Zambian Stamps

Zambia - African nation

Postage Stamps of the Early Years 1964 - 1968

by Ron Shanahan

A One Penny coin dated 1966 and the 1d stamp from the first definitive issue of 24th October 1964

"One Zambia - One Nation,
One Nation - One People,
One People - One President,
One President - Kaunda!"

Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, or K.K. as he was affectionately known had a very stabilising effect on the newly independent Zambia.

The first set of stamps issued by the newly independent nation was to commemorate their Independence. The country, which was Northern Rhodesia, was to have been called Zambesia, but the then Foreign Minister, Simon Kapwepwe, persuaded the House of Representatives, and the House of Chiefs, that Zambia would be snappier, and more easily accepted.
The 3d value shows President Kaunda against a background of the Victoria Falls, the 6d shows the College of Further Education, Lusaka, named after the former Governor, Sir Evelyn Home and the 1/3d shows a Barotse dancer.

The first definitive issue in Sterling values were issued on 24th October 1964. Designed by Gabrielle Ellison, a Zambian artist they showed the ancient and modern facets of life in Zambia.

½d maize-farmer & silo  1d radiographer 2d Chinyau Dancer 3d Cotton   4d Angoni bull

6d communications   9d Sawmills   1/- fishing   1/3 Tobacco worker   2/- Basket making

2/6d Game reserve   5/- Education   10/- Copper mining   £1 Makishi dancer

1965 saw the release of three commemorative sets, all of which had a counter sale life of three months.
They were Centenary of the I.T.U. and the International Co-operation Year, both being issued on the same day, 26th July,

and the First Anniversary of Independence issued on October 18th.

1966 saw the release of only two commemorative sets. The Inauguration of the W.H.O. Headquarters, Geneva, on May 18th

then on July 12th two stamps for the Opening of the Zambia University.

1967. Three sets were issued, the first on May 2nd to mark the Inauguration of the National Assembly Building. This was the Zambian Parliament and the building had a copper faced rectangle in place of a dome. To show this, the printers (Harrisons) used a thin copper film.

Then on October 2nd, two stamps were issued for the opening of Lusaka International Airport. This airport was designed to take the Jumbo jets of the 1970's.

Both these sets were designed by Mrs. Ellison.

The third set was issued on 23rd October and showed the National Development.

The Government had been working to 'plans' and the results were shown on these stamps. The increasing air traffic had been the impetus for an increase in the telecommunications industry and the political implications of Rhodesia's Unilateral Declaration of Independence were the impetus for the opening of the Nkandabwe and Siankondobe coalfields and the road link with Tanzania.

January 16th 1968 was 'D' day and the Zambian economy went decimal, using the 10/- unit, which was called 'kwacha' - which in the language of one of the tribes means 'Freedom' - and the smaller coins were 'Ngwee' - which means 'little pieces'.

The reverse side of the Two Kwacha note.
The stamps, designed by Mrs. Ellison, featured tribal dancers and fauna, different from those on the sterling issue.

The obverse of the Ten Kwacha note showing Dr. Kenneth Kaunda.

The wealth of Zambia is dependent on the copper mined and smelted on the copperbelt. Ndola is the railing centre for the north, where the annual trade fair is held.

The map on the stamp shows the position of Ndola in relation to the rest of Zambia, and how close it is to the congo. The Zambian/Congolese border is only six miles from Ndola.
This stamp was issued on 29th June 1968, the day of the Fair and the Zambian Post Office had a stand there.

On October 23rd 1968, three stamps were issued to commemorate three different events. Once again all were designed by Mrs. Ellison and printed by Harrisons.
The 10n stamp issued for the 20th Anniversary of the World Health Organisaton was criticised as the '20th' was thought to overshadow the value shown, so that many people thought it was a 20n stamp.
The 3n stamp commemorated International Human Rights Year and the 25n UNICEF 1946-1968.

In the early years of Independence, Zambia had a very conservative stamp issuing policy. There were no major errors on the stamps, such as values omitted, missing colours or missing heads.*
One of the more obvious varieties was on the 10/- value shown below. The black colour shifted to the left giving a totally detatched light from the Davy lamp on the miners helmet. The frame has also moved to the left and the back of the miner encroaches on to the inscription "copper mining". The normal stamp is on the right and the pair on the left show the variety.

Another small variety occurs on the 5/- 'Education' stamp. On this stamp, which shows the cylinder numbers in the selvedge, the pupil on the right of the group has a line across the top of the head, giving the impression of a mortar board.


Ron with sister-in-law Jean at Victoria Falls - photo taken by Eunice.

This is a postcard we bought and sent to my parents in England.

On the back it is dated 25.2.67 and the message is

“Here we were today, across the border to Rhodesia. The falls are fabulous
and we walked in the rain forest opposite the falls and got soaked from the spray,
much love. E and R ”

When Jean was with us we took her to the street market in Cairo Road, Lusaka and
she bought a beautiful necklace of malachite, which she still has.

*Update on varieties, information from Pierron listing.

1965 Anniversary of Independence 6d - Missing bronze purple.
1966 W.H.O. 3d Missing gold.
1968 Lusaka cathedral 1 ngwee. Missing copper bronze.
1968 Vimbuza dancer 8 ngwee Missing copper bronze.
1969 I.L.O. 3 ngwee Missing copper bronze.
1975 Independence monument 15 ngwee. Missing magenta.
1985 Wildlife 12 ngwee. Missing orange brown and brown

Pierron is a fantastic reference for anyone interested in missing colours and other variations on stamps.

Latest updates and additions, greater detail many more images, news, tutorials and much, much more.

This page was written in 1996 and now in 2019 I have acquired the following from Glen Stephens.
I hummed and hahhed quite a bit before buying it, but it was such an appealing error that I suggested I be given it as a birthday present, courtesy of a dear sister-in-law.


ZAMBIA 1988 Bird stamp 10K **SPECTACULAR** Colour Shift!
I was in Zambia last week, at the very edge of the Zambezi River, about to be swept over the edge of Victoria Falls into Zimbabwe so this was an opportune buy today, in a collection of printing errors.
THE most spectacular Colour Misregistration you will ever see from ANYWHERE. The 1988 10K Chicken top value of set a normal copy is shown - hard to believe it is the same stamp!
Fresh MUH corner copy with Plate number. For a BIRDS collection a real showpiece.

For some reason, chickens (chooks as they are known here) have a great appeal
and this is borne out by the small painting on our wall by Alan Purnell.

Copyright EARS Leisurewrite 1996.

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