A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Friday, November 14, 2014

ISIS Announces Coin Designs for the Caliphate's Coinage. Why Do Two of Them Look Rather, Um, Familiar?

The Islamic State, trying to seem credible as a state, has released a series of projected coin designs. (Also here.) They will (it is claimed) be minted in gold, silver, and copper and range in value from a few cents to several hundred dollars. The announcement in Arabic with the illustrations can be found here n PDF.

At least two of these coins look rather familiar. The first has been noted on social media; I'm not sure if anyone has commented on the second.

Some people have noted a certain resemblance between the copper 20 fils piece (at left), and an older Israeli 10 agorot coin (more recent Israeli coins also use palm trees), at right.below.

I know; it's the Middle East and you sort of expect palm trees. (And yes, I know conspiracy theorists and some Egyptian media say ISIS was created by the US and Israel, but then they wouldn't be stupid enough to model their coins on Israel's, would they?)

But then take a look at the gold one dinar coin at left. Wheat's another nice, generic symbol of agricultural production of course; heck, it's appeared on a lot of countries' currencies.

It's just that this one, too, may remind some folks of something.(Photo at right.)

I don't know who did the Caliphate's coin designs, and I'm not suggesting any conspiracies, but the designer might want to consider emigration if he's living under their rule and still has his head intact..

Admittedly, the design with the al-Aqsa Mosque has never appeared on Israeli coinage.

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