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Iraq Banknotes

The unit of Iraq is the dinar. All Iraq banknotes for the past 30 years and perhaps even longer have Arabic text on the front side and English text on the back side, so it is easy to tell what kind of note it is even if you can not read Arabic. Beginning in 1986, most banknotes worth more than 1 dinar featured a portrait of Saddam Hussein, who ruled Iraq from the early eighties until the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. The notes issued during his reign vary in quality, due in part to where they were printed. The best quality banknotes released during this timeframe were printed in Switzerland. Others were printed in China, and still others were printed domestically in Iraq. These banknotes are usually designated by their Pick Catalog numbers, or "P" number. The following list provides information on Iraq banknotes printed between 1984 and 2002.

P69: 1 dinar (1984) - was first printed in 1979, but was subsequently reprinted in 1980 and 1984. While it is easy to find the 1984 notes, the earlier printing are fairly scarce. These notes were printed in Switzerland, and are of superior quality compared with a fourth printing of the same design in Iraq in 1992 (P79). The 1984 notes are blue, and have a watermark of a horse which is visible when held up to the light in the left field of the Arabic side of the English side of the note. The note also contains a security strip woven into the paper, which is visible when held up to the light about 1 ½ inches from the right edge of the note when looking at the Arabic side. This note is less common than the 1992 1 dinar, but much higher quality.

P73: 25 dinar (1986) This is the only Iraq banknote that features Hussein in a military uniform, and for this reason alone, it is of significant historical value. It is a Swiss printing and arguably the highest quality note issued while Hussein was in power. The note features a watermark of Hussein which is visible in the left field of the Arabic side when held up to the light, and a security strip woven into the paper. The note was officially declared valueless by Hussein in the nineties, leaving an emergency printing of the "3 horses" 25 dinar note (P74) in 1990 as the only legally useable 25 dinar note. Presumably, Hussein was ashamed of his defeat in the Gulf war in 1990, and no longer felt comfortable portrayed as a strong military leader. This note has been widely counterfeited in the Middle East, so it is important to look for the watermark to guarantee authenticity.

P74: 25 dinar (1990) The original "3 horses" 25 dinar was printed in Switzerland in 1980, with additional printings in 1981 and 1982. In 1990, a shortage of cash brought about by the Gulf War led to a fourth reprint of the "3 horses" note in Iraq. While the design is the same as the Swiss note, the quality is inferior. Where the Swiss notes were bright and multicolored, with tru watermarks, the Iraq printing is in green and black. A horse is printed faintly in the right hand field of the English side of the note, creating a false watermark which is characteristic of all Iraq notes printed between 1990 and 2002. Likewise, the stamping of serial numbers on these notes creates an embossed effect which is characteristic of most notes from this period. Following the Gulf War, this is the only 25 dinar note that could be used legally, as Hussein decreed the 1986 25 dinar note valueless.

P75: 50 dinar (1991) Amoung the two 50 dinar notes released in the nineties, this is the rarer. The note was printed in Iraq and is the first to feature the portrait of Hussein dressed in a business suit, which was subsequently used on all notes worth more than 1 dinar printed until the end of Hussein’s rule in 2003. Unlike many other notes of this period, the serial numbers on this note are not embossed due to stamping. The note features a lightly printed palm tree, smaller than and immediately to the left of the stylized green palm tree in the right hand field of the English face of the note, again, creating a false watermark.

P76: 100 dinar (1991) The "crossed swards" note is nearly impossible to find. Most of the features of this are exactly like the P75 50 dinar note issued in the same year. However, this note features and alternate portrait of Hussein dressed in a business suit that appeared only on this note. The English face of the note features two crossed swords.

P77: ¼ dinar (1993) Like the P79 1 dinar note, this is a domestic reprint of a note that was originally printed in Switzerland. This note features palm trees on a brown and green note. The palm tree design was originally used in 1979 in a much more colorful printing. As a security feature, a horse head is printed lightly in the left hand field of the Arabic face of this note, but the clarity of this feature is extremely inconsistent between different notes, with some notes having a very dark and smudged horse, and others having almost no visible horse. An alternative means of authenticating these notes is to look for embossed stamping of the serial number on the Arabic face.

P78: ½ dinar (1993) Another example of inferior Iraq printing, this note is a reprint of the P68 ½ dinar note printed in Switzerland in 1980 and 1985. Specimens of this note are often inconsistent in color, even when numbered consecutively. Most feature shades of brown and green. Like P77 above, this note has a horse printed on the Arabic face. The quality of the printed horse will also vary widely, some being scarcely visible, and some appearing dark and smudged. This note is also embossed due to serial note stamping.

P79: 1 dinar (1992) This is a domestic reprinting of P69 described above. Specimens of this note tend to be inconsistent with respect to color and quality. The notes tend to be brownish or purplish, with light blue and green features. This note is the first to feature the lightly printed falcon’s head as a security measure. The falcon’s head was subsequently used on all notes worth 1 dinar or more until the printing of the 2001 25 dinar note. This note should also have an embossed serial number.

P80: 5 dinar (1992) This is the first Iraqi banknote to be printed in China. The printing of these notes tends to be inconsistent, with some notes being bold and dark, and others very light as if faded. This note also features the lightly printed falcon’s head as a security measure, but on some lightly printed notes, this feature is extremely diffcult to see. Sometimes it is easier to see the security mark by holding the note against a dark background. The serial number is embossed on the 5 dinar note.

P81: 10 dinar (1992) With the exception of the impossible-to-find P76 100 dinar "crossed swords" note from 1991, the 10 dinar note is the rarest of the notes printed in the 1900s. Although this note, like the P80 5 dinar note, was printed in China, the 10 dinar note is of superior quality. It is particularly interesting due to the use of embossed Braille characters that can be felt by rubbing a finger across the Arabic text along the top margin of the note. Additionally, this is the first note to use "latent image" printing as a security feature: look closely for the number "10" in the right-hand field on the English face. This note also features a security strip woven into the paper and the lightly printed falcon’s head on the Arabic face.

P83: 50 dinar (1994) This is the second 50 dinar note printed during the Hussein regime. While the quality of printing is rather poor, the note has some interesting features. Notably, the English face of the note features the notorious statue of Hussein that was torn down by the US forces in Bagdad on April 9, 2003. Also featured is a bridge upon which the words "FIFTYDINARS" repeatedly appear in tiny print. The falcon’s head can be seen lightly printed on the right hand field of the English face. In the left-hand field, a latent image of the number "50" can be discerned.

P84: 100 dinar (1994) The 100 dinar note is fairly non-descript in comparison to other notes. This note was printed domestically in Iraq and suffers from inconsistency in darkness of printing and overall poor quality. The note features the characteristic falcon’s head as a security measure in the right-hand field of the English face, but even this feature is inconsistently printed, with some dark and obvious and barley perceptible. Serial numbers are embossed from stamping.

P85: 250 dinar (1995) The last note printed in the 1990s, the 250 was the highest denomination printed at the time. Despite its historical significance, the note is inconsistent in printing an poor in quality. The falcon’s head appears, sometimes imperceptibly, in the right-hand field of the English face. Serial numbers are embossed from stamping.

P86: 25 dinar (2001) This is the first Iraq note printed in the 21st century, and an improvement in quality over notes printed in the nineties. The P86 25 dinar note and other notes issued in 2001 and 2002 are much smaller than notes printed in the 90s: 15cm x 6.5cm compared to 18cm x 8.5cm. The new notes also rely heavy on latent images as security features. The P86 note features latent Arabic numerals on the left-hand field on the Arabic face, and the letters CBI (FOR "Central Bank of Iraq") on the right-hand field of the English face.

P87: 100 dinar (2002) The 100 dinar note is similar to the P86 25 dinar note in most respect. Latent images of Arabic words and numerals can be seen in the left-hand field of the Arabic face, and the words "Republic of Iraq" can be seen (with some effort) in the right-hand field of the English face. Due to the ousting of Saddam Hussein by the US military in 2003, it seems certain that the 2002 series of notes will be the last to ever feature his portrait.

P88: 250 dinar (2002) 250 dinar must have been a significant amount of money in2002, because this note is the first since 1986 to incorporate a true watermark as a security feature, which exists as a floral pattern in the left-hand field of the Arabic face. The note also incorporates a security strip woven into the paper. The note is otherwise similar to the P86 AND P87 notes described above, including the use of latent images.

P89: 10,000 dinar (2002) In what may be thought of as the last banknote issued under the Hussein regime, the unprecedented denomination (40 times greater than any banknote previously issued) is accompanied by unprecedented security features. The 10,000 dinar note dispense with latent imaging and instead provides a conspicuous holographic security strip on the right-hand margin of the Arabic face. Also present are a second security strip woven into the paper, and if all that wasn’t enough, a floral watermark in the left-hand field of the Arabic face. Due to the high denomination of this note, its elaborate security features, and its historical significance, this note is worth for more than any note issued since the beginning of the Hussein regime, with the exception of the ultra-rare P76 "crossed swords" 100 dinar note.

"Safe Conduct Pass" (1991) During the 1991 Desert Storm" campaign, US planes dropped leaflets resembling the "military uniform" 25 dinar note (P73) on Iraqi troops. The reverse side of the fake notes contained instructions in Arabic for surrendering to US forces that assured safe passage. The English translation of the "Safe Conduct Pass" is as follows:

"You do not have to die! You can be safe and return to your family and loved ones if you cease resistance. You must follow these steps strictly. 1. Remove the magazine from your weapon. 2. Sling your weapon over your left shoulder with the muzzle down. 3. Raise your arms above your head. 4. Approach positions slowly. Hold this pass in your hand above your head. If you this, you will not die. You will be treated well and returned someday to your family. NOTE: Beware of mine fields along the border.*

email: sandman@sandmanspapermoney

Last update: August 14, 2009