Somalia - Travel/Philately/Numismatics/Memorabilia Profile

Somalia, a country located in the horn of Africa, bordered by Djibouti, Kenya, Yemen, Gulf of Aden, and the Indian Ocean has a total land area of 246,200 square miles and a population of around 9.4 million.

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Philatelic Profile:

The first stamps of Somalia were a set of seven stamps that were Italian key types with the inscription ‘Benadir’ released on October 12, 1903. The set (Scott #1 to #7) catalogs for around $30 mint and around $50 used. The designs show head of an elephant and that of a lion in a center circular frame. Benadir is the coastal region of Somalia from the Gulf of Aden to the Juba River containing the capital of Mogadishu. This issue was followed by a number of surcharge and ‘Somalia Italiana’ overprints during the period till 1930. Chief among them was a set of fourteen stamps released between 1926 and 1930 that were ‘Somalia Italiana’ overprints on Italian Stamps during the period from 1901 to 1926. That set (Scott #83 to #96) catalogs for around $185 mint and around $100 used. The most valuable set during the period was the Manzoni Issue of six stamps released on April 1, 1924. The set (Scott #61 to #66) catalogs for around $450 mint and around $1300 used.

Somalia released a long set of eighteen stamps in 1932 primarily showing local scenes. The set (Scott #138 to #155) catalogs for around $1100 MNH and around $140 used. The designs show lighthouse at Cape Guardafui, Tower at Mnara Ciromo, Governor’s Palace at Mogadishu, termite nest, ostrich, hippopotamus, Greater Kudu, and lion. A variety of the same set using a different perforation (14) was released between 1934 and 1937 and that set (Scott #138a to #155a) is rare and even more valuable cataloging for around $1850 MNH and around $350 used. The area was made part of Italian East Africa in 1935 and was under British military administration during the period from 1941 to 1949. Since the outbreak of civil war in 1991, the country is categorized as a failed state. It is one of the poorest and most violent countries of the world.

Other issues of Somalia enjoying good philatelic interest include:
  1. A set of thirteen stamps released on March 24, 1950 showing local scenes. The set (Scott #170 to #180 and #E8 to #E9) catalogs for around $10 MNH and around $8 used. The designs show Tower of Mnara Ciromo, Governor’s Palace of Mogadishu, and ostrich. Somalia came under Italian trusteeship in 1950 and that status continued till its independence in 1960 when they merged with Somaliland Protectorate of Great Britain to form the Independent Republic of Somalia.
  2. A set of six stamps released on October 27, 1975 in the Peoples theme. The set (Scott #418 to #423) catalogs for around $5 MNH and around $3 used. The designs show Somali warrior, traditional costumes of Somali men, and women.
  3. A set of twelve stamps released in 1992 in the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) theme. The set (Scott #607 to #618) catalogs for around $85 MNH. The designs show gazelles, baboons, hippopotamus, giraffes, and leopard. 


Numismatic Profile:

The first coins of Somalia were UN Trusteeship Standard Coinage (100 Centesimi = 1 Somalo) Copper Centesimos issued in 1950 showing African Elephant in Obverse and Value within circle with star and crescents in Reverse. The issue has high mintage and catalogs for a few dollars in BU. Reform Coinage (100 Senti = 1 Shilling) debt in 1976 with the introduction of Aluminum Sentis in the FAO theme in 1976. It is valued at around $200 in UNC. The first gold coin was a 0.0810 troy ounce 20 Shillings Proof issued to mark the the fifth anniversary of independence. The issue has low mintage (6325) and catalogs for a slight premium over bullion value.

Numismatic items of Somalia include:


ItemPrice RangeDescription
Coins$2 and upCommon UNC Sentis starts around $2. Pope John Paul Coin Sets, Animal Sets in BU from 2000, etc start around $10. Large Silver Color Proofs starts around $30. Low Mintage Silver Commemorative Proof Sets starts around $50 and go well into the 100s.
Paper Money$2 and upCommon UNC Shillings from the 1990s onward starts around $2. High Value UNCs starts around $10. Rare UNC Replacement Notes, Bundles, etc start around $50 and go well into the 100s.


Collectible Memorabilia:


ResourcePrice RangeDescription
Miscellaneous Collectibles$2 and upPostcards start around $2. Paris Exposition postcards from 1900 start around $10. Cypraeas Gold and Silver Emblem chains start around $35.


Last Updated: 12/2015.

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