Tunisia - Travel/Philately/Numismatics/Memorabilia Profile

Tunisia, the northernmost country in Africa bordered by Algeria, Libya, and the Mediterranean Sea has a total land area of 63,170 square miles and a population of over 10.4 million. Tunisia has a wide topographic distribution varying from Atlas Mountains in the north to fertile plains in the south. It is an oxymoron in that it has high purchasing power parity and the most competitive economy in Africa but is still a developing country. Tourism, agriculture, mining, petroleum products, and manufacturing are the main sectors of its economy. High unemployment and reduced tourists are major setbacks to its economy.

Travel Resources: 

Tunisia’s Mediterranean climate makes it a year-round destination. November is the preferred time to travel for many as it allows to experience the Saharan dunes and to participate in the music festivals. The beaches are best experienced in summer. Dougga, Medina of Tunis, Carthage, Djerba, Sidi Bou Said, Douz (Gateway to the Sahara), Tozeur, Chott El Jerid, Troglodyte Caves of Matmata, El Djem Amphitheatre, Sousse etc, are but some of the places frequented by its visitors. The cuisine, which is very spicy and hot, is a fusion of Mediterranean and Saharan cuisine. It is based on olive oils, spices, seafood, farm animals, and vegetables. Traditional food include couscous, tajines, mesfouf, kaftagi, and a variety of sweet dishes.


ResourceISBN or ASINBest PriceDescription
The Rough Guide To Tunisia978-1858288222$17A traveler’s introduction covering the first 65 pages followed by sections on Tunis and Around, Hammamet and Cap Bon, Bizerte and the North, Kairouan and the Sahel, The Tell, The Jerid, Gabes and Matmata, Jerba and the Southeast Coast, and The Ksour.
Tunisia Map by Nelles978-3865740755$101:750,000 Scale.
Tunisia Grounded Adapter Plug – GUBB001FD86WK$8

Philatelic Profile:

The first stamps of Tunisia were a set of eight stamps released on July 1, 1888 in the Coat of Arms theme. The set (Scott #1 to #8) catalogs for around $570 mint and $325 used. A variety on the same theme on two different slightly varying designs were issued between 1888 and 1902 and that set (Scott #9 to #27) catalogs even higher at around $610 mint and around $300 used. Certain reprints on the first designs and a surcharge overprint formed the primary stamp issues of Tunisia during the period till 1906. Tunisia became a French protectorate in 1881. Tunisia released a long set of twenty nine stamps showing local scenes between 1906 and 1926. The set (Scott #29 to #57) catalogs for around $35 mint and around $12 used. The designs show Mosque at Kairouan, plowing, Ruins of Hadrian’s Aqueduct, and Carthaginian Gallery. Several surcharge overprints continued during the period till 1926. Hadrian Aqueduct was completed around 140 AD during the Roman period and it consisted of around 25 kilometers of underground tunnel.

Tunisia released a long set of sixty six stamps during the twenty one years spanning 1926 and 1946. The long running set (Scott #74 to #113D) is sought after and catalogs for around $50 MNH and around $30 used. The designs show Arab woman carrying water, Grand Mosque at Tunis, Mosque at Tunis, and Roman Amphitheater at El Djem. The city of El Djem features some of the most impressive Roman remains in Africa including the Amphitheater featured in this set. The Amphitheater could seat 35,000 spectators – it is the third largest among Roman theaters, after Rome’s Colosseum and Capua. Tunisia was the site of a major operation during World War II in which the Allied ultimately took over 230,000 German and Italian troops as prisoners of war.

Other issues of Tunisia enjoying good philatelic interest include:
  1. A set of three stamps released on August 8, 1957 to mark the Proclamation of the Republic. The set (Scott #312 to #314) catalogs for around $30 MNH or used. The design shows Officer and Soldier in different colors and denominations. Tunisia gained independence from France to become an Independent Kingdom on March 20, 1956. It became republic on July 25, 1957. A set of seventeen stamps that were varieties on the local scenes issue from 1954 with the ‘R.F.’ inscription omitted were released to mark independence. The original 1954 set (Scott #236 to #252) catalogs for around $10 MNH and around half that for used. The ‘R.F.’ omitted version catalogs at slightly less. The designs show Courtyard at Sousse, Citadel at Takrouna, view of Tatahouine, Ruins at Matmata, street corner at Sidi Bou Said, Genoese Fort at Tabarka, Sidi Boud Maklouf Mosque, Genoese Fort at Tabarka, Bab-El-Khadra Gate, and four-storey building at Medenine.
  2. A set of six stamps released on July 12, 1975 showing scenes contrasting Old and New Tunisia. The set (Scott #658 to #663) catalogs for around $7 MNH and around half that for used. The designs show Djerba Minaret and Hotel and Marina at Jerba, 17th Century Minaret and Modern Hotel at Tunis, Fortress, Earring, and Hotel at Monastir, view of Sousse and Hotel and Pendant, Town Wall and Mosque and Palms at Tozeur, Mosques and Arab ornaments at Kairouan.
  3. A set of seven stamps released on November 5, 1997 showing Tunisian Works of Art. The set (Scott #1136 to #1142) catalogs for around $7 MNH or used. The set is also available as a sheet of seven along with three labels and that catalogs for slightly more. The designs show L’Automne by Ammar Farhat, Sculpture Pecheur D’Hommes by Hedi Selmi, Au Café-Maure by Farhat, Le Viellard au Kanoun by Farhat, Café Des Nattes-Sidi Bou Said by Hedi Khayachi, Le Kouttab by Yahia Turki, and La Fileuse by Farhat.
Numismatic Profile:

The first coins of Tunisia were Carthaginian coins from the 5th century BC. Coinage of the first few centuries had similar designs portraying female head wearing a wreath of corn in Obverse and a horse in various positions in Reverse. Following Roman, Arab, and Turkish invasions, French Protectorate Hammered Coinage debut in 1881 with the release of a Silver Kharub in 1881. The issue is very valuable cataloging for around $1250 in UNC. Gold Coins debut the same year with the introduction of a 0.1424 troy ounce 25 Piastres issue. Republic Era Decimal Coinage (100 Millim = 1 Dinar) debut in 1960 with the release of Aluminum Millims. The issues have very high mintage and are common cataloging for well under a dollar for UNC.

Numismatic items of Tunisia include:


ItemPrice RangeDescription
Coins$2 and upRecent UNC Millims starts around $2. Early 20th century Centimes in VF+ starts around $10. Commemorative Silver Proofs starts around $30. Gold Coins and Low Mintage Silver Proof sets go well into the 100s.
Paper Money$3 and upCommon UNCs starts around $3. High Value UNCs, Early Large Notes in XF+, etc start around $10. Low Serial Number UNCs, Continuous Serial Number UNCs with 10-pieces or more, etc start around $50. Bundles, Rare Specimens, etc go well into the 100s and 1000s depending on rarity.

Collectible Memorabilia:

Capets, tapestries, ceramics, and gold jewelry and highly cherished articles visitors take away with them.


ResourcePrice RangeDescription
Art$20 and upVintage posters, 19th century local scenes photo prints, etc start around $20.
Antiques$10 and up19th century maps start around $10. 18th century and older maps go into the $100 range.
Miscellaneous Collectibles$5 and upVintage Postcards, Beer Coasters, and Patches start around $5. Hand Painted Serving Dishes, Military Medal Badges etc start around $30. Order Ifthikhar Medals, Judaica Shabbat Candlesticks etc go into the $100 range.

Last Updated: 12/2015.

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