Middle East Currencies
Copyright 8 July 1957
Linn's Stamp News, Sidney, Ohio USA 45365
Reprinted with permission from the July 8, 1957 issue of Linn's Stamp
of the Arab world's 22 states issue distinctive postage stamps at the
present time, expressing their value in at least ten different types of
them up from west to east and south throughout the entire Arab national
area, they are:
Sahara: Centimos and pesetas on a par with those of Spain.
Empire of Morocco: Centimes and francs throughout most of the
empire, tied to the French franc, but with values of stamps used
in the former Spanish protectorate zone temporarily expressed in Spanish
centimos and pesetas, and, of course, peseta and
British pound values on the stamps of the Spanish and British postal offices
still operating in the city of Tetuan whose international status is in
the process of being eliminated.
Centime and franc currency of France in the French-occupied
areas and probably also in the liberated areas of the Algerian Republican
forces now fighting for their freedom from France.
Centime and franc residues of the former French protectorate
Kingdom of Libya: Milliemes and pounds and par with, or a little
higher than, the British pound.
of Egypt: Milliemes, piasters and pounds, at somewhat less
than Sterling during the continued financial crisis following the Suez
Egyptian currency, soon to replaced by Sudanese money in the same terminology
and probably of similar value.
Milliemes, piasters and pounds of the Egyptian Republic, as
used in the Gaza Strip with distinctive "Palestine" bilingual
Fils and dinars on a par with Sterling.
Piasters and pounds at the rate of 320 piasters or 3
pounds 20 piasters to the U.S. dollar.
Same as Lebanon but usually worth some 10% less.
Fils and dinars, on a par with Sterling.
Arabia: Guerches and riyals, with the riyal being worth
around 25 cents U.S. This word riyal probably comes from the old
Spanish term real, a coin formerly in circulation both in Spain
and Spanish America, which accounts for its appearance on some of the
early classic issues of Latin America. It came to mean any large silver
coin in the Arabian area, and eventually to designate the Maria Theresa
thaler or trade dollar, but the modern Saudi riyal is much smaller
than the latter and worth less than a third as much.
Annas and rupees of India, although overprinted on United Kingdom
stamps now instead of on those of the former Indian Empire, on a par with
the Indian currency.
Same currency as Kuwait.
Trucial Oman States, Oman And Muscat: Same currency as Bahrain and
Kuwait o/p on U.K. stamps but without state name overprint.
Protectorate: Qaiti and Kathiri states in Hadhramaut alone issue definitive
stamps, under Aden superscription and in Aden's East Africa currency,
100 cents to the shilling, 20 shillings to the pound, which is approximately
equal to the British pound sterling.
Crown Colony: Same currency as protectorate states.
Bogash and ahmadis. 40 bogash equal one ahmadi,
formerly called 'imadi and commonly called riyal. The Yemeni riyal,
corresponding in size and and silver content to the Maria Theresa thaler
or trade dollar, is worth approximately 80 cents U.S., instead of 25 cents,
which is the value of the Saudi one. The singular of bogash is
bogshah. This, and the constant switching back and forth from French
to English transliteration of the Arabic spelling has given us the confusing
"bogchah", "bogaches", "bogsha"and
its attempted pluralizing in English of an Arabic singular, as "bogshahs"which
appear on the various foreign-printed Yemenite sets.
only set printed in Yemen itselfScott's numbers 1, 2 and 3expressed
the individual stamps' value in Arabic writing on the left-hand dagger
blade, in fractions of the riyal or 'imadi. Thus: Naf
thumn 'imadi, or 1/2 of 1/8 'imadi, and thumn
'imadi or, 1/8 'imadi respectively. Thus, none of the
standard catalogues faithfuly reproduce the terminology expressed on the
stamps, which corresponds to actual pentagonal silver coins of the realm
in current use today.