Arab coins: description, history, interesting facts
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 Arab coins are round, there are also hexagonal specimens, which is rather unusual for modern monetary units. The cost of ordinary everyday money is not high, but rare specimens may well turn out to be a gold mine for collectors and numismatists. In general, the coins of the United Emirates have a very interesting and deep history. Each copy carries the traditions of the people, their values ​​and pride, especially commemorative coins.

History of UAE coins

Throughout the territory of the 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 their own monetary systems. Only in 1959 did the Persian Gulf have its own currency, issued by India and England. It was called the rupees of the Persian Gulf. This was done in order to optimize and streamline the circulation of financial resources in this territory. These werethe first Arab coins, and their prices fully corresponded to Indian rupees. The money itself looked identical, the only difference between them was in the number, on Persian banknotes it contained the letter Z.

Arabic coin

The situation changed in the sixties when the rupee began to fall in value due to the war with China, during which India's budget became a deficit. Naturally, this did not suit the countries of the Persian Gulf, and they began to smoothly but surely switch to another currency. In those days, Saudi, Qatari and Dubai reals were used. Separated from all Abu Dhabi, completely switching to the Bahraini dinar. After the unification of the emirates in the seventies, it was necessary to create their own currency. And in May 1973, the first UAE dirhams appeared. This currency was pegged to the dollar in 1997, the rate was 3.6725 AED per 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 trade routes of Palestine that these coins came to the Arabs. This currency appeared in the seventh century and very quickly spread throughout the world. Even in Russia, treasures with these coins are still being found. Many regions of the Ottoman Empire still use this money.

Arab Emirates coins

At the moment there are two types of dirhams - Arabic and Moroccan.This name is also used on the territory of Libya for junior units, for example, one dinar is worth a thousand dirhams, in Qatar one riyal is equivalent to one hundred Qatari dirhams, and in Jordan one dinar costs ten dirhams.

Varieties of coins

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

Description of coins

One of the most common is the Arab coin with a jug. In fact, it depicts a coffee pot, which is 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 the Arabs. Under the image of the coffee pot there is a minting of the year of issue of the coin in Islamic and Gregorian time.

Arab coins and prices

Also on the reverse of the coin there is an inscription in English and Arabic. The weight of the coin is slightly over six grams, and the diameter is 24 millimeters. It is made of steel and covered with nickel on top, has a round shape. An interesting fact is that until 1989, the dirham did not differ in design from modern coins at all, but its weight was more than 11 grams, and its diameter exceeded 28 millimeters.

50 fils

And on this Arab coin, the government of the Persian Gulf decideddepict oil rigs. This is not surprising, since they are the main source of their we alth.

coins of arab emirates price

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

Coins of small denominations

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

old arabic coins

An interesting fact is that ten, five and one fils are round and made, unlike other coins, of bronze. They depict a fish and a palm tree, respectively. Because of the weight, there have been many scams since 2006 where dirhams and fils were passed off as more expensive Philippine coins.

Commemorative coins

The issue of commemorative coins of Arab countries 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 commemorative dirhams, and most of them are cast in gold and silver. There are only ten of them in the public domain, and they are cast from non-precious metals. The most famous of them is the Arabica coin issued in honor of the fiftieth anniversary of the start of oil production in the Persian Gulf.

Arab coins

Very interesting is the fact 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, such coins can be sold for about $10. The most recent commemorative coin issued by the Gulf countries is the Crown Prince's Proclamation Day 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.

Old Arab coins

The most ancient coin of the Arabs is the dirham, issued 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 hoards, and they are found even in Russia.

arabic coin with jug

Many are wondering: how could so many of these antique silversmiths from Arab countries end up all over the world? Some historians suggest that the reason lies in the fact that dirhams were originally an Arabic version of Greek coins, which is why they spread so quickly everywhere, due to a well-developed trading network. They were created in strict accordance withreligious rules. They never depicted birds, animals or rulers. At first, they contained only the year of issue, place, and lines from the scriptures. Later, the names of the ruling kings of the Persian Gulf began to be minted on the coins.

Silver antique coins

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

From the 9th to the 11th century, we can safely say that dirhams were a full-fledged national currency at that time. It was one of the most stable currencies, and they traded using it both in Africa and in Russia. The thing is that it was these monetary units that changed the metal sample the slowest, taking into account the fact that the trend of diluting precious metals around the world has progressed very much.


It can be seen that the coins of the United Arab Emirates have been in great demand for a long time and up to the present moment. The modern currency officially appeared quite recently, but is already being used all over the world and has its own bindings to well-known financial units. BUThow many treasures are found on the territory of different countries with silver dirhams, they simply cannot be counted. In any case, many coins of the Arab countries can now be sold for a fairly large value. The main thing is to understand that in the hands is not just another everyday coin, but a rare treasure.

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