used. In the interim, a large number of semi-postals were issued. These have very limited value. Mbasogo overthrew Nguema in 1979 and formally assumed presidency in October of that year. Although Mbasogo promised change and a new start, his regime has also turned into an authoritarian single-party state, although elections are held after each term. Human rights violations, government sanctioned killings and kidnappings, along with stealing from the treasury are characteristics of his regime.
  2. A set of four stamps released on Feburary 4, 1983 showing the Fauna. The set (Scott #59 to #62) catalogs for around $5 MNH and a dollar for used. The designs show gorilla, hippopotamus, African brush-tailed porcupine (atherurus africanus), and panther (felis pardus).
  3. A set of stamps released in 1994 in the Minerals theme. The set (Scott #206 to #209) catalogs for around $12 MNH and around $7 for used. The designs show aurichalcite, pyromorphite, fluorite, and halite. Although the country has mineral resources, development is ignored. Large oil reserves were discovered in 1996 which has resulted in a dramatic rise in the country’s GDP although wealth is concentrated among relatively few people.
  4. A strip of four stamps released in 2005 in the Churches theme. The set (Scott #268a-d) catalogs for around $2 MNH or used. The designs show Cathedral in Pisa Italy, Notre-Dame-la-Grande Church in Poitiers France, Speyer Cathedral of Germany, and Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Spain. The country is predominantly Roman Catholic (87%) and christians account for around 93% of the population. 
Numismatic Profile:

The first coins of Equatorial Guinea are Aluminum-Bronze Pesetas issued in 1969. The issues have high mintage and catalogs for a few dollars in UNC. Equatorial Guinea has issued a number of commemorative silver and gold coins over the years. Chief among them is a proof set of four gold and four silver coins released in 1969 and 1970 for the tenth anniversary of independence.

Numismatic items of Equatorial Guinea include:


ItemPrice RangeDescription
Coins$3 and upEarly Pesetas in UNC starts around $3. Early Silver Proofs starts around $30. Low mintage proofs, sets, and gold coins go well into the 100s.
Paper Money$10 and upCommon UNCs starts around $10. Errors and other rare varieties start around $50.



Last Updated: 12/2015.

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