Qatar - Travel/Philately/Numismatics/Memorabilia Profile

Qatar, an Arab country in the Middle East occupying the small Qatar Peninsula on the Northerly coast of the Middle East bordered by Saudi Arabia, and the Persian Gulf has a total land area of 4,416 square miles and a population of around 1.7 million. With the third largest proven reserves of oil and natural gas in the world, Qatar is among the wealthiest of the middle-eastern countries. It had the world’s highest GDP in 2010. The biggest contributor to the economy is oil and gas and the government is trying to add non-energy sectors to the economy. The standard of living is very high and many incentives are provided to its citizens. Compared to its neighbors Qatar is considered a liberal country, but the West believes there is a lot of catching up still left to do.

Travel Resources: 

Its terrain is mostly a desert plain with rolling sand dunes at Khor al Adaid,  though there is a range of low limestone outcroppings. Qatar is pushing education to a new high with the Education City program. The city has plans in the offing to build an Entertainment City. However, the country is still to make progress in energy-saving measures and is a high consumer of energy and water.


ResourceISBN or ASINBest PriceDescription
Qatar Mini Essential Visitors Guide978-9948858805$11Good detailed information spanning 200 pages and a pull-out map.
Qatar and Doha City Travel Reference Map978-1553413738$101:300,000 Scale. Doha City at 1:12,500 Scale.
Qatar Travel Grounded Adapter Plug – GUD and GUFB001ST2S6G$14

Philatelic Profile:

The first stamps of Qatar were a set of fifteen stamps released on April 1, 1957 that were ‘Qatar’ and surcharge overprints on Great Britain issues. The set (Scott #1 to #15) catalogs for around $40 MNH and around $25 used. Overprints on Great Britain issues continued until 1960 and two other sets were released in the interim. The sets (Scott #16 to #18 and #19 to #25) catalog for around $5 and $12 respectively for MNH and around $3 and $16 respectively for used. The first original issues of Qatar were a set of eleven stamps released on September 2, 1961 showing Sheik Ahmad bin Ali al Thani and local scenes. The set (Scott #26 to #36) catalogs for around $75 MNH and around one-third that for used. The designs show Sheik Ahmad bin Ali al Thani, dhow, oil derrick, peregrine falcon, and mosque. Qatar is an absolute monarchy ruled the al-Thani family since the mid-19th century. It gained the status of being independent sovereign state as opposed to a British protectorate on September 1, 1971.

Other issues of Qatar enjoying good philatelic interest include:
  1. A long set of seventeen stamps released on October 18, 1965 in the Fish theme. The set (Scott #69 to #85) catalogs for around $200 MNH and around $35 used. The designs show clown grunt, saddleback butterfly fish, butterfly fish, paradise fish, Rio Grande perch, and triggerfish.
  2. A set of eight stamps released on March 1, 1972 in the Birds theme. The set (Scott #279 to #286) catalogs for around $60 MNH and around $15 used. The designs show European roller, European kingfisher, rock thrush, Caspian tern, hoopoe, European bee-eater, European golden oriole, and peregrine falcon.
  3. A set of fourteen stamps released on March 1, 1982 showing Sheik Khalifa, oil refinery, and the Hoda Clock Tower. The set (Scott #615 to #628) catalogs for around $50 MNH and around half that for used.  Qatar has proved oil reserves of 15 billion barrels and natural gas reserves of 26 trillion cubic meters. Oil output can continue at current levels for another 37 years while their gas reserves are the third largest in the world.
  4. A set of four stamps and two souvenir sheets released on December 5, 1993 featuring Children’s Games. The set (Scott #832 to #835, #834a, and #835a) is relatively inexpensive and catalogs for around $7 MNH and around two dollars for used. The souvenir sheets are expensive and catalogs for around $60 each. Several sets from the early 1990s feature souvenir sheets that are similarly highly valued compared to regular issues. The sets and souvenir sheets from the period form a good collectible theme.
  5. A set of four stamps released on February 26, 2001 to mark the Clean Environment Day. The set (Scott #944 to #947) catalogs for around $5 MNH or used. The designs show Qatar Gas emblem, tanker ship and coral reef, RasGas emblem, refinery, and antelopes, Ras Laffan Industrial City emblem, flamingos near industrial complex, and Qatar Petroleum emblem and view of earth from space. The economy of Qatar is dominated by oil gas and account for more than 50% of GDP. More recently, the country has invested to develop a knowledge economy. It has plans to become a role model for economic and social transformation in the region through large scale investment in all social and economic sectors funded with oil and gas revenue.
Numismatic Profile:

The first coins of Qatar were Emirate Standard Coinage (100 Dirham = 1 Riyal) Bronze Dirhams issued in 1972. The issues are common and can be had for a few dollars in BU. The first Gold Coin was a 0.5012 troy ounce 500 Riyals Proof issued in 1998 showing National Arms in Obverse and the Central Bank Building in Reverse. The issue has very low mintage (100) and catalogs for a sizable premium over bullion value.

Numismatic items of Qatar include:


ItemPrice RangeDescription
Coins$1 and upCommon Dirhams in UNC starts around $1. Complete Year Sets in UNC starts around $10. The 1966 rare gazelle Dirhems starts around $50. Early Complete Sets, Rare Proofs, and Gold Coins go well into the 100s.
Paper Money$2 and upRecent UNCs starts around $2. Consecutive Serial Number Sets of 5-pieces or more in UNC starts around $10. First Issue Rials in UNC starts around $50. Bundles, Early Consecutive Notes in UNC of 5-pieces or more, etc go well into the 100s.


Collectible Memorabilia:


ResourcePrice RangeDescription
Miscellaneous Collectibles$2 and upPostcards, flags, patches, magnets etc start around $2. Qatar airways memorabilia start around $10 and can go into the $100 range for rare airplane models.

Last Updated: 12/2015.

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