Two 50 rial banknotes

Iran, AD 1971 and 1979

Censorship in revolutionary Iran

Modern banknotes often carry the portrait of the country's head of state. In times of sudden political change, these notes may become undesirable to the new authorities.

This occurred in Iran during the revolution of 1978-79. Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi (1919-1980), the established ruler, was overthrown by the Islamic forces of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (1901-89) and forced to flee the country. As a temporary measure, the Shah's portrait on the banknotes was obliterated by a heavy black arabesque pattern. Even the watermark, which also showed the Shah's head, was overprinted with the name of the new Islamic republic.

Later, new note designs were issued featuring the Ayatollah and revolutionary supporters.

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Two 50 rial banknotes

1971 note (front)

  • 1971 note (back)

    1971 note (back)

  • 1979 note (front)

    1979 note (front)


More information


J. Cribb, Money: from cowrie shells to c (London, The British Museum Press, 1986)


Height: 71.000 mm (1971 note)
Width: 142.000 mm (1971 note)
Height: 71.000 mm (1971 note)
Width: 142.000 mm (1971 note)

Museum number

CM 1984-6-5-2282 (1971 note);CM 1983-2-31-9 (1979 note)



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