Gambia - Travel/Philately/Numismatics/Memorabilia Profile

The Gambia, a small country in North-West Africa bordered by Senegal and the Atlantic Ocean has a total land area of 4,007 square miles and a population of just over 1.7 million. Gambia, the smallest country of mainland Africa, is a fertile country along the Gambia River. Its economy is market-based and the major sectors of its economy are farming (peanuts), manufacturing, fishing, tourism, and a re-export trade.

Travel Resources:

November through February is the considered the best time to visit Gambia. Gambia is very popular among bird enthusiasts. Senegambia is a major attraction in this regard. Bijilo, Abuko, Baobolong, Kiang West, River Gambia, Niumi and Tanji are the other protected Nature Reserves of Gambia. Makasutu and Tumani Tenda are two prominent ecotourism sites. Kachikally Museum, and Kotu are also popular with visitors. Jollof Rice (spiced meat and rice cooked in tomato puree and vegetables), base nyebe (meat stew with vegetables), domodah (meat stewed in peanut butter with a side of rice) fufu (cooked cassava) etc., are some traditional food of Gambia. Mangoes, bananas, frapefruit, orange and papaya are also consumed.


ResourceISBN or ASINBest PriceDescription
The Gambia Bradt Travel Guide978-1841621371$20Five chapters of introductory materials for travelers covering over 100 pages followed by region wise coverage including Banjul, The Coastal Resorts and Serrekunda, Western Division, North Bank Division, Lower River Division, Central River Division, Upper River Division, and Side Trips into Senegal.
Senegal and Gambia Travel Map978-1553413981$13Gambia – 1:340,000 scale. Senegal – 1:740,000. Includes inset maps of Dakar and Banjul and a place name index.
Gambia Grounded Adapter Plug – GUDB001FD7DH4$8


Philatelic Profile:

The first stamps of The Gambia were Queen Victoria (QV) key types released in 1869. The set (Scott #1 and #2) catalogs for around $500 mint and about half that for used. The same issues were reissued with a watermark in 1874 and with different watermarks, colors, denominations, and perforations in 1880 and 1886. Those sets (Scott #3 to #4, #5 to #11, and #12 to #19) are also valuable fetching in the hundreds of dollars. The area around Gambia River had a history of big colonial activity with both France and Great Britain struggling for power with Great Britain succeeding with the Treaty of Versailles in 1783. Over 3 million slaves are estimated to have been taken from the region during the three centuries of transatlantic slave trade. King Edward VII (KEVII) key types and King George V (KGV) key types along with a few surcharge overprints were the primary stamp issues of Gambia until 1922.

Original issues showing KGV, KGVI, and Queen Elizabeth II (QE) along with local themes were issued starting in 1922. The sets (Scott #102 to #120, #132 to #143, and #153 to #167) are also valuable cataloging in the $100 range.



Other issues of The Gambia enjoying good philatelic interest include:
  1. A set of thirteen stamps released on November 4, 1963 in the Birds theme. The set (Scott #175 to #187) catalogs for around $80 MNH and around half that for used. The designs show long-tailed sunbird, yellow-mantled whydah, cattle egret, yellow-bellied parrot, ring-necked parakeet, amethyst starling, village weaver, rufous-crowned roller, red-eyed turtle dove, double-spurred francolin, palm-nut vulture, orange-cheeked waxbill, and emerald cuckoo. This was followed by a sister set of thirteen stamps on February 18, 1966. That set (Scott #215 to #227) is relatively inexpensive at around $10 MNH or used. The designs show red-cheeked cordon bleu, white-faced tree duck, red-throated bee eater, pied kingfisher, yellow-crowned bishop, fish eagle, Bruce’s green pigeon, blue-bellied roller, African pigmy kingfisher, spur-winged goose, little woodpecker, violet plantain eater, and pintailed whydah.
  2. A set of thirteen stamps released on July 1, 1971 in the Fish from Gambian Waters theme. The set (Scott #253 to #265) catalogs for around $15 MNH and $23 used. The designs show yellowfin tuna, Peters’ momyrid, tropical two-wing flying fish, African sleeper goby, yellowtail snapper, West African eel cat, tiger shark, electric catfish, swamp eel, smalltooth sawfish, barracuda, and brown bullhead.
  3. A set of four stamps released on November 29, 1976 featuring fauna. The set (Scott #341 to #344) catalogs for around $80 MNH and $7 used. There is a souvenir sheet that catalogs for around $100 MNH and $10 used. The designs show serval cat, harnessed antelope, sitatunga, and leopard. Several other sets in the fauna theme and showing the Wildlife Fund symbol were issued over the years. Many of those sets catalog in the tens of dollars range.
  4. A set of sixteen stamps released on July 11, 1983 in the Marine Transportation theme. The set (Scott #465 to #480) catalogs for around $15 MNH and $20 used. The designs show canoes, upstream ferry, dredging vessel, harbor launch, freighter, 60-foot launch, multi-purpose vessel, large sailing canoe, passenger cargo ferry, cargo liner, fishing boats, Peanut River Train, groundnutter, Banjul-Barra Ferry, Binlang Bolong, and passenger cargo ferry. Starting in 1987, Gambia started issuing hundreds of stamps per year as opposed to close to 50 in previous years. Many of those sets are very colorful but because of the volume issued, not especially valuable.
Numismatic Profile:

The first coins of Gambia were Colonial Era Sterling Coinage denominated in Pennies issued in 1966. The bronze coins with QE bust in Obverse and Sailing Vessel with Denomination in Reverse has high mintage (3.6M) and catalogs for around a dollar in BU. Republican Decimal Coinage started in 1971 with the issue of a Bronze coin denominated in Butut (100 Bututs = 1 Dalasi) . The design shows President’s bust in Obverse and Peanuts and Denomination in Reverse. That coin also has high mintage and catalogs well under a dollar for BU. Prior to 1966, it used the coinage of British West Africa. They have issued commemorative gold coins since 1995.

Numismatic items of The Gambia include:


ItemPrice RangeDescription
Coins$1 and upButut UNCs from the 1990s starts around $1. UNC Shillings from the 1970s, 10th anniversary 10 Dalasis Silver, Multi-colored marine life protection issue of 1997, etc starts around $25. Silver proofs from the 1970s onward starts around $50. Low mintage silver commemoratives go into the 100s.
Paper Money$3 and upUNCs from the 2000s starts around $3. Year sets from the 2000s in UNC starts around $25. Z replacements, bundles, etc starts around $50 and go into the 100s for rare varieties.

Collectible Memorabilia:

Masks, batik, tie and dye clothing, wood carvings, basket weaving and traditional African artifacts are the popular keepsakes from Gambia.


Last Updated: 12/2015.

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