Ivory Coast - Travel/Philately/Numismatics/Memorabilia Profile

Ivory Coast, a country in West Africa bordered by Liberia, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, and the Gulf of Guinea has a total land area of 124,502 square miles and a population of around 20.62 million. Ivory Coast is the largest producer of cocoa in the world. The primary sector is agriculture and the cash crops are cocoa and agriculture. The ongoing political problems have been a major setback for its economy. The largest church building, the Yamoussoukro is in Ivory Coast.




Travel Resources:


ResourceISBN or ASINBest PriceDescription
Country Profile and Guide to Cote d’Ivoire978-1422012840$15US Government national travel guide book - two CD-Rom set.
Michelin Ivory Coast Map978-2067128385$11
Ivory Coast Grounded Adapter Plug – GUBB001FDA5BU$8


Philatelic Profile:

The first stamps of Ivory Coast were a set of seventeen key types of French issues with the inscription ‘Cote D’Ivoire’ released between 1892 and 1900. The set (Scott #1 to #17) catalogs for around $400 mint and $275 used. The design shows an allegory of Navigation and Commerce. This was followed by another key type issued between 1906 and 1907. That set (Scott #21 to #36) catalogs for around $220 mint and $185 used. The designs show General Louis Faidherbe, Oil Palm, and Dr. Eugene Ballay. A river scenes set along  with several surcharge overprints and overprints on Upper Volta issues were the main stamp issues of Ivory Coast until 1936. A long set of forty one stamps (Scott #1121 to #1151) showing local scenes debuted in 1936 and they formed the first original issues. That set catalogs for around $30 mint and around $20 used.  The designs show Baoule woman, rapids on Comoe River, mosque at Bobo-Dioulasso, and coastal scene. Baoule are the largest ethnic group in Ivory Coast. Interestingly, areas in present day Burkina Faso (Upper Volta) are depicted in this set – Comoe River runs through the border while the Bobo-Dioulasso is the 2nd largest city in Burkina Faso today. For administrative reasons, French government attached parts of Burkina Faso to Ivory Coast at the time.

From 1904 to 1958, Ivory Coast was part of the unit of the Federation of West Africa. Until the end of World War II, French colonial policy was categorized as one of association, meaning Africans in Ivory Coast were French subjects without rights to representation. Following World War II, many positive changes were implemented – abolition of forced labor along with the right to organize politically. Starting in 1945, French West African stamps were used in Ivory Coast. The colony of Ivory Coast became an autonomous member of the French community in 1958 and independence was achieved on August 7, 1960. Ivory Coast released a set of three stamps on October 1, 1959 in the Republic theme. The set (Scott #167 to #169) catalogs for around $2 MNH and around a dollar for used. The design showed an African elephant in the wild. A stamp (Scott #170) was also released on December 4, 1959 to mark the first anniversary of the Proclamation of the Republic. That stamp is also fairly inexpensive cataloging for less than a dollar. It features Felix Houphouet-Boigny, the first President of Ivory Coast and the father of independence. During his long tenure (1960 to 1993) as President, he crafted an economic success story in impoverished West Africa that came to be known as “Ivorian Miracle” through a strategy of strong ties with the West. After his death, the conditions in the country deteriorated due to coups and a civil war.

Other issues of Ivory Coast enjoying good philatelic interest include:
  1. A set of nine stamps released between 1965 and 1966 in the Birds theme. The set (Scott #231 to #239) catalogs for around $18 MNH and $6 used. The designs show Bruce’s green pigeon, spur-winged goose, stone partridge, white-breasted Guinea fowl, Namaqua dove, lizard buzzard, yellow-billed stork, and forest francolin. Ivory Coast has released a number of sets featuring Flora and Fauna over the years. Valuable ones include a set of four stamps (Scott #446A to #446D) released in November 1977 in the Butterflies theme (mint valued at $250), a set of two stamps (Scott #521A-B) released in 1979 in the Fish theme (mint valued at $250), and a set of four stamps (Scott #580A to 580D) released on December 30, 1980 in the Birds theme (mint valued at $400).
  2. A set of six stamps released on November 27, 1970 to mark the tenth anniversary of Independence. The set (Scott #299A-F) catalogs for around $150 MNH or used. The designs show President Houphouet-Boigny, General Charles DeGaulle, Elephants, and Coat of Arms. General Charles DeGaulle was President of France from 1959 to 1969.
  3. A set of two stamps released on November 10, 1984 in the Tourism theme. The set (Scott #731C-D) catalogs for around $130 MNH and $20 used. The designs show Le Club Valtur and Grand Lahou. Grand Lahou is a popular base to visit Assagny National Park. A couple of other sets released in the same time frame have similarly high valuations: A set of two stamps (Scott #731E-F) released on November 17, 1984 in the Flowers theme that catalogs for around $120 mint and a set of three stamps (Scott #737A-C) released in 1984 in the Birds theme that catalogs for over $400 mint. 
Numismatic Profile:

Ivory Coast has not issued coins for circulation. Instead, the West African States coins are in use. Commemorative gold and silver proofs were issued however in 1966 primarily aimed at numismatists. The issues had low mintage (~2000) and trade at a premium to bullion value.

Collectible Memorabilia:


ResourcePrice RangeDescription
Cultures and Ethnicities$20 and upBatik Tribal Paintings, Senufo Tribal Masks, etc start around $20. Funeral and Passport Masks start in the 50s. 18th century masks, Bagule Statues, Exotic Baule Masks, Colorful Guro Tribe Masks, Handcarved authentic medicine pots, Baule Hand-woven textiles and sculptures, etc go well into the 100s.
Antiques$40 and upBaule Spoons with exquisite art work start around $40. Forged Iron Snake Currency, Baule Art statues and fetishes go well into the 100s.
Art$10 and up19th century photo and other local scenes prints start around $10. Malcolm Hill Tropical Art Prints start in the 50s. Furniture and effigy figurines go into the 100s.



Last Updated: 12/2015.

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