Arab coins: description, history, interesting facts

Each dirham has a rich history, its design, images and other details carry secret messages about the traditions and history of the nation. It is also very interesting that not all Arabs' coins are round, there are also hexagonal copies, which is quite unusual for modern monetary units. The cost of ordinary everyday money is not high, but rare items may well prove to be a gold mine for collectors and numismatists. In general, the coins of the United Arab Emirates have a very interesting and deep history. Each copy carries the traditions of the people, its values ​​and the subject of pride, especially with regard to commemorative coins.

UAE coin history

Throughout the territory of modern Arab Emirates , the money of the British Empire was in use, namely, sovereigns, thalers and Indian rupees. The fact is that at that time there was absolutely no special need for the development of our own monetary systems. Only in 1959 in the Persian Gulf did its own currency appear, issued by India and England. It received the name of the Gulf rupees. This was done in order to optimize and streamline the circulation of financial resources in this territory. These were the first Arab coins, and their prices were fully consistent with Indian rupees. The money itself looked identical, the only difference between them was in the room, on the Persian banknotes it contained the letter Z.

arab coin

The situation changed in the sixties when rupees began to fall in price due to the war with China, during which the budget of India became scarce. Naturally, this did not suit the Gulf countries, and they began to smoothly but confidently switch to another currency. In those days, Saudi, Qatari and Dubai realities were used. Separated from all Abu Dhabi, completely switching to the Bahrain dinar. After the unification of the emirates in the seventies, the creation of its own currency was required. And in May 1973, the first UAE dirhams appeared. The pegging to the dollar of this currency occurred in 1997, the rate was 3.6725 AED for one dollar. The approximate price of coins of the United Arab Emirates in Russian rubles is as follows: 1 dirham (2007) - 15-16 rubles., 50 fils (2005) - 36-44 rubles., 750 dirhams (1980) - about 70,000 rubles.


"Dirham" comes from the ancient Greek word "drachma", which was used throughout Byzantium. It was thanks to the Palestinian trade routes that these coins came to the Arabs. This currency appeared in the seventh century and spread very quickly around the world. Even in Russia, treasures with these coins are still found. Many regions of the Ottoman Empire still use this money.

coins of the arab emirates

At the moment, there are two types of dirhams - Arab and Moroccan. Also, this name is used on the territory of Libya for younger units, so one dinar is equal to a thousand dirhams in value, in Qatar one rial is equivalent to one hundred Qatari dirhams, and in Jordan one dinar costs ten dirhams.

Varieties of coins

Initially, emirates issued coins in denominations of one, five, ten, twenty five and fifty fils, as well as one dirham. The only change at the moment is that the first three face values ​​are no longer in demand, and it is very difficult to find them in circulation.

Coin Description

One of the most common is considered an Arab coin with a jug. In fact, it depicts a coffee pot called dalla. This is a very popular thing in the Gulf countries. Using it to make coffee has traditionally been accepted since ancient times, and the process itself is quite complicated, one might even say it is a special ritual for Arabs. Under the image of the coffee pot there is a coinage of the year of issue of the coin according to Islamic and Gregorian times.

arab coins and prices

Also on the reverse of the coin is an inscription in English and Arabic. The weight of the coin is slightly more than six grams, and the diameter is 24 millimeters. It is made of steel and coated on top with nickel, has a round shape. An interesting fact is that until 1989 the dirham was completely different in design from modern coins, but its weight was more than 11 grams and its diameter exceeded 28 millimeters.

50 fils

And on this Arab coin, the Gulf government decided to depict oil rigs. This is not surprising, because they are the main source of their wealth.

coins arab emirates Price

This coin is 4.4 grams in weight and has a diameter of 21 millimeters. It, like the dirham, is made of nickel-plated steel, but its shape has a hexagonal smoothed appearance. Until 1989, it was round, weighed more than 6.5 grams and was 24.8 millimeters in diameter.

Coins of small face value

The Arab coin of 25 fils has an interesting design, it depicts a gazelle. She has standard material, steel with nickel, a round shape, weight - about 3.5 grams, and a diameter - 20 millimeters. And on 10 fils a boat is depicted, its weight is 3 grams, and its diameter is 18.5 millimeters.

antique arab coins
An interesting fact is that ten, five and one fils are round and made, unlike other coins, of bronze. They depict fish and palm trees, respectively. Due to weight, many cases of fraud began in 2006, where dirhams and fils were presented as more expensive Filipino coins.

Commemorative coins

The issue of Arab commemorative coins began in 1976. The first of them is dedicated to the celebration of five years since the unification of the United Arab Emirates, it was created from gold weighing 20 grams. At the moment, there are more than 60 memorable dirhams, and most of them are poured from gold and silver. In the free access there are only ten of them, and they are poured out of base metals. The most famous of them is the Arab coin, issued in honor of the fiftieth anniversary of the start of oil production in the Persian Gulf.

coins of arab countries

It is very interesting that the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates hides information about the circulation of commemorative coins. In most cases, it is 250 thousand copies. At the moment, you can sell such coins for about $ 10. The most recent commemorative coin issued by the Gulf countries is dedicated to the proclamation of the Crown Prince in Abu Dhabi. Interestingly, the coin was released only in 2015, although this day was still in 2008. Many are trying to find a secret political meaning in this fact.

Ancient arab coins

The oldest coin of the Arabs is considered to be the dirham, issued back in the 7th century BC from silver. Its distinctive feature was that instead of images the coinage contained lines from the Koran and the date of issue. The development of trade at that time led to the fact that these coins are still found in England and Europe. These thin silver coins are often found in treasures, and they are even found in Russia.

arabic coin with a jug

Many people wonder: how could such a number of these ancient silverware from Arab countries be found around the world? Some historians suggest that the reason lies in the fact that initially the dirhams were the Arabic version of the Greek coins, so they spread so quickly everywhere, due to the widely developed trading network. They were created in strict accordance with religious rules. They never depicted birds, animals or rulers. At first, they contained only a year of release, a place and lines from the scriptures. Later, the names of the ruling kings of the Persian Gulf began to be minted on coins.

Silver antique coins

The issue of dirhams in the Gulf countries was carried out for many centuries in a row. This is especially true of the period of the Middle Ages, at that time each major city located along the Silk Road issued its own currency. Naturally, they all differed from each other. Each issued money, different in shape, image, size, and, most importantly, the sample of metal was also different. An interesting fact is that in the tenth century the Tocharistan dirhams were issued, their size reached 45 millimeters, while most of these coins, issued in other places, weighed about 3 grams.

From the 9th to the 11th century, we can safely say that the dirhams were a full-fledged national currency at that time. It was one of the most stable currencies, and was traded using it both in Africa and in Russia. The thing is that it was with these monetary units that the sample of metal changed most slowly, given that the tendency for the dilution of precious metals around the world was very progressive.


It is traced that the coins of the United Arab Emirates from a long time to the present moment are in great demand. The modern currency has officially appeared recently, but now it is used around the world and has its own bindings to well-known financial units. And how many treasures are found in different countries with silver dirhams, they simply can not be counted. In any case, many coins of the Arab countries can now be sold for a fairly large price. The main thing is to understand that in your hands is not just another everyday coin, but a rare treasure.


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