Kenya - Travel/Philately/Numismatics/Memorabilia Profile

Kenya, a country in East Africa bordered by Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania, Lake Victoria, and the Indian Ocean has a total land area of 224,080 square miles and a population of over 39 million. Named after Mount Kenya the second highest mountain peak of Africa, Kenya is paradise for wildlife enthusiasts . The country is very varied in culture, people, terrain, and the animal species that call it home. Kenya along with its East African neighbors is considered the cradle of mankind for research indicates modern man first appeared in Kenya. The chief exports of the region are tea and coffee and more recently horticulture.

Travel Resources:

Though Kenya is a year round destination – summer is undoubtedly the favorite amongst its visitors – animals concentrate near the waterholes and visibility is high as the vegetation is at its thinnest. The major pull of Kenya are its national parks (Masai Mara, Tsavo, Amboseli, lake Nakuru) and cities like Nairobi, Mombasa, Lamu and Mount Kenya. The cuisine of Kenya is a wonderful fusion of African, Arabian and Indian influence. Kuka Puka (chicken), flat-bread (chapati), Ugali, Mtuzi wa samaki (fish) are some of their sought-after dishes.


ResourceISBN or ASINBest PriceDescription
Lonely Planet Kenya978-1741047738$18Great maps along with excellent region-wise coverage.
Kenya Travel Map by Globetrotter978-1847733672$91:300,000 scale.
Kenya Grounded Adapter Plug Kit – GUB, GUD, and GUFB001FD7ANG$24


Philatelic Profile:

The first stamps of Kenya were a long set of fourteen stamps released on December 12, 1963 showing local scenes. The set (Scott #1 to #14) catalogs for around $30 MNH and around half that for used. The designs show cattle ranching, wood carving, riveter, timber industry, Jomo Kenyatta facing Mount Kenya, fishing industry, flag and emblem, floral industry, National Assembly Building, harvesting coffee, harvesting tea, Mombasa Port, and Royal College of Nairobi. Jomo Kenyatta is considered the founding father of Kenya. He was Prime Minister from 1963 to 1964 and President from 1964 to 1968. A set of five stamps (Scott #15 to #19) showing President Jomo Kenyatta, flag of Kenya, and certain flora and fauna was released on December 12, 1964 to mark the establishment of the Republic of Kenya. That set catalogs for around $8 MNH or used. The next two sets of stamps released in 1966 and 1971 are both desirable – the first is a long set of sixteen stamps (Scott #20 to #35) in the Animals theme and the second is a long set of fifteen stamps (Scott #36 to #50) showing Sea Shells. The former catalogs for around $35 MNH and $30 used while the latter catalogs for around $30 MNH and $20 used.

Other issues of Kenya enjoying good philatelic interest include:
  1. A long set of fifteen stamps released on December 13, 1977 in the Minerals found in Kenya theme. The set (Scott #98 to #112) catalogs for around $70 MNH and $30 used. The set features gypsum, trona, kyanite, Amazonite, galena, silicified wood, fluorite, amethyst, agate, tourmaline, aquamarine, rhodolite garnet, sapphire ruby, and green grossular garnet. Contrary to the projection implied in this set, mining is yet to develop into an economically significant industry in Kenya.
  2. A set of four stamps released on January 16, 1982 in the Origins of Mankind theme. The set (Scott #212 to #215) catalogs for around $12 MNH and a little less for used. The designs show australopithecus boisei, homo erectus, homo habilis, and proconsul africanus. Kenya’s Lake Turkana area was found to have been inhabited by hominids as far back as 1.8 and 2.5 million years ago. Two years after the release of this set, another discovery at this lake was the skeleton of a boy belonging to homo erectus from 1.6 million years ago.
  3. A set of fourteen stamps released between 1993 and 1999 showing Birds. The set (Scott #594 to #610) catalogs for around $20 MNH or used. The designs show superb starling, red and yellow barbet, Ross’s turaco, greater honeyguide, African fish eagle, vulturine guineafowl, malachite kingfisher, speckled pigeon, cinnamon chested bee-eater, scarlet chested sunbird, Reichenow’s weaver, yellow-billed hornbill, lesser flamingo, and Hadada ibis.
  4. A set of five stamps released on October 9, 1997 in the Tourist Attractions theme. The set (Scott #725 to #729) catalogs for around $7 MNH and $5 used. The designs show crocodile, hot springs, Lake Bogoria, warthogs, wind surfing, and traditional huts. Another set of four stamps (Scott #767 to #770) showing historic sites of East Africa was released in 2002. That set catalogs for around $8 MNH or used and features Source of the Nile River at Jinja in Uganda, Lamu Fort in Kenya, Oduvai Gorge in Tanzania, and Thimlich Ohinga in Kenya. Tourism is Kenya’s largest foreign exchange earner. The country’s national parks, game reserves, beaches, and the animal migration from June to September are the prime attractions.
  5. A long set of eighteen stamps released on February 28, 2001 in the Crops theme. The set (Scott #749 to #766) catalogs for around $80 MNH or used. The designs show cotton, bananas, avocado, cassava, arrowroot, papayas, oranges, pyrethrum, peanuts, coconuts, sisal, cashews, tea, corn, coffee, finger millet, sorghum, and sugar cane. Agriculture is the 2nd largest contributor to GDP contributing around 20%. 
Numismatic Profile:

The first coins of Kenya were Nickel-Brass Cents (100 Cents = 1 Shilling) issued in 1966 showing Arms with supporters above value in Obverse and head portrait of Jomo Kenyatta in Reverse. The issue is inexpensive and catalogs for around two dollars in BU. The first gold coin was issued the same year to commemorate the 75th anniversary of President Jomo Kenyatta’s birth. The design shows Fly whish above value and year in Obverse and the head portrait of the President in reverse. The four-coin set (one silver) in proof has low mintage and catalogs at a good premium over bullion value.

Numismatic items of Kenya include:


ItemPrice RangeDescription
Coins$1 and upCommon UNCs, Issues from the 1960s in VF, etc start around $1. Bi-Metallic Shillings from the 1990s in XF, Early UNCs, etc starts around $5. Silver Proofs, Independence Commemorative Issues, etc go into the 100s.
Paper Money$2 and upCommon UNCs starts around $2. High value shillings from the 1980s onward in UNC start around $15. Replacements, Rare Dates, and Fancy Numbers start around $50. Jomo Kenyatta first issues in UNC, UNC Bundles, etc go well into the 100s.


Collectible Memorabilia:

Visitors shop for soapstone and wood carvings, tribal artifacts, African paintings, jewelry, and masks. Figurines, sculptures, art, and watercolors of the terrain are equally popular.


ResourcePrice RangeDescription
Cultures and Ethnicities$10 and upCarved Wood Utensils along with woven baskets start around $10. Hand Carved Soapstone Figurines start around $30. Tribal swords and weapons start around $50. Sisai baskets, Maasai utensils, etc start around $100.
Art$10 and upFlora and Fauna posters, Miniature wood-carved animals etc start around $10. Black Art Carvings, Kisii sculptures etc start around $30. Works by Heidi Lange, Leroy Neiman etc start in the 100s.
Antiques$10 and upEtched pottery, early 20th century maps etc start around $10. Massai Milk Gourds, Samburu Headrests, Massai Collar etc start in the 100s.

Related Posts:
  1. British East Africa
Last Updated: 12/2015. 



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