LOCATION: Arabia, on Persian Gulf
GOVERNMENT: Sheikdom under British protection
POPULATION: 25,000 (est. 1971)
CAPITAL: Abu Dhabi
FIRST STAMPS USED: British PAs in Eastern Arabia 1963
FIRST STAMPS ISSUED: 30 March 1964
LAST STAMPS ISSUED: 3 June 1972.
100 Naye Paise = 1 Rupee (1964-1966)
100 Fils = 1 Dinar (1966-1972)
The town of Abu Dhabi, on an offshore island, was first settled in 1761 and signed its first treaty with the British in 1820. The sheikdom became a British protectorate in 1892 as did several other emirates in the area which collectively became known as the Trucial States. After lapsing into obscurity, Abu Dhabi’s fortunes soared with the successful prospecting of oil off Das Island in 1956-60.
Postal services were established in 1960 to service oil workers on Das Island and were run by the British Postal Agencies in Eastern Arabia through the Bahrain office. The first British Agency post office in Abu Dhabi itself opened on 30 March 1963. British “value only” stamps were used rather than the stamps issued specifically for use in the Trucial States; these were British stamps overprinted in local currency and are usually listed in catalogs under “Oman”. On 30 March 1964, Abu Dhabi began issuing its own stamps and took full control of its postal services on 1 January 1967.
The British treaty of protection ended when the sheikdom joined with the other Trucial States to form the independent United Arab Emirates on 2 December 1971. Abu Dhabi continued issuing its own stamps in 1972 with the first United Arab Emirates stamps appearing the following year. Today, Abu Dhabi is a major oil exporter and has one of the highest per capita incomes in the world.
Abu Dhabi issued a total of eighty-four different General Issue stamps between 1964 and 1972, many of which are relatively expensive. The sheikdom didn’t issue any stamps specifically marked for Airmail, Postage Due, or other services. The final four stamps – a surcharge released on 8 December 1971 and a set of three picturing the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem released on 3 June 1972 – were issued after Abu Dhabi joined the United Arab Emirates. Stamps of the UAE replaced those of Abu Dhabi in January 1973 with UAE Scott #1-12 used only in the sheikdom, except for the 10f and 25f values which were issued later in Dubai and Sharjah.
I only have one stamp from Abu Dhabi, which matches my goal of “A Stamp From Everywhere.” Scott #40 was released on 6 August 1967, part of a short set of four (Scott #38-41) issued to supplement a set of 12 released at the beginning of April. The 60f blue is perforated 14½x14 and printed by the photogravure method. It pictures Sheik Zaid bin Sultan al-Nahyan who was the emir of Abu Dhabi starting on 6 August 1966 and was the principal driving force behind the formation of the United Arab Emirates. He was the first Ra’is (President) of the UAE, holding the post for over 33 years until his death on 2 November 2004.