El Salvador - Travel/Philately/Numismatics/Memorabilia Profile

El Salvador, a country in Central America bordered by Guatemala, Honduras, Pacific Ocean, and Gulf of Fonseca has a total land area of 8124 square miles and a population of over 6.13 million. El Salvador is the smallest and the most densely populated country in Central America. Even though natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes has wrecked El Salvador's economy the country currently has a steadily growing economy. Agriculture, fishing, food processing, chemicals and electricity are themajor industries. In the recent years tourism has also grown rapidly.

Travel Resources:

El Salvador is not very touristy - lack of nature themed tourist destinations as in the other countries of Central America and drug related crimes are the major reasons why tourists are held at bay. However effort is underway to reverse this trend and chief among them is the Politur, a Police Branch of the Ministry of Tourism. Most tourists visiting the country feel safe and are pleasantly surprised to notice that most rumors about the country are false. The major attractions are Apaneca, Juayua, Mayan sites of San Andre and Tazumal, and the secluded beaches. The most notable Salvarodan dish is the Papusa – a thick corn tortilla stuffed with cheese, chicken and refried beans.


ResourceISBN or ASINBest PriceDescription
Explorer’s Guide El Salvador: A Great Destination978-1581571141$14Sections on San Salvador, Western Beaches, Eastern Beaches, Western El Salvador, Suchitoto and the Artisan Route, and Eastern El Salvador.
El Salvador Travel Map978-1553411987$121:250,000 Scale. Inset plan of San Salvador and Name Index included. City maps of San Salvador, San Miguel and Suchitoto with points of interests marked.
El Salvador Grounded Adapter Plug – GUAB001FDA8CQ$8

Philatelic Profile:

The first stamps of El Salvador were a set of four stamps released in 1867 showing the volcano San Miguel. The set (Scott #1 to #4) catalogs for around $8 mint or used. A handstamped variety was issued in 1874 and that set (Scott #5 to #8) catalogs for around $40 mint and around $30 used. This set was followed in 1879 by a set of five stamps in different colors in the Coat of Arms theme. The set (Scott #13 to #17) catalogs for around $35 mint and around half that for used. A number of different themes and certain overprints appeared during the period till 1898. Many of those sets are remarkably inexpensive cataloging for less than $10. Chief among them was a set of twelve stamps released in 1898 showing an allegory of Central American Union in different colors. The set (Scott #177 to #188) catalogs for around $2 mint and around $4 used. A variety that has a vertical overprint on part of the set was issued the following year and that set (Scott #189 to #191B) is rare and valuable cataloging for around $300 mint or used. The country attained Independence from Spain in 1821 as part of the First Mexican Empire. It was also part of the Central American Federation and the United States of Central America until it attained independence as a separate country on November 13, 1898.

El Salvador released a set of eight stamps in 1921 in the History theme. The set (Scott #474 to #481) catalogs for around $20 mint and around two dollars for used. The designs show Francisco Menendez, Manuel Jose Arce, Confederation Coin, Delgado addressing crowd, Coat of Arms of Confederation, Francisco Morazan, Independence Monument, and Columbus. El Salvador released a set of ten stamps on March 16, 1935 to mark the third Central American Games. The set (Scott #538 to #542 and #C36 to #C40) catalogs for around $50 mint and around $40 used. The designs show Allegories of a discus thrower in different colors. A ‘Habiltado’ overprinted variety of the same set was issued on June 27, 1935. That set (Scott #543 to #547 and #C41 to #C45) catalogs for around $70 mint and around $40 used.

Other issues of El Salvador enjoying good philatelic interest include:
  1. A long set of twenty two stamps released on June 1, 1954 showing local scenes. The set (Scott #652 to #673) catalogs for around $7 MNH and a little less for used. The designs show Coastal Bridge, Motherland and Liberty, Census Allegory, Balboa Park, National Palace, Izalco Volcano, Guayabo Dam, Lake Llopango, Housing Development, Coast Guard Boat, and Modern Highway.
  2. A set of six stamps released on October 24, 1969 in the Social Security theme. The set (Scott #799 to #801 and #C260 to #C262) catalogs for around $8 MNH and around half that for used. The country went through a 12-year civil war between 1980 and 1992. It was fought in the context of the Cold War, with Cuba and USSR backing the leftist rebels and the United States backing the right wing government.
  3. A set of eight stamps released on April 6, 1992 in the Protect the Environment theme. The set (Scott #1298 to #1307) catalogs for around $25 MNH and around $20 used. The designs show man riding bicycle, children walking outdoors, sower in field, clean water, natural foods, recycling center, conservation of trees and nature, and wildlife protection.
  4. A vertical strip of four stamps released on December 10, 2003 in the Tourism theme. The set (Scott #1593a-d) catalogs for around five dollars MNH or used. The set catalogs for Brotherhood of Panchimalco, Church Cupola of Juayua, Shalpa Beach of La Libertad, and Tazumal Ruins.
Numismatic Profile:

The first coins of El Salvador were State of El Salvador Provisional Coinage (16 Reales = 1 Escudo) silver Reals (1/2, 2, and 4 Real) released in 1828 during the siege of San Salvador. The designs showed volcano and date in Obverse and Column with Liberty Cap in Reverse. Several different types of countermarked coins were also introduced in the 19th century. Decimal Coinage (100 Centavos = 1 Peso) debut in 1889 with the introduction of a Copper-Nickel Centavo showing a portrait of Francisco Morazan in Obverse and Denomination in Reverse. It catalogs for around $25 in UNC and over $200 for Proof. The first gold coin was 0.1167 troy ounce 2-and-half Pesos coin issued in 1892 in low mintage (597). The issue is rare and is valued in the $2000 range for UNC.

Numismatic items of El Salvador include:


ItemPrice RangeDescription
Coins$1 and upCommon Centavos in UNC starts around $1. Year Sets in AU starts around $10. Silver and Gold Proofs start around $50 and go into the 100s.
Paper Money$4 and upReplica proofs from the 1940s onward starts around $4. Guerrilla Overprints from the 1970s in UNC starts around $30. Early Specimens and Proofs go into the 100s.


Collectible Memorabilia:

Art and antiques are the popular reminders of a trip to this country.


ResourcePrice RangeDescription
Art$15 and upCuban Political Posters start around $15. Original historically relevant antique photos start around $30. Original works by Carlos Gomex, Restrike, etc start around $35.
Miscellaneous Collectibles$5 and upFlags, patches, etc start around $5. Hand Painted Wood Fold Art Crosses, Trinkets, etc start around $15. Mayan Ceramic Clay Masks, Machetes, Ceramic Folk Art Curios, etc start around $25.

Last Updated: 12/2015. 

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