Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Stamp Issuer - Angola

Angola, 1921 (Scott #139)
Portuguese Colonial Stamp

Angola is a African country located on the Atlantic side of the continent. It is located about midway below the "bulge" of Africa and the southernmost tip. The country borders Namibia, Zambia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. There is a small, disputed province of Angola, called Cabinda, which is completely separate from the country and surrounded by neighboring country, Republic of Congo.

Angola was an early colony of Portugal. As early as 1483, Portugal had established a base of operations in the Congo River region of Africa. By the 1500s, Portugal had created the colony of Angola. Except for a brief occupation by the Dutch in 1641 to 1648, Portugal administered the colony for almost 500 years. All that changed in 1975.

Portuguese administration over Angola ended on November 11, 1975, when independence was achieved and the country became known as the People's Republic of Angola. As Communist and non-Communist factions fought for control of the newly established republic, civil war broke out that lasted for the next 27 years. Finally, in 2002, the Angolan Civil War was ended, but not before it destroyed much of the infrastructure of the country and cost the lives of at least 500,000 Angolans. Considering the depths of the economic, militaristic, and political upheaval cause by war, it is encouraging to note that Angola has had one of the fastest growing economies in the world since 2002.

Angola, 1955 (Scott #386)
Map of Angola

As a stamp issuer, Angola presents several challenges to the collector. One of those challenges is affordability -- some of the stamps of Angola are expensive. There are some minimum value stamps, but not many of the 1300 regular issue stamps fall into that category.

Also, the difference in catalog value of mint and used stamps, especially during recent years, is non-existent. Used stamps, which typically help keep stamp collecting affordable for many, are the stamp price as mint stamps for most issues of the past 20 years or so.

Finally, one series of Air Post stamps costs over $2100 (US), making a complete "Back of the Book" collection out of reach of many collectors.

A collector will find that some early issues of Angola, bearing the tell-tale look of Portuguese stamps, are affordable. There seems to be a great dichotomy in catalog prices -- some stamps in a series catalog for $1 or less, while other stamps in the same series catalog over one hundred times that amount.

Angola represents a tough challenge for most collectors. The stamps simply do not seem to be readily available. Hopefully as the civil unrest in the region becomes a long-forgotten memory, the high cost of collecting Angolan stamps might also be forgotten.

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1 comment:

Theresa Layne said...

I just found an Angola #389 Portuguese African Colony Maps stamp along with a Mozambique #390 1954-1955. Any info of how to find the value of these would be greatly appreciated.