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. <;.