Commemorative Issues of 1964 and 1965 Part 1
The past few posts have concentrated on the definitive issues since World War II, so I thought it was time to show you some of the commemorative issues that appeared in the early years after independence. The issues in this post all appeared between March 8, 1964 and January 1, 1965. All of them, except for the Kennedy memorial issue, and the 3d of the First Anniversary of Republic issue were printed by Harrison and Sons, while the former issue was printed in Israel by two firms: the government printer, which produced the 2/6d and 5/- values, and Lewin-Epstein, which printed the 1/3d value of the Kennedy issue and the 3d of the First Anniversary of the Republic Issue.
The first of these was the Nubian Monuments Preservation Issue, designed by M. Shamir, which appeared on March 8, 1964:
6d Yellow olive and emerald - Queen Nefertari
2/6d Brown, deep olive and emerald - Rameses II
The Nubian Monuments are part of two large rock temples, called the Abu Simbel temples, which were carved out of the mountainside during the reign of Ramses II. They were carved over a 20 year period that began in 1264 BC and were completed in 1244 BC. Over the centuries, the temples fell into disuse and eventually they were almost entirely lost to sandstorms, which almost completely submerged them. They were re-discovered by Archaeologists in the 19th century. When the Aswan Dam was constructed on the Nile in the early 1960's, Lake Nasser was created, and the waters from this lake threatened to submerge the monuments. So in 1964, under the direction of UNESCO, a massive campaign was launched to raise funding to save the monuments by relocating them to an artificial mountain that was 65 metres higher and 200 metres back from the water. It cost $40 million at the time to carefully cut the monuments into large blocks weighing 30 tons each and reassembling them. It was at the time the largest and most challenging feat of Archaeological engineering that had ever been undertaken. The entire project took 4 years and was completed in 1968. These two stamps were issued to publicize the fundraising campaign.
Just over 9 months after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, on November 22, 1963, most countries around the world issued stamps in his memory. Kennedy was celebrated as a humanitarian and champion of world peace, and Nigeria was one of the countries to issue stamps in his honour. The issue that appeared was released on August 27, 1964. It consisted of three stamps and one souvenir sheet. The souvenir sheet is not shown as yet, but will be shown either in an update to this post, or in a future post. However, it contains four imperforate examples of the 5/- value, which is shown below:
1/3d light violet and black - Kennedy and the United Nations Emblem - designed by M. Shamir
2/6d Black, red, blue and green - Kennedy and U.S. and Nigerian flags - Designed by M. Goaman
5/- Black, deep blue, red and green - Kennedy and flags - designed by Mr. Bottiau.
When Nigeria first attained independence on October 1, 1960, it was known as the Federation of Nigeria. However on October 1, 1963, it became a republic. For five years after this, each year, Nigeria issued a set of stamps to commemorate the anniversary. The first of these appeared on October 1, 1964 and featured three prominent men who were champions of independence.
3d red-brown - President Azikiwe - designed by S. Apostolou.
Nnamdi Azikiwe was born November 16, 1904 and died May 11, 1996. He was the first president of Nigeria from October 1, 1963 until January 16, 1966. He was born in Northern Nigeria, but his parents were Igbo. He attended university in the US, obtaining his bachelor's degree in 1930, and a master's degree in 1933. His political career started early, and like many revolutionaries, it began as a writer for a newspaper: The African Morning Post. In this paper he wrote many nationalist articles that denounced the existing colonial order. He had a long and distinguished political career in Nigeria prior to becoming the president in 1963. He was ousted from power by the military coup on January 16, 1966 and during the Biafran war of Independence he served as a spokesman for the breakaway republic, as Biafra was the Igbo region of the country. He made several unsuccessful bids to re-run for president in later years, for the last time in 1983.
1/3d Green - Herbert Macaulay - designed by W.H Irvine
Herbert Macaulay was one of the earliest proponents of Nigerian nationalism. Born on November 14, 1864 he adopted his position of opposition to British rule from a very early age. In June 1923, he founded the Nigerian National Democratic Party, which was the first Nigerian political party. This party won all the seats in the elections of 1923, 1928 and 1933. The dominance of his party ended in 1938, when The more radical Nigerian Youth Movement won the elections for the Lagos Town Council. In 1944 he co-founded with Azikiwe the National Council of Nigeria and Cameroons, which was established to bring all Nigerian peoples together to fight for independence. He died on May 7, 1946.
As an interesting aside, and a subject of my next post, I have a registered letter sent to Montgomery Ward in the US, in 1920, for an order of merchandise, what is addressed by Herbert Macaulay himself, while he was living at Kirsten Hall in Lagos, but before he established the Nigerian National Democratic Party.
2/6d Deep grey-green King Jaja of Opobo - also designed by W.H. Irvine
Jaja was one of the most powerful men in the Niger Delta in the 1880's. He was born in 1821 and sold into slavery when he was twelve, in Bonny. He proved to be very astute in business, managing to earn his way out of slavery. He went on to become the King of the Opobo region, which was a breakaway region within the Niger Delta. The British had fairly tight control over trade in this area, but Jaja had attempted to restrict the access of many trade routes to local Nigerians only and had tried to shut the British out. He was eventually arrested and taken to London, where he stayed in Buckingham Palace with the Queen. He was later exiled to Saint Vincent and then Barbados. He was given permission to return to Opobo in 1891, but died en-route. Some say he was poisoned.
Next, on October 10, 1964 a set of stamps was issued to commemorate the 1964 Olympic games, which were held in Tokyo. This set featured the second triangular stamp of Nigeria and also a souvenir sheet, also not yet illustrated, that featured an imperforate block of 4 of this triangular stamp. The denominations and designs were:
3d Sepia and olive-green - boxing gloves - designed by A. Adalade
6d Emerald and indigo - high jump - designed by S. Medahunsi
1/3d Sepia and yellow olive - running - designed by M. Shamir
2/6d Sepia and chestnut - hurdles - designed by M. Goaman
The last issue featured in this post was issued on January 1, 1965 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Nigerian Scout movement. In common with other issues discussed above, this set also has a souvenir sheet, which consists of an imperforate block of 4 of the 1/3d value.
1d Brown - scouts on a hilltop designed by S. Apostolou.
3d Red, black and emerald - scout badge on a shield - designed by H.N.G. Cowham and Eagle Scout N.A. Lasisi
6d - Red, sepia and yellow-green - scout badges - designed by W.H. Irvine
1/3d Bistre-brown, greenish yellow and black-green - Baden Powell and Nigerian scout. - designed by S. Apostoulou
That's it for a run-down of the commemortive issues from 1964 and early 1965.