Stacks bowers auction house sold a rare copy of the first issue of the Egyptian pound, known as the two camel pounds, for an amount exceeding $31,000.

The pound, which was printed on January 5, 1899, exceeded the estimated amount for it by Stax Powers, which is 25 thousand dollars, to be sold for 31 thousand and 200 dollars during the auction that took place in New York in mid-January.

The Gamelin Pound enjoys a special place among collectors of banknotes, and another copy of it was previously sold at the “Heritage” auction on April 25, 2019 for an amount exceeding $37,000, and it is also very popular among Egyptians, and many myths are circulated about it. And the legends that contributed to the increase in his fame.

The camel pound exceeded its estimated price by experts to sell for more than 31,000 dollars (Stacks Boys Auctions)

Despite the long history of Egyptian banknotes, which exceeded 123 years this month, it is still full of many secrets and facts that most Egyptians do not know, some of which we mention in the following lines.

Forced trading

It was not easy for the Egyptians to accept dealing in banknotes instead of gold cash, and although it was not mandatory until 1914 and was exchangeable in gold, its use was limited to a few categories of city dwellers and foreigners.

Dr. Latifa Mohamed Salem, in her book "Egypt in the First World War", narrates some funny incidents published by the newspapers, and reflects the suffering of the Egyptians with the circulation of banknotes, and their ignorance of their use, such as 3 people cutting a 10-pound banknote into 3 equal pieces, for each One of them is a piece.

In another, more funny incident reported by Al-Ahram newspaper on January 21, 1915, a woman found a banknote under her husband’s pillow. She thought it was magic to separate them, so she took it, burned it and threw it in the canal.

People’s dealings with banknotes did not increase until the Egyptian authorities issued a decision on August 2, 1914, to impose a mandatory price for banknotes and to stop the ability to exchange them for gold. The basis of financial transactions between Egyptians.

It was not easy for the Egyptians to accept paper money instead of gold (Al-Jazeera)

without watermarks

For many years, Egyptian banknotes were issued without watermarks, and the reliance during this period was on the complexity of the design and the overlapping of colors, making it difficult for counterfeiters to imitate money with their simple technical capabilities in exchange for the complexity of official printing machines.

The first appearance of watermarks was in the fourth edition of the Egyptian pound, known as the peasant pound, issued on July 1, 1926, and the image of the head of the Sphinx was chosen as a watermark.

The pound remained the only denomination that bears a watermark, until the ten pounds issued on March 3, 1931, with the Sphinx watermark, and then the half pound issued on May 7, 1935 with a scarab watermark.

The rest of the categories continued without watermarks until 1946, when 5 pounds were printed with a portrait of King Farouk bearing the lotus flower watermark.

In 1948 and 1949, 100 pounds and 50 pounds, respectively, were printed with the Sphinx watermark, while the 25 piaster denomination remained without a watermark until 1962.

King Farouk is the first and last Egyptian ruler to put his picture on banknotes (communication sites)

Farouk first and last

King Farouk is the first and last Egyptian ruler to put his picture on the Egyptian banknotes issued during his reign.

The image of King Farouk was placed on the banknotes of the pound, five pounds, fifty pounds, and one hundred pounds, and it continued to occupy the front of the Egyptian banknote until it was changed to the image of Tutankhamun in 1952.

The king removed himself

Most Egyptians believe that the Free Officers Organization that ruled the country after the overthrow of King Farouk was the one who removed his image from banknotes in circulation, among other steps to obliterate his biography, but reviewing the dates of issuance of some of the categories from which the king’s image was removed, reveals to us that the king’s image was removed in His reign is not after his overthrow.

The first copy of the five pounds that bore the image of Tutankhamun instead of King Farouk was issued on May 8, 1952, followed by the pound on May 12, 1952, more than two months before the army officers made their move on July 23 of the same year and overthrow the king.

The name of the house "Bradbury Wilkinson" appears on the Egyptian pound, which was printed outside the country until 1968 (Al-Jazeera)

imported coins

For about 70 years, Egyptian banknotes were printed in the British House of Bradbury Wilkinson, until 1968, when the first Egyptian banknote was printed inside the country at the Egyptian Currency Printing House.

The project to establish a printing house began in 1960 in cooperation with the “Gypsic and Different” company in West Germany, and the preparation and processing continued for years until the first Egyptian banknotes printed inside the country came out on December 28, 1968, and they were in denominations of the pound, 50 piasters and 25 piasters.

Despite this, dependence on the outside continued in some stages of currency production, especially the production of printing dies. Rather, the new version of the hundred pounds was printed in 1978 - after it was reissued again - in the British "De La Rue" press.

Until the year 1993 came to produce the first fully local Egyptian currency, from design to the production of plates and printing, and it was in the denomination of 50 pounds.

The printing of Egyptian banknotes locally did not begin until 1968 (Al-Jazeera)

encrypted history

If you hold in your hands one of the Egyptian banknotes issued between May 15, 1978 and August 13, 2000, you may be surprised that there is no date of issuance of the currency on it, but the fact is that the date is written on the paper in an encrypted form or “code” as one of the signs of currency insurance against counterfeiting.

The encrypted history of Egyptian currencies began with the sixth issue of the hundred pounds, before it was applied to all Egyptian currencies issued in that period.

One of the anecdotes mentioned by the engineer, Magdi Hanafi, an expert in Egyptian currencies, is that in 2000 he contacted the Governor of the Central Bank at the time, Ismail Hassan, regarding the encrypted history, but he was surprised that the governor did not know that these numbers were the date of issuing the banknote.

It is possible to know the date of the paper, which consists of 6 numbers located at the bottom left of the paper, in the following way: the first and last digits represent the year of issue, while the second and third digits are the month, and the fourth and fifth digits are the day, so if the encrypted date is 715058, this means that the date of issue of the paper is 15 May 1978.

The use of the encrypted date on Egyptian banknotes began on May 15, 1978 with the reissue of the hundred pounds (communication sites)

Not canceled

Many believe that the Egyptian banknotes that came out of circulation in the markets are canceled currencies, but this is not the case, as no official law was issued to cancel any of the Egyptian currencies except for the cancellation of the 50 and 100 denominations issued by the National Bank of Egypt, which were withdrawn from circulation under Law No. 94 for the year 1959.

The stated goal of the law, which was issued by President Gamal Abdel Nasser at the time, was to besiege the money that was smuggled outside the country and make it worthless.

As for the rest of the Egyptian currencies that were out of circulation, they have not been legally canceled, and they can be exchanged from the Central Bank of Egypt at their face value.