Benin/Dahomey

Dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals on stamps and postmarks of Benin and Dahomey

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Contents:

Benin, formerly Dahomey, is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Togo to the west, Nigeria to the east, and Burkina Faso and Niger to the north. A majority of the population live on its small southern coastline on the Bight of Benin, part of the Gulf of Guinea in the northernmost tropical portion of the Atlantic Ocean. The capital of Benin is Porto-Novo, but the seat of government is in Cotonou, the country's largest city and economic capital.
Benin covers an area of approximately 115,000 square kilometers, with a population of approximately 9.98 million. Benin is a tropical, sub-Saharan nation, highly dependent on agriculture, with substantial employment and income arising from subsistence farming. The official language of Benin is French. However, indigenous languages such as Fon and Yoruba are commonly spoken. The most significant religions in Benin include Roman Catholicism, followed closely by Islam, Vodun, and Protestantism.
This region was referred to as the Slave Coast from as early as the 17th century due to the large number of slaves shipped to the New World during the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. After slavery was abolished, France took over the country and renamed it French Dahomey.
In 1960, Dahomey gained full independence from France, and had a tumultuous period with many different democratic governments, many military coups and military governments.
A Marxist–Leninist state called the People's Republic of Benin existed between 1975 and 1990.
In 1991, it was replaced by the current multi-party Republic of Benin. [R1]

Stamps inscribed Dahomey were issued between 1899 and 1942. From them until 1960, the stamps of French West Africa were used but Dahomey-specific stamps were on sale again from 1960. Even when the country name was changed to Benin in 1975, many of Dahomey stamps were reused, by overprint country name and face value, as shown below. Some of these overprinted stamps are rare and expensive, other are common. [R2]



Official stamps of Dahomey related to Paleontology: dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals

23.09.1974 "Prehistoric animals" Old stamps of Dahomey can be still purchased at post offices in Benin and can be even used to pay postage as shown on the example below.
Dinosaurs and Pterosaurs on stamps of Dahomey 1974 Tyrannosaurus rex stamp of Dahomey from set of prehistoric animals from 1974 on a letter frob Benin 2019


Official stamps of Benin related to Paleontology: dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals

14.12.1984 "Dinosaurs" ??.08.1985 "Dinosaurs" [1] ??.??.1994 "Dinosaurs"
Dinosaurs on stamps of Benin 1984 Dinosaurs on stamps of Benin 1985 Dinosaurs on stamps of Benin 1994
??.??.1995 "Rhamphorhynchus" 30.08.1996 "Prehistoric animals" 25.07.1998 "Dinosaurs"
Dinosaurs on stamps of Benin 1995 Dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals on stamps of Benin 1996 Dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals on stamps of Benin 1998
??.??.2000 "Prehistoric animals" [2] ??.12.2008 "Tyrannosaurus" ??.04.2009 "Stegosaurus"
Prehistoric animals on stamps of Benin 2000 Tyrannosaurus rex  dinosaure on stamp of Benin 2008 Stegosaurus dinosaurs on stamps of Benin 2009
2019 (?) "Prehistoric animals" [3]
Prehistoric animals on stamps of Benin 2019 MICHEL Dinos - whole world catalog - contain technical details and prices of stamps with dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals

Notes:
Overprinted stamp of Tyrannosaurus from prehistoric stamps set of Dahomey 1974 Overprinted stamp of Stegosaurus from prehistoric stamps set of Dahomey 1974
Surcharge variation of overprinted stamp of Stegosaurus from prehistoric stamps set of Dahomey 1974
[1] Overprint of Dahomey stamp from 1974, the only Dahomey's stamps set related to Paleontology.

There are many variation of overprinted stamps, differentiated by position of country name on the left side and position of new face value on the top.  [R3]


Here (on the right) are some examples of shifted text on stamps of Stegosaurus.



[2] Overprinted stamps from "Prehistoric animals" stamps from 1996.
The stamp of Longisquama is very rare. The Dunkleosteus stamp is also rare, but was still available in post offices in Benin even in 2018 and can still be used for postage.

Overprinted stamp of Dunkleosteus on register letter from Benin to Germany

Similar to overprinted stamps from 1985 these stamps also have many variations of surcharged text as shown on the right.
In recent years, more overprinted stamps from the 1996 set have appeared on auction sites l ike ebay and delcampe. Their origin and year of issue is not known at this time.
Surcharge variation of overprinted stamp of Dunkleosteus from prehistoric stamps set of Benin 1996

[3] This two overprinted stamps from set of six "prehistoric animal" stamps from 1996, appeared on Internet this year.
They looks very similar to two other overprinted stamps of the same set, overprinted in 2000.



Commemorative postmarks of Benin that related to Paleontology: prehistoric animals

Legend is here
30.08.1996 "Prehistoric animals" [FDC] 25.07.1998 "Prehistoric animals" [FDC]
prehistoric animal on commemorative postmark of Benin 1996 prehistoric animal on commemorative postmark of Benin 1998 MICHEL Dinos - whole world catalog - contain technical details and prices of stamps with dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals



References:
  •   [R1] Benin: Wikipedia, WikiTravel, FlagCounter.
  •   [R2] Postal History and Philately of Benin: Wikipedia,
              Links to official website of Post Authority, stamp catalog and list of new stamps of Benin are herj.
  •   [R3] Overprint variations of Benin dinosaur stamps from 1985: stampedout.nl.


Acknowledgements:
Many thanks to Dr. Peter Voice from Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences, Western Michigan University, for the draft page review and his very valuable comments.


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