Turkey - Travel/Philately/Numismatics/Memorabilia Profile

Turkey, an Eurasian country in Western Asia and the Balkan region of Southeastern Europe bordered by Bulgaria, Greece, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, the Mediterranean Sea, Aegean Sea, and the Black Sea has a total land area of 302,535 square miles and a population of over 73.7 million. Turkey is located mostly in Asia with the rest in Europe. It is a power player given its strategic location, solid economy and military might. Its terrain is varied ranging from mountains to coastal plains. While Turkey does not qualify as a developed country in all aspects, its economy is indeed developed. More of its state run departments are getting privatized. The major sectors are tourism, agriculture, banking, construction, electronics, textiles, oil refining, machine industry, automotive (including shipbuilding) etc. Its tourism is on par with that of Greece, Spain and Italy. Turkey has also stepped up its efforts in tackling its environmental issues.

Travel Resources: 

May through September is the best time to visit Turkey though July and August can be extremely hot. Some not to be missed attractions include the St. Sophia Museum, the Blue Mosque, Ephesus, Sardis, Pamukkale, Cappadocia, and Aspendus. Also famous are Turkish music and literature. Indulging in a Turkish bath/massage and cruising around Istanbul are a must for those visiting this beautiful country. Turkish cuisine has retained its charm from the Ottoman times. In fact many cuisines in the world has been influenced by Turkish cuisine. Olive oil, yogurt, seasonal vegetables and fruits, grape leaves, nuts and legumes along with a combination of spices play a significant role in their cooking. It is only too common for Turkish cuisine to combine meat with fruits. Turkish desserts and coffee are also equally famous.


ResourceISBN or ASINBest PriceDescription
Lonely Planet Turkey Country Guide978-1741797244$17An 80-page traveler’s introduction followed by chapters on Istanbul, Thrace and Marmara, North Aegean, South Aegean, Western Anatolia, Western Mediterranean, Turkey’s Outdoors, Eastern Mediterranean, Central Anatolia, Cappadocia, Black Sea Coast and the Kackar Mountains, Northeastern Anatolia, and Southeastern Anatolia.
Rick Steves’ Istanbul978-1598803785$13The self-guided tours is the main essence of the book. The walking tours portions are a standout.
Turkey Insight Travel Map978-9812589064$101:2 Million Scale. Also includes city plan dos Istanbul and Lzmir.
Turkey Grounded Adapter Plug – GUBB001FDA8ZS$8

Philatelic Profile:

The first stamps of Turkey were a set of seven stamps released in 1863 showing Tughra (signature) Monogram of Sultan Abdul-Aziz. The set (Scott #1 to #7) is rare and valuable and catalogs for around $1000 mint and around $150 used. Several error varieties exist and those catalog for upwards of $100 each. This was followed by a set in the Crescent and Star theme (Symbols of Turkish Caliphate). That set (Scott #8 to #13) catalogs for around $325 mint and around $275 used with the bulk of the valuation coming for the highest denomination (25pi red orange). Imperforate pairs of issues from this set also exist and those catalog for upwards of $100. Surcharge overprints on this issue formed the primary stamps issues of Turkey during the period till 1892. Sultan Abdul-Aziz (Abd Al-Aziz) was the 32nd Sultan of the Ottoman Empire and reigned from June 25, 1861 to May 30, 1876. Turkey released a set of five stamps between 1892 and 1898 showing Arms and Tughra of El Gazi the conqueror Sultan Abdul Hamid. The set (Scott #95 to #99) catalogs for around $25 mint and around $12 used. Sultan Abdul Hamid (Abd Al-Hamid II Khan Ghazi) was the 34th sultan of the Ottoman Empire and regined from 1876 to 1909. He was deposed following the Young Turk Revolution of 1908 that marked the beginning of the end of the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire. The empire was partitioned by the victorious side after World War I.

Turkey released a long set of seventeen stamps on January 14, 1914 primarily showing Views of Constantinople. The set (Scott #254 to #270) catalogs for around $735 mint and around $440 used. The designs show Obelisk of Theodosius in The Hippodrome, Column of Constantine, Leander’s Tower, One of the Seven Towers, Fener Bahce – Garden Lighthouse, The Castle of Europe on the Bosporus, Mosque of Sultan Ahmed, Monument to the Martyrs of Liberty, Fountains of Suleiman, Cruiser Hamidie, View of Kandili on the Bosporus, War Ministry, Sweet Waters of Europe Park, Mosque of Suleiman, The Bosporus, Sultan Ahmed’s Fountain, and a portrait of Sultan Mohammed V. Several overprints on individual issues from the set were issued in 1915 and those are also highly valued. Constantinople was Europe’s largest and wealthiest city in the middle ages (5th to 15th century – Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman periods). It was renamed as Istanbul in 1930.

Other issues of Turkey enjoying good philatelic interest include:
  1. A set of fourteen stamps released in 1926 showing local scenes and Mustafa Kemal Pasha. The set (Scott #634 to #647) catalogs for around $95 mint and around $9 used. The designs show The Legendary Blacksmith and his Gray Wolf, Sakarya Gorge, Fortress of Ankara, and Mustafa Kemal Pasha. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk is regarded as the founder of the Republic of Turkey and was Turkey’s first President. He led the Turkish National Movement in the Turkish War of Independence. He was President from October 29, 1923 until his death on November 10, 1938.
  2. A set of four stamps released on October 20, 1939 to mark the completion of the Sivas to Erzerum link of the Ankara-Erzerum Railroad. The set (Scott #829 to #832) catalogs for around $20 MNH and around half that for used. The designs show railroad bridge, locomotive, track through Mountain Pass, and railroad tunnel at Atma Pass.
  3. A long set of nineteen stamps released between 1959 and 1960 showing local scenes. The set (Scott #1442 to #1460) catalogs for around $30 MNH and around $5 for used. The designs show Turkish Airline SES Plane, Karadeniz Ship, Grain Elevator in Ankara, Iron and Steel Works at Karabuck, Euphrates Bridge at Birecik, Zonguldak Harbor, Gasoline Refinery at Batman, Rumeli Hisari Fortress, Sugar Factory at Konya, Telegraph Mast, Coal Mine at Zonguldak, railway, crane loading ships, Cement Factory at Ankara, highway, harvester, electric transformer, and Kemal Ataturk. Turkey has a diverse economy and benefits from its customs union with the European Union. Key sectors include home appliances, electronics, materials, shipbuilding, and tourism. It hosts well over 30 million tourists per year, attracted by its status as a modern Western state with traditional religious and historical values.
  4. A set of two stamps released on May 2, 1978 in the Europa theme. The set (Scott #2091 to #2092) catalogs for around $15 MNH and around $5 for used. The designs show Ishak Palace of Dogubeyazit and Anamur Castle. Turkey has released a number of sets over the years in the Europa theme and all of them catalog for a premium over regular issues from the same periods. They form a good collectible theme.
  5. A set of three stamps released on October 19, 2000 showing Architecture. The set (Scott #2782 to #2784) catalogs for around two dollars MNH and around a dollar for used. Turkish architecture offers a mix of traditional Byzantine and Ottoman styles along with elements heavily influenced by Western styles since the eighteenth century.
Numismatic Profile:

Turkish area of Lydia has the distinction of inventing coinage when Lydian Trite Electrums (alloy of gold and silver along with smaller amounts of copper and silver) were issued around 600BC. The coins are not very rare but fetch a large premium in the $1.5K range. In the modern era, Ottoman Empire Milled Coinage Silver Coins were issued starting around 1789. Republic Standard Coinage debut in 1921 with the release of 100 Para Aluminum-Bronze coins with mintage into the millions in 1921. The issue catalogs for around $60 in UNC and shows inscription and date in Obverse and value to left of sprig in Reverse. Decimal Coinage (40 Para = 1 Kurus, 100 Kurus = 1 Lira) Aluminum-Bronze Paras debut in 1940. Turkey has issued monnaies de luxe issues for presentation purposes since 1899 and gold bullion coins in five denominations (25, 50, 100, 250, and 500 Kurus) since 1943.

Numismatic items of Turkey include:


ItemPrice RangeDescription
Ancient Coins$10 and upOttoman Turkish Silver Paras in VF+ starts around $10. Silver Kurush in VF+ from the Mahmud II era starts around $50. Coins from the 12th century and prior dates go well into the 100s.
Bullion$50 and upHigh Value Silver Liras starts around $50. Gold Bullion, Silver Bar Proofs, etc go well into the 100s.
Other Coins$1 and upCommon UNC Liras starts around $1. Early 20th Century Silver Kurush Coins, Recent year sets, etc start around $20. Commemorative Silver Proofs and Gold Coins go well into the 100s.
Paper Money$2 and upRecent UNC Liras starts around $2. Recent UNC Year Sets, High Value UNCs from the 1990s etc start around $10. Early 20th century Ottoman Liras in VF+, Bundles, Scarce Dates and other rare issues go well into the 100s.

Collectible Memorabilia:

Blue eye charms, pottery, jewelry, Turkish delight, spices and ceramics are lovely souvenirs from Turkey.


ResourcePrice RangeDescription
Antiques$10 and upKilim Pillows start around $10. Handknotted Nomadic Carpet Rug Pillow Covers start around $20. Small (2x3) Anadol Rugs, Oushak Wool Rugs, etc start well into the 100s. Vintage Turkish Kayseri Rugs, Baksheesh Rugs, Silk Hereke Carpets, Konya Pile Rugs, Yah-Yahli Zile Prayer Rugs, Vintage Uuhak Rugs etc go well into the 1000s.
Art$10 and up19th century local scenes photos start around $10. 19th century original color posters, Costume Prints, etc start into the $100 range.
Collectibles$1 and upFlags, Patches etc start around $1. Turkey Army Special Forces Cap, Ethnic Color Postcards, Vintage Fire Fighter Helmet Badges, etc start around $20. Airplane and Air Force Fighter Wood Models, Head Block Meerschaum Pipes, Ottoman War Medals etc go into the 100s.


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Last Updated: 12/2015. 



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