Privy Marks

Many people have heard of coins having “privy marks” or “no privy marks”, but not everyone knows what this designation refers to. Well, traditionally a privy mark is a small mark or differentiation in the design of a coin for the purpose of identifying the mint where the coin was struck. This practice was particularly popular at French mints. In the context of Arab coins, this is seen with several countries’ issues when they were under French rule, such as Morocco, Tunisia, Syria, Lebanon, etc.   Sometimes, the same coin exists with or without privy marks, or with variations. For instance, the Syria 5 Piastre coins of 1926 exist with no privy marks, as well as with privy marks around the English date “1926”. Illustrated below is a piece with privy marks. In 1933, interestingly enough, the coins were struck with the privy marks around the Arabic date “1933”. An example of this is also illustrated below.