Guinea-Bissau - Travel/Philately/Numismatics/Memorabilia Profile

Guinea-Bissau, a country in Western Africa bordered by Senegal, Guinea, and the Atlantic Ocean has a total land area of 13,948 square miles and a population of over 1.65 million. Guinea Bissau is a petite country on the west coast of Africa. It is one of the poorest nations of the world and has the lowest Human Development Index value. Adding further woe is its involvement in drug trade. Agriculture is the major sector of its economy. The country is trying to snap out of its financial woes by improving tourism for it does have what it takes to enjoy an authentic African experience – local cultures, historic towns, beaches and African wildlife.

Travel Resources:

The best time to visit Guinea Bissau is December through February. As tourism facilities are very limited, it is the adventurous and the travel hardy that can make the most from a visit to this country. Bijagos Archipalego is a popular destination not only for lodging facilities but also because most everything Guinea Bissau has to offer can be experienced there. Game hunting, fishing, biking, and relaxing by the beaches are some of the major activities here.


ResourceISBN or ASINBest PriceDescription
Universal World Wide Travel Charger AdapterB001MGUB9Q$4


Philatelic Profile:

The first stamps of Guinea-Bissau were a set of four stamps released on September 10, 1974 to mark the first anniversary of the proclamation of Independence. The set (Scott #345 to #348) catalogs for around $30 MNH and around $10 used. The designs show Amilcar Cabral, map of Africa, and Flag. Amilcar Cabral known as Abel Djassi was a patriot and freedom fighter who led African nationalist movements in Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde. He was assassinated months before Independence by Portuguese agents who had penetrated the Party of Independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde (PAIGC).  He founded the PAIGC in 1956 and led a guerrilla movement from 1963 that escalated into a military conflict with Portuguese authorities.

A couple of sets in the same theme and an overprint on a Portuguese Guinea issue followed in 1975. The first of those sets (Scott #350 to #353) released in the same month feature the same theme in a different color combination. The set catalogs for around $13 MNH and around half that for used. The second set (Scott #354 to #359) is sought after and catalogs for around $40 MNH and $15 used. The designs show the Flag and Arms along with: Amilcar Cabral, President Luiz Cabral, Amilcar Cabral’s 51st birthday anniversary, 19th anniversary of the African Party of Independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde, and the 2nd anniversary of the Proclamation of Independence. Luiz Cabral’s Socialist single-party government is blamed to have ruined the country by the end of his tenure in 1980 following a coup. A series of coups followed and that legacy still continues.

Other issues of Guinea-Bissau enjoying good philatelic interest include:
  1. A set of seven stamps released on August 15, 1984 in the African World Heritage theme showing Wood Sculptures. The set (Scott #579 to #585) catalogs for around $12 MNH and $2 used. The designs show Pearl Throne of Cameroun and Central Africa, antelope of South Sudan, kneeling woman of East Africa, mask from the West African coast, leopard from Guinea coast, standing woman from Zaire, and funerary statues of South East Africa and Madagascar.
  2. A set of eight stamps released in July of 1987 which were overprints on Portuguese Guinea issues. The set (Scott #696 to #703) catalogs for around $135 MNH and around $40 used. This set is the most expensive set of Guinea-Bissau.
  3. A set of four stamps and a souvenir sheet released on September 10, 1991 in the Birds theme. The set (Scott #912 to #915) catalogs for around $8 MNH and $5 used. The designs show lizard buzzard, black crowned crane, Abyssinian ground horn-bill, and saddle-billed stork. 
Numismatic Profile:

The first coins of Guinea-Bissau were Bronze Centavos issued in 1933. The first issues showed Denomination above Date in Obverse and Liberty Head in Reverse. Republican Era Decimal Coinage debut in 1977 with the introduction of Aluminum and Aluminum-Bronze Centavos in the FAO series in 1977. The designs showed National Arms and Date in Obverse and Flora and Denomination in Reverse. Guinea-Bissua issued a number of Silver Proofs with low mintage.

Numismatic Items of Guinea-Bissau include:



ItemPrice RangeDescription
Coins$15 and upThe 1977 FAO issues, Escudos from the 1940s, etc in UNC starts around $15. Silver proofs from the 1990s starts around $30.
Paper Money$2 and upRecent UNCs starts around $2. Slave Trade Commemoratives in UNC, High Values, etc starts around $10. UNC Bundles, Rare Replacements and Specimens, etc starts around $50 and can go well into the 100s.


Last Updated: 12/2015.

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