The Postal Stamps of Cameroon

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Cameroon, like much of West Africa, has a long history of occupation and colonial influence. Too often, the sheer scope of these issues makes them difficult to comprehend. One of the best things about collecting stamps is that they provide a narrow window for understanding world history. Stamps can serve as a way of celebrating a country’s achievements. They can also act as a propaganda tool, or as a reminder that power and institutions are frail.

Cameroon is no exception. Stamps have been used in Cameroon since 1887, five years after German authorities in the region established the country’ first formal post office. For ten years, unaltered German stamps were used, though in 1897 a set of  overprints was issued bearing the inscription “Kamerun.”

Mail service in Cameroon grew steadily through the first years of the 20th century. By 1914, German authorities had established 52 post offices in the region. With the outbreak of war, the territory became a minor geopolitical flashpoint and saw occupation by both French and British forces. Both countries issued their own stamps for use in the region. The British were overprinted with the inscription “C.E.F.” — for Cameroon Expeditionary Force — while the French used stamps from neighboring Gabon with the overprinting “Corps Expéditionaire Anglo-Français Cameroun.”

British and French Cameroons

Following the war, Cameroon — and its attendant postal systems — was divided up into French and English territories. The English oversaw administration of their half from Nigeria, primarily using that country’s stamps, occasionally with the overprinting “Cameroons U.K.T.T.” (Cameroons United Kingdom Trusteeship Territory).

Postal service in French Cameroons used stamps from Middle Congo with the overprint “Cameroun.” During World War II, France printed stamps for use in the territory, though it is unlikely that any of these were ever circulated publically.

Independence and Beyond

French Cameroons became an independent state in 1960. The following year, British territories joined with the new country, leading to the formation of the republic as it is now known. Today, the Cameroon is relatively stable, though divisions between French- and English-speaking citizens are persistent, and many live in poverty.

Cameroon prints stamps intermittently in both languages. These usually feature pictorial designs highlighting the country’s cultural and natural heritage.

Collecting Cameroon’s Stamps

From Kamerun to Cameroun to Cameroons, even the names on the country’s stamps have changed over the course of its history. Parsing these differences is one of the most interesting things about collecting stamps from Cameroon.

If you collect Cameroon stamps from any era of the country’s history, be sure to check out our online store. Apfelbaum, Inc. frequently has rare and valuable Cameroon stamps for sale. We can help you grow your collection and track down hard-to-find issues not available elsewhere. Contact our office for assistance from a member of our knowledgeable sales team.