Guinea Okapi Souvenir Sheet

Okapi Stamps



In 1890 the explorer and journalist Henry Stanley was the first Westerner to report the existence of an animal known to the Wambutti pygmies as the O'api, which Stanley misheard as "atti." The Wambutti inhabit the dense Ituri Forest of the Congo. Occasionally their hunting pits would capture an O'api. The explorer and author Sir Harry H. Johnston undertook a journey into the Congo in 1899 to discover more about this mysterious creature. He befriended the Wambutti and learned more about the O'api from them. Initially Johnston thought the Okapi to be an unknown species of forest zebra. He obtained two headbands fashioned from okapi skins which he sent to the Zoological Society of London in 1900. The Wanbutti also showed him tracks which they said were those of the okapi. Johnston did not accept them since they were cloven-hoofed and therefore could not be from a member of the horse family. Later Karl Eriksson, the commandant of the Belgian Fort Mberi, sent Johnston a complete skin and two skulls. Johnston also sent these to the Zoological Society of London. The skulls proved that the okapi was not a new species of horse but instead a kind of forest giraffe. The okapi was given the scientific name Okapia johnstoni in honor of Sir Harry Johnston.

The story of the Okapi shows that a legendary animal known only to native peoples can exist.

1975 Zaire Okapi Coin

In addition to the stamps listed below, silver coins issued by Zaire in 1975 (left) and 1996 (right) depict the Okapi.

1996 Zaire Okapi Coin

In the table below, a (*) following a country name indicates that stamp is probably a "Cinderella" issue which is not valid as genuine postage.

Selected Okapi Stamps
Belgian Congo Okapi Stamp
Belgian Congo

Scott # 152
Issued 1932

I believe this stamp was the first to depict the Okapi.

Belgian Congo Okapi Stamp
Belgian Congo

Scott # 206
Issued 1942

This stamp is the same design as #225, but the inscription is reversed: Congo Belge then Belgisch Congo. Part of Belgium is French-speaking while the other part is Flemish-speaking. This dichotomy was reflected by inscriptions on the Congo colony stamps.

Belgian Congo Okapi Stamp
Belgian Congo

Scott # 225
Issued 1942

This stamp is the same design as #225, but the inscription is reversed: Belgisch Congo then Congo Belge.

Belgian Congo Okapi Stamp
Belgian Congo

Scott # 314
Issued 1959

This stamp is part of a series of twelve stamps depicting African wildlife.

Belgium Okapi Stamp
Belgium

Scott # B692
Issued 1961

This stamp is part of a set of six wildlife stamps. The other stamps in the set depict Przewalski's horses, the giraffe, the lesser panda, the white rhinoceros, and the European elk.

Benin Okapi Stamp
Benin

Scott # 934
Issued 1996

This stamp sbows a mother okapi and her calf. The stamp is part of a set of of six stamps depicting ungulates.

Burundi Okapi Stamp
Burundi

Scott # 336 (a)
Issued 1970

First of two okapi stamps on a souvenir sheet of eighteen publicizing the southernmost source of the Nile on Mt. Gikizi in Burundi.

Burundi Okapi Stamp
Burundi

Scott # 336 (b)
Issued 1970

Second of two okapi stamps on a souvenir sheet of eighteen publicizing the southernmost source of the Nile on Mt. Gikizi in Burundi.

Burundi Okapi Stamp
Burundi

Scott # C148d
Issued 1971

This stamp is part of a strip of four stamps which also depicts Grant's gazelles, a cheetah, and white-backed vultures.

Congo People's Republic Okapi Stamp
Congo People's Republic

Scott # 453
Issued 1978

This stamp is part of a set of six stamps showing endangered animals. The set was issued under the auspices of the World Wildlife Fund. The other animals depicted include the African buffalo, the rhinoceros, the chimpanzee, the hippopotamus, and Buffon's kob. Also see the first day cover.

Congo Democratic Republic Okapi Stamp
Congo Democratic Republic

Issued 2000

An Okapi appears at the left on this souvenir sheet

Cuba Okapi Stamp
Cuba

Scott # 2216
Issued 1978

This stamp is part of a set of four stamps depicting African wildlife. The other animals shown are the rhinoceros, the giraffe, and the mandrill.

Fujeira

Issued 1972

 

German Democratic Republic Okapi Stamp
German Democratic Republic

Scott # 2113
Issued 1980

This stamp is part of a set of six stamps depicting wildlife of the world. A first day cover features the stamp along with a cachet from the National Audubon Society.

Guinea Okapi Stamp
Guinea

Scott # 1395
Issued 1997

This stamp is part of a series of seven stamps depicting African wildlife. The other stamps show the elephant, rhinoceros, wart hog, cheetah, giraffe, and pygmy hippopotamus.

Somali Republic (*) Okapi Stamp
Somali Republic (*)

Issued 1999

This stamp is part of a set depicting African wildlife.

Zaire Okapi Stamp
Zaire

Scott # 1168
Issued 1984

This first stamp in a set of four depicts a grazing okapi. Also see the first day cover and the maximum card.

Zaire Okapi Stamp
Zaire

Scott # 1169
Issued 1984

This second stamp in a set of four depicts a resting okapi. Also see the first day cover and the maximum card.

Zaire Okapi Stamp
Zaire

Scott # 1170
Issued 1984

This third stamp in a set of four depicts a mother okapi with her young. Also see the first day cover and the maximum card.

Zaire Okapi Stamp
Zaire

Scott # 1171
Issued 1984

This fourth stamp in a set of four depicts an okapi in water. Also see the first day cover and the maximum card.

Zaire Okapi Stamp
Zaire

Scott # 1172
Issued 1984

This souvenir sheet shows an expanded image of the okapis in water as depicted on #1171.




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Last modified by pib on July 6, 2003.