Samoa - Travel/Philately/Numismatics/Memorabilia Profile

Samoa, a country encompassing the Western part of the Samoan Islands in the South Pacific Ocean has a total land area of 1093 square miles and a population of 179,000. Fishing and agriculture are the mainstays of Samoan economy though tourism is a fast growing sector. Having deregulated the financial sector and scouting for foreign investment, the country has made it clear it is on the lookout for other economic options. The staple crops are coconut, cocoa bean and bananas.

Travel Resources: 

June through August are the best time to visit this country. The major attractions are its waterfalls, nature parks, crater walks, rain-forests, mangroves and blowholes. Tourists also visit to absorb the culture of Samon – faith, family, and music. Rythmic dancing such as siva, and sasa is enjoyed very much here. Taro, rice, coconut, seafood, and meat play an important part in their diet. Food is cooked in an underground oven called umu.


ResourceISBN or ASINBest PriceDescription
Lonely Planet Samoa and Tonga Multi Country Guide978-1741048186$12Introduction followed by Sections on Samoa, American Samoa, and Tonga each covering about 30 pages.
Islands of Samoa Reference Map978-0824813307$5Includes Tutuila, Manu’A, ‘Upolu, and Savai’l.
Samoa Grounded Adapter Plug – GUCB001FD5COK$8

Philatelic Profile:

The first stamps of Samoa were a set of eight stamps and a few varieties issued between 1877 and 1882 with the ‘Samoa Express’ inscription forming the design in different colors. The set (Scott #1 to #8) catalogs for around $5K mint and around half that for used. This set was followed in the time period between 1886 and 1900 by another set of eleven stamps showing palms and King Malietoa Laupepa. That set (Scott #9 to #19) along with certain varieties are also very valuable cataloging for around $200 mint and around the same for used. A few handstamped varieties of the original set along with a couple of other themes formed the stamp issues of Samoa till the turn of the century. The first stamps issued under German Dominion were a set of six stamps released in 1900 that were ‘Samoa’ overprints on German issues. The set (Scott #51 to #56) catalogs for around $85 mint and around $150 used. This was followed in the same year by another set of thirteen stamps showing Kaiser’s Yacht Hohenzollern. That set (Scott #57 to #69) is sought after and catalogs for around $115 mint and around $600 used. At the turn of the century, Samoan Islands were partitioned into two parts – the Eastern Islands became a territory of the United States which is now American Samoa and the Western Islands became German Samoa.

The first stamps issued under British Dominion were ‘G.R.I.’ and surcharge overprints on the Kaiser’s Yacht issue. Those stamps are very rare and valuable (Scott #101 to #113), especially the higher denominations. Those issues were replaced by ‘Samoa’ overprints on New Zealand issues later that year. The first original issues under British Dominion were a set of twelve stamps released on December 23, 1921 showing the British Flag and Samoan House. The set (Scott #142 to #153) catalogs for around $50 mint and around double that for used. Samoa released a set of nine stamps on August 7, 1935 in the Western Samoa theme. The set showing local scenes catalogs for around $15 MNH and around $10 used. The designs show Samoan girl and kava bowl, View of Apia, river scene, Samoan Chief and Wife, Samoan canoe and house, ‘Vailima’, Stevenson’s House, Stevenson’s Tomb, Lake Lanuto’o, and Falefa Falls. From the end of World War I through 1962, New Zealand controlled Western Samoa under trusteeship from the League of Nations.

Other issues of Samoa enjoying good philatelic interest include:
  1. A set of ten stamps released on July 2, 1962 to mark Western Samoa’s Independence. The set (Scott #223 to #232) catalogs for around $10 MNH and around the same for used. The designs show woman holding ceremonial mat, Samoa College, Public Library, Parliament, Map of Western Samoa, ship and plane, Faleolo Airport, talking chief with fly whisk, Government House in Vailima, Flag of Western Samoa, and State Seal.
  2. A set of twelve stamps released on July 10, 1967 in the Birds of Western Samoa theme. The set (Scott #265 to #274B) catalogs for around $65 MNH and around $55 used. The designs show wattled honey-eater, Pacific pigeon, Samoan starling, Samoan broadbill, red-headed parrot finch, purple swamp hen, barn owl, tooth-billed pigeon, island thrush, Samoan fantail, mao, and Samoan white-eye.
  3. A set of nineteen stamps released between 1983 and 1984 in the Local Fruits theme. The set (Scott #600 to #618) catalogs for around $35 MNH or used. The designs show limes, star fruit, mangosteen, lychee, passion fruit, mangoes, papaya, pineapple, breadfruit, bananas, cashew nut, guava, water melon, sasalapa, avocado, coconut, apples, grapefruit, and oranges.
  4. A set of four stamps released on September 22, 1994 in Teuila Tourism Festival theme. The set (Scott #854 to #857) catalogs for around $10 MNH or used. The designs show singers, fire dancer, parade float, and police band.
  5. A set of five stamps and a souvenir sheet released on June 16, 2004 in the Birds theme. The set (Scott #1053 to #1057 and #1057a) catalogs for around $15 MNH or used. The designs show black-naped tern, crested tern, common noddy, lesser frigatebird, and reef heron.
Numismatic Profile:

The first coins of Samoa were Independent State Standard Coinage (100 Sene = 1 Tala) bronze Senes issued in 1967 showing portrait of Malietoa Tanumafili in Obverse and Stars and Value within Wreath in Reverse. The issues are common and catalogs for well under a dollar in UNC and Proof. The first gold coin was a 100 Tala Gold Proof issued in 1976 to mark the US Bicentennial. The design showed National Arms in Obverse and Equestrian and map of USA in reverse. Samoa has issued a number of commemorative coins primarily for the numismatic market and they are valued at a slight premium over bullion value.

Numismatic items of Samoa include:


ItemPrice RangeDescription
Coins$1 and upCommon Senes in UNC starts around $1. Commemorative Proofs starts around $10. Silver Commemorative Proofs starts around $50. Silver Proof Sets and Gold Proofs go well into the 100s.
Paper Money$3 and upCommon UNC banknotes, Polymers, and Commemorative Polymers start around $3. Recent Specimen UNCs starts around $20. UNC Bundles, Rare Dates, Solid Numbers, etc start around $50 and go well into the 100s.

Collectible Memorabilia:


ResourcePrice RangeDescription
Art$10 and upSamoan local scenes and royalty photos from the 19th century start around $10. Early 20th century chromolithograph prints showing fish species start around $40.
Antiques$10 and up19th century maps start around $10. Tapa Cloth Mats start around $30. Old Tribal Clubs go into the 100s.
Miscellaneous Collectibles$15 and upVintage Jim Beam American Samoa Bottles start around $15. Inlay Kava Bowls start around $40. War Clubs, Exotic Sea Turtle Kava Bowls etc go into the 100s.

Last Updated: 12/2015.

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