Liberia - Travel/Philately/Numismatics/Memorabilia Profile

Liberia, a country on the west coast of Africa bordered by Sierra Leone, Guinea, Ivory Coast, and the Atlantic Ocean has a total land area of 43,000 square miles and a population of over around 3.96 Million. Liberia is only starting to recover from the civil wars that ravaged the country. It is among the poorest countries of the world. The major sectors of its economy are exports of natural resources like iron ore and timber.




Travel Resources: 



ResourceISBN or ASINBest PriceDescription
Long Story Bit by Bit: Liberia Retold978-1884167737$32The best account of Liberian Civil War by award winning photographer and filmmaker Tim Hetherington. He was in Liberia for four years and during the 2003 battle for Monrovia, he was one of two journalists to live behind rebel lines.
Liberia Grounded Adapter Plug Kit – GUA and GUDB0016ZS2ZS$15

Philatelic Profile:

The first stamps of Liberia were a set of three stamps released in 1860 in the “Liberia” theme. The set (Scott #1 to #3) catalogs for around $475 mint and $400 used. The name Liberia comes from liberty – the country was founded and colonized by freed American slaves in 1822. The same design continued until 1880. Three sets were released in the period. The 1864 set (Scott #7 to #9) is expensive and catalogs in the $200 range while the other two sets (Scott #13 to #15 and #16 to #20) are relatively affordable with the former cataloging for around $60 mint and the latter $25 mint. Arms and a numerals theme were the major stamp issues of Liberia till 1892. The sets released are all valuable and fetch in the $50 range.

Liberia released a long set of seventeen stamps in the 1892 to 1896 time frame showing local scenes. The set (Scott #33 to #49) catalogs for around $60 mint and $45 used. The designs show elephant, oil palm, President Hilary R. W. Johnson, Vai woman in full dress, Coat of Arms, Liberian Star, and hippopotamus. Johnson was the 11th President of Liberia serving from 1884 to 1892. Vai are an indigenous ethic group that primarily live in Liberia.

Other issues of Liberia enjoying good philatelic interest include:
  1. A long set of twelve stamps released in 1921 showing local scenes. The set (Scott #183 to #194) catalogs for around $60 mint and $5 used. The designs show Cape Mesurado, President Daniel E. Howard, arms, crocodile, pepper plant, leopard, village scene, Kru men in dugout, rapids in St. Paul’s River, Bongo antelope, hornbill, and elephant. Cape Mesurado is the place where African American settlers established the city of Monrovia in 1822. Daniel Edward Howard was the 16th President of Liberia from 1912 to 1920. Kru are an ethnic indigenous people who live in interior of Liberia.
  2. A long set of sixteen stamps released between 1948 and 1950 in the Presidents theme. The set (Scott #313 to #327 and #C65) catalogs for around $20 MNH or used. The designs show Joseph J. Roberts, Daniel B. Warner, James S. Payne, Executive Mansion, Edward J. Roye, A.W. Gardner and A.F.Russell, Hilary R.W. Johnson, Joseph J. Cheeseman, William D. Coleman, Garretson W. Gibson, Arthur Barclay, Daniel E. Howard, Charles D.B. King, and Edwin J. Barclay. Liberian Presidents reside in the Executive Mansion in Monrovia portrayed in this set.
  3. A set of six stamps released on September 1, 1976 showing African Animals. The set (Scott #763 to #768) catalogs for around $2 MNH or used. The designs show rhinoceros, zebra antelope, chimpanzee, pygmy hippopotamus, leopard, and gorilla. Pygmy hippos are an endangered species endemic to Liberia – only around 3000 of these are estimated to be in the wild.
  4. A set of three stamps released on February 10, 1993 in the Disarmament theme. The set (Scott #1156 to #1158) catalogs for around $7 MNH or used. The designs show the following allegories of Disarmament: Disarm today, Join your parents and build Liberia, and Peace must prevail in Liberia. Following a coup in 1980, the country experienced a period of instability with two civil wars that resulted in the thousands of death and the devastation of the country’s economy. Liberia conducted a peaceful election in 2005 and elected Ellen Johnson as President. 
Numismatic Profile:

The first coins of Liberia were Copper Cents issued in 1847 showing Palm Tree, Two Stars, Denomination and Year in Obverse and Liberty portrait in Reverse. The issue is valued in the $100 range for UNC. British West African Currency was in use in Liberia from 1907 to 1943 when the US dollar was declared legal tender. Liberia has issued a number of commemorative gold coin proofs over the years starting with the FAO issue of 1983. They also have issued a set of miniature gold coins termed the smallest gold coins of the world.

Numismatic items of Liberia include:


ItemPrice RangeDescription
Coins$2 and upCommon UNCs and Bus start around $2. High Value UNCs and low mintage issues start around $10. Year Sets from the 1960s onward, Silver Proofs etc start around $30. Silver Proof Sets, Millennium Silver Proofs, etc start around $50. Gold Proofs, Gold Silver Commemoratives, etc go well into the 100s.
Paper Money$4 and upCommon UNCs starts around $4. High Value UNCs start around $10. Bundles and certain early rare varieties go into the 100s.

Collectible Memorabilia:


ResourcePrice RangeDescription
Antiques$10 and up19th century maps start around $10. Bassa Maternity Statues, Passport, and other authentic tribal masks start around $50. Dan, Grebo, and other unusual masks start around $100. Mende Helmet masks, Kran Masks etc go well into the 100s and 1000s.
Art$10 and up19th century photo and local scenes art prints start around $10.



Last Updated: 12/2015.

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