Ha’penny independence issue

3 02 2008

Ghana independence overprint issue

Ghana, Scott 5, 1957, 32mm x 23mm
This is the same stamp issued by the Gold Coast (Scott 148) with the main design covered with a bold black overprint Ghana Independence 6th March, 1957. Unlike many other overprinted issues, the issuer declined to obliterate the old name of the colony which appears in three places on this stamp. The borders are engraved with a banknote style pattern and there is an inset profile of Queen Elizabeth II. Ghana was the first of the sub-Saharan colonies to receive independence in West Africa.

This stamp depicts only the “position” of the Gold Coast, highlighted, alongside Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Nigeria instead of a detailed map, which would show more topography and perhaps a city or two. Check out, for instance, the features on this 1747 map of West Africa which labels the neighboring regions the “Tooth Coast” and the “Slave Coast” and has the amazing title A new and accurate map of Negroland. (via Sociolingo). The stamp does, however show lines of latitude and longitude in the same red used to render the outline of West Africa, revealing that the southern edge of the new country is only about 300 nautical miles away from the 0° North 0° West spot in the petroleum-rich Gulf of Guinea.

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