Egyptian Coins with an Ethnographic Flair

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Egyptian Coins with an Ethnographic Flair

Coins can tell a lot about their country of origin as they have an image representing the country on one side. Quite often, this image has an ethnographic flair. For instance, Egyptian coins can have famous buildings and pharaohs on them. Collecting coins is not only a hobby, but also a way to invest in the future, so it is important to know the different types of coins and their features.


Egyptian Coin Denominations

The primary unit of money in Egypt is the Egyptian pound that contains 100 piastres. The whole system is decimal based and the smallest coin is five piastres.


Name of the Coin

Relative Coin Value

Five piastres

0.05 pound

Ten piastres

0.1 pound

Twenty piastres

0.2 pound

Twenty-five piastres

0.25 pound

Fifty piastres

0.5 pound

One pound

One full pound


The material for these coins is largely copper, and all the coin values relate to the pound. However, when it comes to collecting, the nominal values rarely play a significant role, as the value of collectible coins depends on their rarity and other factors.


Landmarks on Egyptian Coins

Several Egyptian coins feature notable landmarks on them. The obverse of the smallest coin in value, five piastres, includes the image of the three pyramids of Giza for the three rulers: Khufu (Cheops), Khafre (Chephren), and Menkaure (Mykerinus). These pyramids are one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Later mintages of five piastres feature Islamic pottery. Egypt is predominantly Muslim and therefore mosques as the religion's places of public worship play a significant role in the daily life of Egyptians. Mosques feature on two different Egyptian coins: Mosque of Muhammad Ali, a popular mosque amongst tourists, and the Al-Azhar mosque, close to the Al-Azhar University. The Mosque of Muhammad Ali is on ten piastres and the Al-Azhar mosque is on twenty piastres.


Notable People on Egyptian Coins

Cleopatra's head decorates the obverse of fifty piastres. She was a notable pharaoh who ruled Ancient Egypt and a popular figure in Western culture, as she was both powerful and beautiful. Even in the ancient world, she was a great beauty. The Egyptian one pound coin, on the other hand, features another famous figure that people often associate with Egypt; the coin feature Tutankhamun's mask. This pharaoh is world famous because in 1922 Howard Carter discovered his tomb almost intact, sparking interest worldwide. His burial mask soon became the symbol of this discovery. Both Cleopatra and Tutankhamun are thus significant persons who represent Egypt in their own ways.

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