One riyal coin of King Faisal of Iraq and a 100 fils coin of Kuwait

Iraq, AD 1932 (riyal)
Kuwait, AD 1961 (fils)

The Middle East in the 20th century

During the twentieth century, the independent states of the Middle East and North Africa emerged from various forms of European imperial rule. This is exemplified in their coins and banknotes. The freshly independent nations began to use symbols and images on their money that corresponded to their national identities and their aspirations.

In Iraq, which became independent in 1932, the coinage featured a western-style portrait of King Faisal (reigned 1921-33). The constitutional monarchy that was established in 1932 was presided over by the Hashemite family, direct descendants of the family of the Prophet Muhammad. However, in 1958 the monarchy was overthrown by an army-led revolution and proclaimed a republic.

The state of Kuwait was a British protectorate from 1899 to 1961, when it gained independence. The image chosen for their coins and banknotes shows traditional boats, a reference to Kuwait as a seafaring nation.

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More information


C.L. Krause, C. Mishler and C.R. Bruce, Standard catalog of world coin (Iola, Wis., Krause Publications, 1978)


Diameter: 3.400 cm (1934-5-1-47)
Weight: 19.980 g
Diameter: 3.400 cm (1934-5-1-47)
Weight: 19.980 g

Museum number

CM 1934-5-1-47;CM OR 3569



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