South Africa - Travel/Philately/Numismatics/Memorabilia Profile

South Africa, a country located at the Southern tip of Africa bordered by Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland, Indian Ocean, and the Atlantic Ocean has a total land area of 471,443 square miles and a population of close to 50 million. The independent country of Lesotho is wholly covered by South African territory. South Africa, a mega-diverse country of the world, is known for a diversity in its terrain, climate, culture, ethnicity, and language. To the east of the south coast is a green landscape with predictable rainfall, known as the Garden Route. Wildlife – lions, leopards, white rhinos, blue wildebeest, kudus, impalas, hyenas, hippopotamus and giraffes - is concentrated mainly in the low lying Bushveld region. South Africa is a middle-income country, with a mixed economy and a high rate of poverty. This resource-rich country has an advanced financial, legal, energy and transport sectors. Mining, tourism, agriculture, and livestock are the major sectors of the country. Several scientific and technological advancements took shape here and the government is committed to investing for the future based on this legacy.

Travel Resources: 

The best time for visiting South Africa can vary based on purpose. For wildlife viewing June through September is best. Its history, excellent safaris, beautiful beaches, diverse cultures, gourmet food, wines are the main attractions. Cape Town, Soweto, Kruger National Park, Knysna, Drakensburg Mountains, and the Winelands are some of the major stops. Its cuisine is meat based (including venison). Food from various cultures are also made available for tourists.


ResourceISBN or ASINBest PriceDescription
Lonely Planet South Africa, Lesotho & Swaziland978-1741048902$18The best available travel guide to South Africa - 684 pages and 131 maps. First 550 pages is South Africa. Not many pictures but the content is very useful and informative.
Rough Guide Map South Africa978-1848364974$10Plastic Waterproof Map. 1:1,400,000 Scale.
South Africa Grounded Adapter PlugB0016ZU3JQ$8

Philatelic Profile:

The first stamp of South Africa was released in 1910 to mark the opening of the Union Parliament on November 4, 1910. The stamp (Scott #1) is remarkably inexpensive cataloging for around $3 mint and less than two dollars for used. South Africa was formed on May 31, 1910 when the former British colonies of Cape of Good Hope, Natal, Transvaal, and the Orange Free State combined to form the union. The first set was followed by a set of fifteen stamps released between 1913 and 1924 showing a portrait of King George V (KGV). The set (Scott #2 to #16) catalogs for around $1350 mint and around $500 used. A variety of part of the set in coil form was released with a different perforation (14) and that set (Scott #17 to #20) catalogs for around $55 mint and around $45 used.

South Africa started issuing several stamps in pairs forming English-Afrikaans se-tenants, with one stamp in the pair showing English inscription while the other shows Afrikaans inscription. The first such set was a set of three pairs released in 1926. The set (Scott #23 to #25) catalogs for around $50 mint and a little more for used. The designs show Springbok, Jan van Riebeek’s Ship, Drommedaris, and orange tree. South Africa continued to issue such stamps during the period through 1935. Chief among them were a set of seven stamps released between 1927 and 1928 showing local scenes. The set (Scott #26 to #32) catalogs for around $730 mint and double that for used. The valuations are for horizontal pairs. Several error varieties (Tete beche, imperf pair, and center omissions) exist and those catalog for substantially more.

Other issues of South Africa enjoying good philatelic interest include:
  1. A set of nine stamps released between 1941 and 1943 in the War theme. The set (Scott #81 to #89) catalogs for around $50 mint and around $35 used. The designs show infantry, nurse and ambulance, airman and spitfires, sailor, women’s services, artillery, welder, tank corps, and signal corps. A set of midgets in the same theme followed between 1942 and 1942 and that set (Scott #90 to #97) catalogs for around $40 mint and around $25 used. The designs show infantry-nurse, airman-sailor, women’s services, artillery, welder, and tank corps. South Africa entered World War II as an ally of the United Kingdom although the National Party strongly opposed the move. After World War II, the National Party came to power and governed South Africa from 1948 to 1994, a period in which South Africa became increasingly isolated because of apartheid.
  2. A set of fourteen stamps released on October 14, 1954 in the Animals theme. The set (Scott #200 to #213) catalogs for around $35 MNH and around $8 for used. The designs show wart hog, gnu, leopard, zebra, white rhinoceros, elephant, hippopotamus, lion, kudu, springbok, gemsbok, nyala, giraffe, and sable antelope. South Africa is one of the world’s seventeen mega diverse countries.
  3. A set of thirteen stamps released on May 31, 1961 showing local scenes. The set (Scott #254 to #266) catalogs for around $60 MNH and around $6 for used. The designs show Natal pigmy kingfisher, coral tree flower, Afrikander bull, pouring gold, Groot Constantia, crimson breasted shrike, baobab tree, corn, Castle Entrance in Cape Town, pro-tea flower, secretary bird, Cape Town Harbor, and bird of paradise flower. South Africa became a republic in 1961.
  4. A long set of twenty five stamps released between 1982 and 1987 showing local scenes. The set (Scott #564 to #589) catalogs for around $20 MNH and around $5 for used. The designs show Old Provost of Grahamstown, Tuynhuys Kaapstad of Cape Town, Appelhof of Bloemfontein, Raadsaal of Pretoria, Die Kasteel of Kaapstad, Goewermentsgebou of Bloemfontein, Drostdy of Graaf-Reinet, Leeuwenhof of Cape Town, Libertas of Pretoria, City Hall of Pietermaritzburg, City Hall of Kimberley, City Hall of Port Elizabeth, Johannesburg City Hall, Hotel Milner of Matjesfontein, Durban City Hall, Post Office of Durban, Melrose House of Pretoria, Old Legislative Assembly Building of Pietermaritzburg, Raadsaal of Bloemfontein, Houses of Parliament of Cape Town, and Uniegebou of Pretoria.
  5. A set of nine stamps released between 1995 and 1997 in the Tourism theme. The set (Scott #897 to #905) catalogs for around $3 MNH or used. The designs show Phacochoerus Aethiopicus of Transvaal Province, Lost City Sun City of North West Province, Ceratotherium Simum of KwaZulu/Natal Province, Waterfront of Cape Town, Adansonia Digitata of Northern Transvaal Province, Highland Route of Free State, Augrabies Falls of Northern Cape Province, Addo Elephant National Park of Eastern Cape Province, and Union Buildings of Pretoria.
Numismatic Profile:

The first coins of South Africa were Standard Coinage (12 Pence = 1 Shilling, 20 Shillings = 1 Pound) Gold Ponds issued with very low mintage (few hundreds) around 1874. The issues are very rare and catalogs well into the 1000s in VF and better grades. Starting in the 1950s, South Africa has issued a number of Commemorative proofs and they enjoy good collector interest. Standard Coinage (100 Cents = 1 Rand) debut in 1961 with the issue of Brass Half Cents showing Oat sprig, berriesm and birds in Obverse. The issue has high mintage and catalogs for around a dollar in BU. Krugerrand Gold Bullion Coinage debut in 1980 and they enjoy premium valuation.

Numismatic items of South Africa include:


ItemPrice RangeDescription
Coins$1 and upUNCs from the 1960s onward starts around $1. Silver Coins from the 1960s and prior dates in VF+ starts around $10. Silver Proof Sets, Recent Commemorative Silver Proofs, Graded Nelson Mandela Coins at MS 63 and above, etc start around $50. Graded Silver Coins at MS63 and above, Gold Coins, Low Mintage Silver Proofs, etc go well into the 100s and 1000s depending on rarity and bullion value.
Paper Money$2 and upCommon Rands in UNC starts around $2. High Values, Sets, Early Notes in VF+, etc starts around $10. Replacement Notes, Continuous Serial Numbers with 10-pieces or more, etc start around $25. Early Rare Banknotes in XF+, Large Notes from the 1930s and prior dates in VF+, Bundles, etc start around $50 and go well into the 100s.

Collectible Memorabilia:

Painted ostrich eggs, batique fabrics, pewter, gold and diamond jewelry, wire baskets, masks and verdite carvings are some souvenirs from South Africa.


ResourcePrice RangeDescription
Antiques$15 and up19th century maps start around $15. Zulu spoons and other utensils, Abantwane Braided Necklaces, Older Rarer Maps, etc start around $25. Zulu Beadwork Idavathi Ankets, Nguni Fetishes, clubs etc start well into the 100s.
Art$10 and up19th century historically relevant local scenes prints start around $10. 1950s Travel Posters, Original Vanity Fair Prints, Cuban Political Posters etc start around $30 and go into the $100 range. Original works by David M. Gillespie, David Smith, Paul Monro, Andre Grobler, Francois Badenhorst, etc start well into the 100s.
Miscellaneous Collectibles$1 and upPostcards, Pins, Flags, etc start around $1. Shoulder Rank strips start around $10. Zulu Telephone Wire Bowl Baskets, Raku Pottery, Queens Medals, Large Mineral & Cypraea Samples start around $25. Zulu Grass Baskets, Ndebele Tribe Dolls, Boer War Medals, Uniforms, etc start around $50 and go into the $100 range. Mineral Head Carvings, British Zulu War Medals, etc start into the 100s.

Related Posts:
  1. Basutoland
  2. Bechuanaland (British Bechuanaland)
Last Updated: 12/2015. 


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