One of the key coins in the Iraq Kingdom series is the 20 Fils of 1933, which is also dated 1252 Hijra. The correct date is 1352, but a small quantity was made with error dies and is now highly sought after. As scarce as it is, this coin is even rarer when collectors factor in grade, as this coin is very seldom available in anything better than VF.
Below is an example of a the 20 Fils, one with the correct Hijra date and the other with the error variety:
The NGC census shows 6 examples graded with the error date. The breakdown is as follows:
- F – 2 examples;
- VF – 2 examples;
- AU53 – 1 example; and
- AU58 – 1 example, which is currently in our collection.
Incidentally, we handled most if not all of the above examples. PCGS lists none in their population report.
I was away on an extended vacation for the past 3 weeks. Upon returning, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that PMG has chosen my humble collection of Iraqi Currency Board banknotes to win their “Best World Set” award. The announcement was posted on October 5, 2012 here but I only saw it today since I was on the road. In my opinion, the Ghazi 5 and 10 Dinar pieces are the most impressive pieces though the judging panel found the 1 Dinar of Faisal I to be more appealing.
At any rate, I am very glad and thankful to PMG for this nice honor. For those interested in seeing the set, which is still a work in progress, you can click here. I am also attaching a couple of images directly to this blog for everyone’s enjoyment.
Without a doubt, the unissued Iraqi 100 Fils 1955 is one of the rarest coins in the Iraqi series. An unissued coin, with very few that actually escaped into the collector market (reportedly 1,000,000 pieces were mint but some experts “guesstimate” about 40 pieces to be in private hands today). The coin, even though dated 1955, carries the same characteristics as its 1953 counterpart. Contrastingly, the 20 and 50 Fils coins of 1955 are entirely different and carry a new design featuring two palm branches under the denomination.
As it turns out, there are also two additional varieties of this elusive coin, besides the one described above. The first of these is the proof strike of the above-mentioned coins. A difficult coin to find, with an unknown but certainly low mintage. The second, however, is something that only became known to me a few months ago when I received my copy of Mr. Ahmad Ghazi Al-Samariee’s book:
The coin appears to be a 100 Fils 1955, but with the palm branches under the denomination. I have never seen one for sale, and nor have I heard of one in private hands. Anyone with more information is encouraged to share their knowledge. Pictures are also most welcome. (July 2014 update: despite diligently trying to find more information, not a single other reference to this coin was found, including discussions with the Royal Mint. Therefore, I personally question the existence of the actual coin/pattern outside of the digital world.)
All three varieties are illustrated below.
On more than one occasion, and in more than one country, a coin was minted in production quantity after passing all QC measures, only to be returned to the drawing board due to mistakes in the wording. Today, I will present three examples of this.
The first takes us back to 1949, when Jordan first issued coins. The Jordanian Dinar consisted of 1000 Fils and the coins included 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 Fils. The interesting part is that the coin designer, W. M. Gardner, must have thought that the singular was “Fil” while the plural was “Fils”. In fact, that was not the case and the correct Arabic singular was “Fils”. The coin, nonetheless, was made as a “Fil” and fixed some time later.
The second is a Saudi 25 Halala coin dating back to sometime around 1972 (1392 on the Hijra calendar). In Arabic, the word for “twenty five” changes form depending on its placement in the sentence and the gender of what it describes. Mistakenly, the wrong form of the word was used by writing خمسة وعشرون instead of خمس وعشرون. This was later corrected, naturally.
The third is an Iraqi 500 Fils coin dating back to 1982. Again, the wrong form of the word “Fils” was used and had to be corrected later upon discovery. The initial, incorrect form was “فلسا” and it was changed to “فلس”.
These coins are amongst the few examples of unissued coins in the Arab world that were nevertheless widely forged.
The story behind this odd pair is interesting, yet incomplete. The Iraqi government was making an attempt to locally produce coins, after having minted their previous issues abroad (mainly by the British Royal Mint). Around the late 1980s or early in 1990, a decision was made to locally produce two high denomination circulating coins of 5 and 10 Dinars. The coins which were reportedly struck by the Iraqi company that produced military decorations and medals. The designs used are unlike previously issued types, and the overall quality is rather crude, especially when compared to previously issued coins. An unknown but small quantity of these coins made its way to the market. Both denominations are difficult to find, and some convincing forgeries exist. More information on these coins can be found on this page, which is part of my friend Waad’s informative and well-illustrated web site on Iraqi numismatics.