Collectors’ Stamps from Nigeria

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The most populous country in the continent and a rising economic power, Nigeria is at the forefront of the rising interest in African philately. Collectors looking into the rare stamps of Nigeria are instantly rewarded with a number of attractive issues, as well as a fascinating look at the legacy of colonialism and the internal struggles many newly independent countries faced in the latter half of the 20th century.

History in Context: Nigeria’s Early Stamps

Modern-day Nigeria was ruled under a series of British protectorates from 1800 until finally gaining independence in 1960. Stamps were in circulation as early as 1874, when a half-penny issue bearing the image of Queen Victoria in profile was printed for use in Lagos. Other regions to issue their own stamps during this time period included:

  • The Oil River Protectorate, which opened a post office in 1891 and began using specially overprinted British stamps the following year.
  • The Niger Coast Protectorate, which superseded the Oil Rivers Protectorate and began using its own overprints in 1894.
  • The Southern Nigeria Protectorate, which was created when the Niger Coast Protectorate unified with territories controlled by the Royal Niger Co. in 1900.
  • The Northern Nigeria Protectorate, which began issuing stamps in 1900.

Present-day Nigeria took shape in 1914, when the protectorates of Southern and Northern Nigeria merged, later absorbing parts of British Cameroons. With this, a single unified postal system was established, and stamp denominations and designs were standardized.

Some of the stamps in use during this time were based on British designs, while others, such as the George V issues, featured the recently deceased monarch alongside a pictorial depicting aspects of Nigeria’s culture or history.

Independence and Onward

Nigeria gained its independence from Britain in 1960, and almost immediately, tensions between the northern and southern halves of the new country started flaring up. A civil war waged between 1967 and 1970. Following that, the country was ruled by a series of military juntas.

Despite this turmoil, however, the country’s postal system managed to produce some very attractive definitive issues, many of which remain prized Nigeria collectors’ stamps today. Following the adoption of a new currency in 1973, a color series highlighting the various industries and other points of national pride was released. Looking at these stamps, which were printed continuously until 1986, you can see the impact inflation had on the country, as denominations steadily rise.

Where to Buy Rare Nigeria Stamps Online

Postal authorities have long recognized the importance of the philatelic market and encouraged the printing and sale of Nigerian collectors’ stamps. As a result, starting a collection is relatively easy.

If you’re looking for a place to buy rare Nigeria stamps, be sure to check out the Apfelbaum online store and buy-it-now sales. We frequently have hard-to-find Nigeria collectors’ stamps for sale from all eras of the country’s postal history. Looking for something in particular? Give us a call to see if we can help.