West Africa Study Circle       


Collecting Gold Coast / Ghana: QE2 and early independence


Victorian material

EVII, GV Keyplates

Pictorial definitives 1928-1952

QE2 and early independence

Decimal period

QE2 defs
Figs.11 and 12
Nkrumah head
change of text
min sheet

Queen Elizabeth's accession in 1953 was marked with a re-issue of the picture set with her portrait in place of her father's (fig. 11). However, the movement to self-government had been growing for several years and in March 1957 Gold Coast became Ghana, the first black dominion within the Commonwealth. Initially, the pre-independence stamps were overprinted "Ghana Independence 6th March 1957" (fig. 12).

Father of the new nation was Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and his portrait featured on the first set of Ghana stamps in place of the monarch (fig. 13). A new authority, the Ghana Postal Agency, was created to replace the Crown Agents with responsibility for procuring stamps and postal stationery. For almost ten years Harrison & Sons printed in photogravure an ever-increasing number of commemorative sets. Obvious subjects such as Africa Freedom Day, Founder's Day and Anniversaries of Independence Day were mingled with celebrating both the 150th Birth Anniversary and the Death Centenary of Lincoln. A very colourful new definitive set was issued in 1959 with ½d and 3d values carrying the inscription "God's Omnipotence". As the momentum to shake off the colonial influence grew, these stamps were reissued two years later re-inscribed "Gye Nyame" (fig. 14). Prince Philip featured on a special issue in November 1959 when he visited Ghana and exactly two years later Queen Elizabeth's royal visit was also commemorated.

Like many postal agencies, Ghana was very aware of the value of issuing material for philatelists and miniature sheets (fig. 15) accompanied many sets. However, the agency was for a time operated from New York receiving stamps directly from the printers in the UK. First day covers were then created there and sent straight to collectors without ever touching Ghana, an act which devalued them in some people's eyes. As commemorative issues replaced each other with rapidity the agency was often left with remainders and Gibbons (Ref. 1) reports that in 1960 these were put on the market cancelled-to-order. Some people observe that these are indistinguishable from genuinely postally used examples but the writer believes they can be identified.