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Thursday, 10 October 2013

117) Coins/Currencies of the Middle East: (ii) Sultanate of Oman: Currency & Coinage: Rial and Baisa:



117) Coins/Currencies of the Middle East: (ii) Sultanate of Oman: Currency & Coinage: Rial and Baisa:

Early Minting History of coins in Oman:

The earliest Islamic Mints were established in Oman which minted the oldest Arabic coin. The first Islamic silver Dirhams which are similar to the Sasanian Drachma, Byzantine currency and Islamic Gold dinars and Copper pieces are said to be minted in the Omani mints.

 This coin said to be the oldest Arabic coin – a silver Dirham – dates from the reign of the Ummayad Caliph Abdul Malik bin Marwan and bears the name of Oman as the country of minting. It was minted in the year 81 AH (Anno Hejirae) or 700 G (or Gregorian).

Other Islamic Coins bear verses from the Holy Quran and are stamped with the Hijri Date. (for more on the Ummayad, Abbasid and other Islamic gold coins with verses inscribed from the Quran on them , please see the following link on this blog: Shanghai Museum: A treasure trove of old Indian, Chinese and Islamic coins.) 

Dhofar in Oman has been an important coin minting centre. Dirham Coins were minted at this mint as early as 689 Hijri, where rulers of Bani Rasool in Dhofar issued coins in Oman at that time.

(The Central Bank of Oman has a museum which also, highlights the historical development of Omani coinage in the pre-Islamic and Islamic periods and the history of the Currency and Paper money in circulation during the period before the issue of the first National currency – the “Saidi Rial” during the reign of Sultan Said III bin Taimour (10.02.1932 – 23.07.1970) on 07.05.1970).


Evolution of Omani Coinage and trading links with other countries indicated through historical treasure finds/documentary records:


Evidence of Omani commercial trade along trade routes along several coasts of the Arabian Peninsula, East Africa, India and the Far East has been evidenced with the discovery of Omani money in various countries over the centuries. 


For example, in Sinaw in Oman, in 1979, a substantial buried treasure was found which included pre-Islamic specie and bore resemblance to coins found during the same period in Russia. The treasure also consisted of Sassanid, Amawy and Abbasid gold and silver coins, all used for trading with several other countries including India and China. The minting of some of these coins was placed at around 807 – 824 during the period of Imam Ghassan bin Abdullah. 


Five copper coins with Arabic inscriptions were found in Northern Australia as recently as in 1944, which are speculated to have an Omani trade connection.

These coins are believed to have been minted in Africa leading to reasoned debate that traders/sea-farers from East Africa, Arabian countries, India and the Spice Islands had “discovered” Australia much before the Dutch explorers around 1606, Tasman and the later British expedition of James Cook around 1700 which could at best be described as the “rediscovery of Australia and New Zealand”. It is believed that these coins are from the East African city of Kilwa, an island off modern day Tanzania which was a fabled city and said to be the most prosperous city on Africa’s Eastern coast for several centuries till the Portuguese brought it to ruin. In 1513, when the Kilwa Sultanate was fragmented into smaller States many of them became Protectorates of the Sultanate of Oman. Kilwa was also a trading post having links with India from the 13th to 16th century.

Similar coins have also been discovered only in two other finds – in Great Zimbabwe and in Oman.

Imam Sultan I bin Saif Al Ya’arubi (1649 -1688) is mentioned in history books to have built the Nizwa fort over a period of 12 years at a cost of thousands of Indian Raupiyae, indicating that the Indian Raupiya or rupiah (meaning silver coin) was in circulation at that time. It was during his reign that the Portuguese were expelled from the Sultanate in 1650. The Indian raupiya was the main currency at that time and there was a flourishing trade with India including in – dates, frankincense, horses and pearls to India with payments being made in copper, silver and gold coins minted at the Indian Mints of the Delhi Sultans/Mughal Emperors over several centuries.

Another important coin in circulation in Oman and the Arab Peninsula was the Maria Theresa Thaler also known as the “French Rial or Riyal” because of the Portuguese presence in the Area. This coin was in such great demand that the Austrian Mint continued to mint it for with the same date engraved on the coins long after the death of Maria Theresa in 1780. 

 Image of the obverse of a Maria Theresa Thaler issued in 1780. Mentioned on this face is "R.IMP.BO.REG.M.THERESIA.DG". (meaning:Empress of the Romans, Bohemia, Queen Maria Theresia, by the Grace of God). Another inscription on Thalers was "M. THERESIA D.G. R. IMP.HU.BO.REG". (This inscription included Hungary as well).

  Image of the reverse of a Maria Theresa Thaler showing the year of issue as 1780. Mentioned on this face is "BURG.CO.TYR.1780.ARCHID.AUST.DUX". This is a continuation of the inscription on the obverse meaning "Duchess of Burgundy, Countess of Tyrol, Archduke of Austria, 1780. The "X" is a Saltire).
 
During the reign of Sayyid Said bin Ahmad Sultan (15.12.1783 – Abdicated 1784), the Maria Theresa Thaler was a big coin and it did not have smaller coins of its kind to ease local transactions, as such, Indian silver and copper coins were in circulation in Muscat and Zanzibar. The copper coins were called “Aanah” (a distortion of the term “Anna(s)” assigned to these coins in India) and “Ghazi”.

During the reign of Sayyid Barghash bin Said in Zanzibar, a special currency was issued which was minted in Brussels with the year 1200 H (“Hijri” era) engraved on it. This coinage was called the “Rial” (silver coins) derived from European coinage and “Baisa” (copper coins) derived from the Indian “Paisa” (as in Arabic the letter “P” is substituted by the letter “B”) and was used for trading with European countries.

During the reign of Sultan Faisal bin Turki, (04.06.1888 – 09.10.1913), the first coin carrying the name of Muscat was engraved on coins in 1311 H (Hegerae). This coin had the picture of Al Jalali fort and was used for payment along with the Maria Theresa Thaler and the British India Rupee. (The British Protectorate was imposed on the Sultanate on 20.03.1891).

In 1939, during the reign of Sultan Said III bin Taimour (10.02.1932 – 23.07.1970), copper coins in the Baisa denominations were minted. These coins had the National logo engraved on them and bore the name of Dhofar and a portrait of Said bin Taimour, Sultan of Muscat and Oman.

Recent development of the Omani Rial and Baisa denominated currency:
Before 1940, the Indian Rupee and the Maria Theresa Thaler (called the Rial in Oman) circulated as the principal currencies in the Sultanate of Muscat and Oman. The Indian rupee circulated in the coastal areas and the Thaler circulated in the interior of the country.



 A British India silver one rupee coin showing Empress Victoria, issued in 1882. This type of coins were initially circulated in the Protectorate of Muscat and Oman.


Reverse of the above coin showing the year of issue as 1882.



The above are obverse and reverse images of a one quarter anna copper coin showing Empress Victoria, issued in 1890 also used initially in the Protectorate.
 
By 1940, coins denominated in Baisa (equivalent to “paisa” – “P” is substituted by “B” in Arabic, hence “Paisa” is termed “Baisa”) were being minted and circulated for use in Dhofar.

In 1946, another Series of Baisa denominated coins were circulated in Oman. At this point, 200 Baisa was equivalent to 1 Rial and one Rial was equivalent to two Indian Rupees, which still continued to be in circulation.

In 1948, the Dhofari silver half – Rial was minted with the National logo/emblem on one face.

In 1959, apart from the Indian Rupee, the “Gulf Rupee” was also circulated.

In 1970, with the change in Regime in the Sultanate of Muscat and Oman, the “Saidi Rial” or “Rial Saidi” (distinguished from the Saudi Rial) was introduced and designated as the currency of Oman.

Equivalent to the British Pound, the “Saidi Rial” replaced the Gulf rupee at an exchange rate of 21 rupees to a Rial. This Rial was equivalent to 1000 Baisa.

In 1973, with the name of the country being changed to Oman, the “Omani Rial” or “Rial Omani” was introduced which replaced the Saidi Rial.

Paper currency issues:
Banknotes in Circulation: 1916 – 1957:
Between 1927 and 1948, Banknotes denominated in Indian Rupees (INR) of  British India  were also in circulation in the Sultanate Muscat and Oman.

Between 1949 and 1957, Banknotes issued by the Republic of India as well as Banknotes of the Sultanate of Zanzibar and Pemba.

After 1957, several Banknotes issued by the Reserve Bank of India for the Arabian Gulf States, designated as the Gulf Rupee, were also in circulation till 1970 (The British Protectorate which had already lost substantial ground, was terminated on 02.12.1971).

Five Series of Omani Banknote issues have been circulated after 1970:

The First Series of Banknotes was issued by the Muscat Monetary Authority on 07.05.1970. These Banknotes bore the name of the country as the “Sultanate of Muscat and Oman” and derived from the Saudi Rial they were called “Saidi Rials” or “Rial Saidi”.

 The Banknotes included in this series were – 100 Baisa, ¼ Saidi Rial, ½ Saidi Rial, 1 Saidi Rial, 5 Saidi Rials and 10 Saidi Rials.

On the Front, all these Banknotes bore the Coat of Arms/emblem of the Nation on the right represented by two crossed swords and a “Khanjar” (dagger). The Coat of Arms was also printed on the Watermark area.

On the Back, the 100 Baisas Banknote carried geometric designs.

On the Back, the ¼ Rial Banknote depicted the Jalali Fort in Muscat.

(Over the centuries, Oman’s Forts and Castles, together with several towers and city walls, have acted as defensive bastions as well as look-out/alerting stations. The Forts have over a period of time also served as seats of administrative and Judicial Authority. Oman has over 500 Forts, Castles and Towers as a defensive measure for guarding its 1700 km coastline from potential enemies, some important ones out of which have figured on the Backs of several Banknotes in all the Series.

Jalali Fort:  Jalali Fort is one of the most famous forts located at the entrance of Muscat Bay. Around 1586, the Portuguese rebuilt the fort adding fortifications among other enhancements which were completed by 1588. The Fort underwent a further renovation during the reign of Sultan Sayyid Said bin Ahmad Sultan (15.12.1783 – 1784) and restoration work was carried out during the reign of Sultan Qaboos bin Said (23.07.1970 – present day), when the Fort was converted into a museum.

On the Back, the ½ Saidi Rial Banknote depicted the Sumali Fort.

On the Back, the 1 Saidi Rial Banknote depicted the Sohor Fort.

(Sohor Fort: Sohor Fort is located in Hazrat Al Hajara in Sohor town. It dates back to 179 AH. It underwent a renovation in the Eighth and Ninth Century AH and then again in 14th AH – 15th AH.
Sohor Fort was a fortress of square shape having six towers around it and two towers along its gate. It is believed that the fort was so large that it required a minimum force of one thousand men to defend it at any time. During the reign of Imam Nasser bin Murshid Al Ya’arubi, this Fort was recaptured from the Portuguese. It remained as the Administrative centre for the Al Busaid dynasty. The Fort underwent Restoration work in 1985 and has since been converted into a museum).

On the Back, the 5 Saidi Rials Banknote depicted the Nizwa Fort.

Nizwa Fort: The Nizwa Fort (“A’Dakhliyah”) is a huge fort which was constructed by Imam Sultan I bin Saif al Ya’arubi in 1668, although it existed in a rudimentary form since the 12th century. It is the biggest Fort in the Arabian Peninsula. It has an exterior diameter of 150 feet and has a height of over 115 feet. The Fort, built over an underground stream, was used as the Imams’ and Walis’ Administrative headquarters and its fortifications can withstand any type of assault/siege. The traditional Gates are several inches thick and over the lintel of each Gate are holes for pouring boiling oil, date syrup, water etc. on the enemies. The Fort’s design showcases Omani architectural ingenuity in the Ya’arubi era which witnessed advancement in military fortifications and introduction of mortar based warfare. It was a formidable stronghold strategically placed to protect Nizwa’s abundant natural wealth and crossroads to vital routes.

The Second Series of Banknotes was issued on 18.11.1972, this time under the supervision of the Omani Monetary Council or the “Oman Currency Board” which replaced the Muscat Monetary Authority. The Second Series was introduced on the Second anniversary of the National Day.

This Series essentially included the same denominations as the First Series, but with a difference – the term “Saidi Rial” was changed to “Omani Rial” or “Rial Omani”.

The Banknotes under this Series were, therefore called: 100 Baisa, ¼ Omani Rial, ½ Omani Rial, 1 Omani Rial, 5 Omani Rials and 10 Omani Rials.

The designs at the Back of the Banknotes remained essentially the same as well.

The Third Series of Banknotes was issued on 01.04.1975 by the newly set up Central Bank of Oman (1974).

This Series was issued from 1976 to 1985 and first circulated in 1976 on the occasion of the 6th National Day Anniversary celebrations.

On 23.07.1982, on the occasion of the Oman Renaissance Day, the Central Bank of Oman issued the 20 and 50 Rial Banknotes for the first time.

 The Fourth Series of Banknotes was issued in 1985, by the Central Bank of Oman which carried the portrait of Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said and superseded the Third Series. This Series was issued from 1985 to 1994.

Also, on 01.01.1985, the Central Bank of Oman issued the 200 Baisa Banknote. By this time, the denominations of Omani Rial Banknotes in circulation were: 200 Baisa, 100 Baisa, ½ Rial, 1 Rial (1000 Baisas), 5 Rials, 10 Rials, 20 Rials and 50 Rials.

On the Front all these Banknotes depicted the portrait of Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said.

The 200 Baisa Banknote depicted the Rustaq Fort.

(Rustaq Fort: The name “Rustaq” is derived from the Iranian/Persian term “rusta” meaning a “large village”. By a long shot it can also be termed as a derivation of the term “rustic”. Rustaq was once the capital of Oman during the reign of Imam Nasir bin Murshid al Ya’arubi. Originally known as “Qalat Al Kisra”, Rustaq Fort (Al Batinah) was built in the 13th century and has three levels having houses, armoury, mosque, prison, a water supply (“falaj”) and four watch towers (Al Burj Al Ahmar, Al Burj Al Hadeeth, Al Burj Al Reeh and Al Burj Ashiateen – or the “Devil” or “Shaitan’s” tower).

The 100 Baisa Banknote showed Port Sultan Qaboos.

(Port Sultan Qaboos: Port Sultan Qaboos or “Muscat Port”, is one of the main commercial ports in Oman. Situated in a Natural harbour, some 250 km. south of the straits of Hormuz on the Indian Ocean coast of the Arabian Peninsula, the Port is an ideal hub for the Persian Gulf, Indian sub-continent and markets in East and South Africa. In the 18th century and 19thcenturies, the maritime commerce was with India conducted through old fashioned wooden Dhows with ships anchoring offshore for several days before unloading their cargo into small boats. Presently, the Port boasts of an impressive infrastructure having skilled manpower and efficient cargo handling operations). 

The 20 Rial Banknote depicted the Central Bank of Oman Headquarters.

The ½ Rial Banknote depicted the Sultan Qaboos University.

The Fifth series of Banknotes brought out in 1995, were issued by the Central Bank of Oman primarily highlighting achievements recorded during the Omani Renaissance during the reign of Sultan Qaboos bin al Said’s reign.

The denominations included in this Series were: 200 Baisa, 100 Baisa, ½ Rial, 1 Rial, 5 Rials, 10 Rials, 20 Rials and 50 Rials. The year of issue mentioned on these Banknotes is – 1416 H (Hegirae) and 1995 G (Gregorian).

On the Front of all these Banknotes there is a portrait of Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said apart from some other significant features:



On the Front, the 200 Baisa Banknote shows the Airport with an image of an airborne aeroplane and the portrait of Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said. The denomination and the year of issue are mentioned in Eastern Arabic numerals “1995 G/1416 H”. (A chart depicting the Eastern Arabic numerals and Western Arabic numerals is given below under the recent coinage section).




On the Back, the 200 Baisa Banknote shows the Marine Science and Fisheries Centre and an image of the Port Sultan Qaboos or “Muscat Port” with ships berthed in the docks and mountains in the background. On the right hand bottom is mentioned the year of issue “1416 H/1995 G” in Western Arabic numerals. (The 200 Baisa Note has since been withdrawn from circulation).



 On the Front, the 100 Baisa Banknote shows an irrigation canal apart from the portrait of Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said. The colour of this Banknote is Green. The denomination and the year of issue are mentioned in Eastern Arabic numerals “1995 G/1416 H”. (A chart depicting the Eastern Arabic numerals and Western Arabic numerals is given below under the recent coinage section). 


On the Back, the 100 Baisa Banknote shows a Verreaux Eagle and a White Oryx. On the right hand bottom is mentioned the year of issue “1416 H/1995 G” in Western Arabic numerals.

(Verreaux Eagle: The Verreaux’s Eagle (or “Aquila verreauxii”) also known as the “Black Eagle” is a large bird of prey. Verreaux’s Eagle lives in hilly and mountainous Regions of Southern and Eastern Africa as well as in West Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and the Southern Middle East. Eagles belong to the taxonomic order “Accipitriformes” and the family “accipitridae” also referred to as accipitrids or “raptors”. A unique feature of the Verreaux’s Eagle is that it is a part of a raptor group called the “booted eagles”, which have feathers over their tarsus as opposed to bare legs for most accipitrids. It is the 6th longest eagle in the world – measuring between 75 to 96 cms.

Arabian Oryx: The “Arabian Oryx” or the “white Oryx” is a medium sized antelope with a distinct shoulder bump, long and straight horns and a tufted tail. It is a “bovid” and the smallest member of the “Oryx” genus, native to desert and steppe areas of the Arabian Peninsula. After being listed as extinct in the wild by 1972 due to excessive hunting, in 1986, the Arabian Oryx was listed/upgraded as an endangered species and through concerted conservation efforts was reverted to the vulnerable category in 2011.
An Arabian Oryx is about one metre in height and its coat is luminous white, with the legs being brown and black stripes occur where the head meets the neck, on the forehead and nose as well as from the horn across the eye to the mouth.
It is believed that the mythical unicorn had originated from the Arabian Oryx, which can appear to be one horned when viewed from one side. Also it is possible that it was a mistaken description of an Arabian Oryx with a broken horn. King James version of the Bible contains the Hebrew word “re’em” which also translates as “unicorn”.

 The Arabian Oryx is also the National Animal of Jordan and Qatar. With a view to focus on conservation efforts for this animal, a Qatari Oryx was chosen as the official mascot “Orry” for the Asian Games in Doha and features as the emblem of Qatar Airways).
On the Front, the ½ Rial Banknote shows the Bahla Fort apart from the portrait of Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said. The colour of this Banknote is Brownish Purple. The denomination and the year of issue are mentioned in Eastern Arabic numerals “1995 G/1416 H”. (A chart depicting the Eastern Arabic numerals and Western Arabic numerals is given below under the recent coinage section).

(Bahla Fort: Bahla Fort is one of the four historic forts situated at the foot of “Djebel Akhdar” highlands in Oman. The Fort was built in the 13th and 14th centuries. To the southwest is a Mosque which has a 14th century mihrab. This Fort was part of the “Kharajit” resistance against the Caliph Harun al-Rashid.

The Fort’s internal staircases and walls have been built with mud, coated with gypsum and a traditional type of mortar which all together were as hard and solid as present day cement. The Fort and its 7 mile long walls have been declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1987. It was included in the List of World Heritage in Danger in 1988 and removed from the list in 2004 after renovation work was carried out by the Omani government).


On the Back, the ½ Rial Banknote shows the Al- Hazm Fort and the Nakhl Fort. On the right hand bottom is mentioned the year of issue “1416 H/1995 G” in Western Arabic numerals.

(Al Hazm Fort/Castle: The Al-Hazm Fort/Castle is located in Al Hazm town in Welayat Rustaq. It was built by Imam Sultan bin Seif II (1123 AH -1711 AD) when he founded Al Hazm town as the capital of Oman, instead of Rustaq. It is presently located on the edge of a small group of palm-tree gardens along the Wadi Far at a distance of about 19 kms, in a large cultivated area leading to an arid gravel plain separating the mountains from the Batinah coast. The castle is distinguished from other Omani castles/forts by its magnificent shape and massive building. It is constructed as a rectangular two storied fort with a narrow inner courtyard and two round towers flanking the Southern and Eastern corners. The carved master gate is said to date back to the 1830s and was built during the reign of Sayyid bin Sultan. The Castle contains the tomb of its builder, Imam Sultan bin Seif II.

Nakhl Fort: The Nakhl Fort (Al Batinah) is a short distance from Muscat and was built   about 350 years ago. It is located in a gorge surrounded by a mountain enclave. In 1990, restoration work was carried out on the Fort. The carved master gate is said to date back to the 1830s and was built during the reign of Sayyid bin Sultan).

On the Front, the 1 Rial Banknote shows the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex apart from the portrait of Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said. The colour of this Banknote is Purple.

On the Back, the 1 Rial Banknote shows an Omani Khanjar (dagger), silver bracelets, ornaments and Dhows (generally one to three-masted sailing boats/ships manned by 12 to 30 crew) which have been the hallmark of Arab trade with several countries, particularly with India across the Arabian Sea for several centuries.

(Dhows sailed with lateen sails mostly used in the Red Sea and Indian Ocean/Arabian Sea. Dhows originated in China sometime around 600 B.C. and have been used for the trade between India and the Arabian Peninsula shortly thereafter. For building Dhows, timber from the forests of Kerala, India, was used, where skilled carpenters specialised in ship building were easily available along with coconut coir ropes used for holding together the keel and wooden planks, instead of nails, for ship building).

On the Front, the 5 Rial Banknote shows the Sultan Qaboos University, together with a portrait of Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said. The colour of this Banknote is Red.

(Sultan Qaboos University: The Sultan Qaboos University, established in 1986 is located in Al Khoudh in Muscat and is the only public university in Oman.   A unique feature of the University is that the numbers of female students outnumber the male students over the past several years out of the total number of students placed at about 17000).

On the Back, the 5 Rial Banknote shows Nizwa city and Nizwa Fort.

On the Front, the 10 Rial Banknote shows the Al Nadha Tower and the portrait of Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said. The colour of this Banknote is Brown.

On the Back, the 10 Rial Banknote shows the Mutrah Fort.

(Mutrah Fort: Mutrah Fort was built by the Portuguese in the 1580s, and dominates the Eastern end of the Harbour. It was used for military purposes by the Portuguese and for keeping prisoners).

On the Front, the 20 Rial Banknote shows the Central Bank of Oman Building in Muscat and the portrait of Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said. The colour of this Banknote is green.

On the Back, the 20 Rial Banknote shows the Muscat Security Market and the Rusayl Industrial Area.

On the Front, the 50 Rial Banknote, shows the Ministry of Finance and Economy Building in Muscat and the portrait of Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said. The colour of this Banknote is pink and violet.

On the Back, the 50 Rial Banknote, shows the Cabinet Building and Ministry of Finance and Industry building in Muscat.

2005 Commemorative issues:


The Front of a commemorative 1 Rial Banknote issued in 2005 issued showing the emblem/ Coat of Arms of the Sultanate of Oman with a portrait of Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said. 



 On the Back, this commemorative 1 Rial Banknote shows the Al-Nadha tower, silver bracelets, ornaments and a Dhow, together with the emblem of commemoration showing the numerals “35” in Eastern Arabic numerals. There is also a flight of Flamingos flying left. This Banknote was issued on the occasion of the 35th National Day. The year of issue is mentioned as “1426 H” corresponding to “2005 G”, both mentioned in Western Arabic numerals .
2010 Commemorative issues (Put into circulation in 2012. Printed by G&D):

In 2010 a five Rial Banknote was issued commemorating the 40th National Day of Oman. On the Front, the Banknote shows a portrait of Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said and the Sultan Qaboos University Building with clock tower, as well as an Omani Kahanjar (dagger). It also shows the main entrance of the Central Bank of Oman Headquarters. The colour of this Banknote is red. This Banknote has a crown as a Registration device.
 The denomination and the year of issue are mentioned in Eastern Arabic numerals “2010 G/1431 H”. (A chart depicting the Eastern Arabic numerals and Western Arabic numerals is given below under the recent coinage section).


On the Back, the Banknote shows buildings in Nizwa city and Nizwa Fort. Also mentioned on this Face is “40th National Day” and the year of issue is mentioned as “1431 H (“Hegirae”)/2010 G (“Gregorian”), together with the emblem of commemoration showing the numerals “40” in Eastern Arabic numerals. The Banknote also, has a  Varifeye security thread with demetallised "5 RIALS".

 Also, in 2010 a ten Rial Banknote was issued commemorating the 40th National Day.  On the Front showing the Salalah Tower, palm trees and the portrait of Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said.  There is an urn, and the Coat of Arms with crossed swords & Khanjar as in all the other Notes. The colour of this Banknote is brown.

On the Back, this Banknote shows the Muttrah Fort.

 A Varifeye thread and windowed security thread with demetallised "10 RIALS" are present on this Banknote.The Back of this Banknote was similar to the regular issues.

Also, in 2010, a 20 Rial Banknote was issued.


On the Front, the 20 Rial Banknote shows the Grand Mosque in Muscat and the portrait of Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said. The colour of this Banknote is blue, purple and yellow.

 On the Back, the 20 Rial Banknote shows the Royal Opera House  building in Muscat. There is also the 40th National Day logo. A Varifeye thread and windowed security thread with demetallised "20 RIALS" are present on this Banknote.The Back of this Banknote was similar to the regular issues.


On the Front, the 50 Rial Banknote, shows the Ministry of Finance and Economy Building in Muscat and the portrait of Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said. The colour of this Banknote is purple.
 On the Back, the 50 Rial Banknote, shows the Cabinet Building and Ministry of Finance and Industry building in Muscat. There is also the 40th National Day logo. A Varifeye thread and windowed security thread with demetallised "50 RIALS" are present on this Banknote.

 Recent Omani Coinage:

On 20.03.1891, a British Protectorate Regime was imposed on the Sultanate of Muscat and Oman).

In the 1890s, coins for 1/12 and ¼ anna (equivalent to one-third and 1 paisa) were made specifically for use in the Protectorate of Muscat and Oman.

In 1940, coins were issued for use in Dhofar in the denominations of 10, 20 and 50 Baisa.

In 1948, ½ Rial coins were circulated in Dhofar.

In 1946, 2, 5 and 20 Baisa coins were circulated in Muscat and Oman.

In 1959, 3 Baisa coins were circulated in Muscat and Oman.

By 1960, ½ and ¼ Rial coins were circulated in Muscat and Oman.

In 1970, towards the termination of the British Protectorate in 1971, a new coinage was introduced for Muscat and Oman in the denominations of 100, 50, 25, 10, 5, and 2 Baisa.

Coins minted from 1971 onwards carried the name of the Sultanate of Oman instead of Sultanate of Muscat and Oman. The name of the currency was changed from “Saidi Rial” to “Omani Rial”.

In 1980, ¼ and ½ Rial coins were circulated.

Presently, the following denominations of coins are in circulation: 50 Baisa, 25 Baisa, 10 Baisa and 5 Baisa.

Reading the Eastern Arabic numbers for determining the year of issue of coins:


The value and numbers on the coins are written in Eastern Arabic numerals and the text is Arabic. The Eastern Arabic Numerals (also called “Arabic-Indic numerals” and “Arabic Eastern Numerals” are the symbols used to represent the Hindu-Arabic numeral system in conjunction with the Arabic alphabet in Arabian countries and has its own variations. These numbers are known as “Indian numbers” in Arabic or “Indic numbers” in English. However, these numbers are not to be confused with the Hindi numerals/numbers used in India. In most of present day Middle-East or North-Africa, “Western Arabic numerals” (i.e.0 to 9 are used) except in the Magreb countries i.e. Egypt and Sudan, as also in the UAE.



Obverse of a 50 Baisa coin issued in 2010, showing the Coat of Arms of the Sultanate of Oman.



The above is an image of the reverse of a 50 Baisa coin issued in the year “2010” (G) mentioned in Eastern Arabic numerals. If you read the Eastern Arabic numerals chart given above, you can easily read the year given on the left hand side of the lower periphery of this coin reading from left to right. On the right of “2010” is mentioned the Islamic year “1431”. (The present Gregorian calendar year 2010 corresponds to the Islamic years 1431-32 AH – Anno Hegirae).



 Obverse of a 25 Baisa coin issued in 1999, showing the Coat of Arms of the Sultanate of Oman.

The above is an image of the reverse of a 25 Baisa coin issued in the year “1999” (G) mentioned in Eastern Arabic numerals. If you read the Eastern Arabic numerals chart given above, you can easily read the year given on the left hand side of the lower periphery of this coin reading from left to right. On the right of “1999” is mentioned the Islamic year “1420”. (The present Gregorian calendar year 1999 corresponds to the Islamic years 1420-21 AH – Anno Hegirae).

Obverse of a 10 Baisa coin issued in 2008, showing the Coat of Arms of the Sultanate of Oman.




The above is an image of the reverse of a 10 Baisa coin issued in the year “2008” (G) mentioned in Eastern Arabic numerals. If you read the Eastern Arabic numerals chart given above, you can easily read the year given on the left hand side of the lower periphery of this coin reading from left to right. On the right of “2008” is mentioned the Islamic year “1429”. (The present Gregorian calendar year 2008 corresponds to the Islamic years 1429-30 AH – Anno Hegirae).

Arbitrage opportunity for unscrupulous persons:

The Philippine one peso coin, the Australian ten cent coin, the Pakistani 5 rupee coin, the Omani Baisa coin and the Moroccan Dirham among several other World coins are almost the same size as the UAE Dirham and present an “arbitrage” opportunity to unscrupulous persons to cheat unsuspecting users of Dirhams.

Commemorative Currency/Coins:
Several Commemorative gold, silver and bronze commemorative coins have also been issued at various points of time highlighting various achievements and aspects of Omani culture, civilisation, National and International Anniversaries/Events.

(The 200 Baisa Banknote is from the collection of Ajit George. The 1 and 5 Rial Banknotes as well as the 2010 Commemorative issues, are from the collection of Jayant Biswas. The remaining circulating Banknotes and coins of Oman have been contributed for my collection by Indrani Adhicary and Siddharth and Vishnu Adhicary. Coins and Banknotes scanned and Article researched and written by Rajeev Prasad)

Links:
1) Currency/coinage of the United Arab Emirates (UAE)
 2) Currencies of the Middle East (3): Kuwaiti Dinar & Fils 

6 comments:

  1. Ajay Jaiswal has commented on 11.10.13:
    "Here in Bahrain too, the local currency Bahraini Dinar started as late as 1971. Indian Rupee was the mandated legal currency till Bahrain gained total freedom from British in 1971. One Bahraini Dinar has 1000 phils. Still 100 phils coins are locally popular as one rupaiya. Especially in old souq area one hears more of rupiya than dinars.
    There is an interesting currency museum inside Central Bank here. National museum too have a very interesting coin section".

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  2. Thanks, Ajay for the wonderful insight into the Bahraini Dinars and Phils as well as Bahrain's "Indian connection" as well, in terms of their circulating currency/coinage.

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  3. Indrani Adhicary has commented on 11.10.13:
    "Thanks Rajeev, for enlightening us with all the detailed information about the Omani denominations. Now I will notice all the features on them. The detailed study shows your sense of deep research as far as coins/currency are concerned".

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  4. Thanks Indrani, for your very encouraging comment.

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  5. Great blog...Thanks for your great information, the contents are quiet interesting. I will be waiting for your next post..I'm working under Money Exchange Oman

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for visiting my blog and for your extremely encouraging comment. Much appreciate.

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