The United Kingdom of Libya Banknotes: 1951 or 1955?

Many references erroneously list the earliest series of Libyan banknotes to be the “United Kingdom of Libya” issue, carrying the date 1951.

The earliest banknotes issued by the Kingdom of Libya are in fact those bearing the likeness of King Idris. The reason behind this confusion is because this issue is dated January 1, 1952 which is the latest date that Libya was to become independent as per the United Nations General Assembly’s resolution of November 21, 1949. This date was printed on the banknotes before the law authorizing the banknotes’ use had passed.

In reality, the law authorizing the use of Libyan banknotes was passed on October 24, 1951. This in turn was the date that was displayed on the next series of banknotes. This next issue is known as the “United Kingdom of Libya” banknotes because its notes bear the titles المملكة الليبية المتحدة and its English translation “United Kingdom of Libya”. This series was actually issued in 1955, unlike the common belief that it was issued in 1951. The 1/2 Pound, 5 Pounds, and 10 Pounds of this issue are particularly difficult to find, especially the latter two. Below are illustrations of this desirable issue.

Symes, Peter. “Reference Site for Islamic Banknotes: Libya.” The Banknotes of Libya. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Sept. 2012. <;.

6 comments on “The United Kingdom of Libya Banknotes: 1951 or 1955?

  1. S.C. says:

    These are nice banknotes; thanks for posting! I have some notes and coins from Lebanon, Egypt, Palestine, Iraq and other Arab countries, but I’d like to expand my collection.

  2. arabiancoins says:

    Thanks very much and I’m glad you liked them. Palestine and Iraq are both very big interests of mine and before too long I hope to write some posts on these two countries. With the popularity these countries are seeing, it can get very challenging to both find and afford collecting them all.

  3. Bassam,............exellcoins1 says:

    Dear Mahdi,although i am an old collector of early arab kingdom banknotes but not Libya Kingdom’s banknotes,your blog has brought to me a new and significant information about the 2 earliest issues of Libya.I am sure that many other collectors will injoy this blog.
    With my Best Wishes,

  4. These are very nice banknote collection the lower values are UNC. the higher are not , what is the price of these nice banknotes ?

  5. arabiancoins says:

    Thank you Bassam for your compliments, and I am glad that you found this entry informative. I will try to continue posting more material that I think might be of interest.

  6. arabiancoins says:

    Thank you Saad. In today’s volatile market, it’s tough to predict what prices these notes could fetch. I know that Spink sold two examples of the 5 Pounds in recent years: Sale 11004 Lot 849 (April 2011) where it realized £7,000 and Sale 1032 Lot 562 (October 2010) where it realized £8,000. The example illustrated in my post was privately sold earlier this year. The 10 Pounds is rarer, of course.

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