Qirsh: coin from Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; 1/20 riyal


4 qirsh, 1956: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

4 qirsh, 1956: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Date on coin: AH 1376 (AH: Latin "Anno Hegirae" — "the year of the Hijra"; Islamic calendar) = 1956 (Gregorian calendar).

أربعة قروش: four qirsh.

٤: 4.

١٣٧٦: 1376.

ملك المملكة العربية السعودية سعود بن عبد العزيز آل سعود: King of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Saud bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

Coat of arms of Saudi Arabia: palm tree (the main tree of the state) and two swords (represent the Kingdom of Hejaz and the Sultanate of Najd, which were united under Ibn Saud in 1926).

Mint: Lahore, Pakistan.

Mintage: 49.100.000.

  • Copper-nickel: 30 mm - 11.8 g
  • Reference price: 2$

COIN QIRSH — WHERE & WHEN (coins catalog: by names & emitents)
  1. SAUDI ARABIA (KINGDOM OF HEJAZ + KINGDOM OF HEJAZ AND NEJD + KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA), 1916-...: qirsh = 5 halala = 1/20 riyal (before 1960: qirsh = 1/22 riyal)
  2. EGYPT as part of the OTTOMAN EMPIRE (EYALET OF EGYPT + KHEDIVATE OF EGYPT), 1810-1914: qirsh = 40 para = 1/100 pound (in modern Western numismatics Egyptian qirsh since 1916 are considered piastres)
  3. HASHEMITE KINGDOM OF JORDAN, 1978-...: qirsh (piastre) = 10 fils = 1/10 dirham = 1/100 dinar (strangely, coins are issued in qirsh and piastres in parallel: ½ and 1 qirsh, but 2½, 5 and 10 piastres; qirsh = piastre)...
...to be honest, the situation with the Latin spelling of the small coins names of some countries of the Arab world (Egypt, Jordan, Sudan, Syria...) is very confusing: sometimes the same coins are called piastres, sometimes — qirsh...

About the name of the coin qirsh: certainly the term "qirsh" (first introduced in the 19th century) comes from the name of the Ottoman coin kuruş (first issued in the 17th century). Both qirsh and Ethiopian gersh are derivatives of kuruş.
If you dig deeper into history, it turns out that kuruş, qirsh and gersh owe their name to the Latin term grossus ("thick"; this is the name of the medieval European silver coin, which became the prototype of the aforementioned Ottoman coins).