Iraq’s 25-Dinar Note of 1990

Peter Symes

One of the problems in looking up banknote varieties in a catalogue is the description of each variety is not always clear; and the issue of understanding the varieties can be exacerbated by black-and-white images. In an effort to overcome this problem, this presentation aims to identify different varieties of the 1990-dated issue of the Iraqi 25-dinar note.

            Iraq first issued a 25-dinar note with an image of three white horses on the front in 1978; at least the note is dated 1978. The note was later issued with a date of 1980. Similar notes, in a reduced size, were issued with dates of 1981 and 1982. All four notes were printed by a security printer and are of good quality. The notes carry the watermark of the head of a horse, have a solid security thread at the right, have fluorescing ink and the Arabic characters for 25, i.e. ٢٥, are printed in ink which is invisible in normal light, but which fluoresces under ultra-violet light.

            Following sanctions imposed after the first Gulf War, Iraq was forced to print its own notes without the technology available to security printers. This emergency series contains the 25-dinar note which has several varieties. The known varieties are presented here.

            Figure 1 is an example of an early printing. The three horses, although badly drawn when compared to the earlier notes, have the appropriate shading but without the subtlety of the earlier notes. Of importance for determining varieties, observe the brown inks used on the note, particularly at the left and right of the panel holding the title ‘Central Bank of Iraq’ at the top. Also of importance are the pink highlights in the top left and right and in the lower corners; and the underprint of fine vertical pink lines covering the note. There is an imitation water mark at the left, with the head of the horse printed in a white ink, and an imitation security thread is printed in black to the right. There is no fluorescent ink on the note.

Figure 1 – The earliest of the 25-dinar notes dated 1990. A brown ink is used with the green, and the underprint is pink.

            Figure 2 shows a later printing of the same note, still dated 1990. The note is the same as the note in Figure 1, but this note uses black ink for the horses and for the ends of the panel at the top of the note holding ‘Central Bank of Iraq’ in Arabic. The imitation security thread is most noticeable when viewed from the back of the note.

Figure 2 – This variety of the note uses a black ink for the horses and for the decorative work.

            Figure 3 shows the note printed in black, but without the pink. Gone are the highlights in the corners of the note and the fine vertical lines which affect the overall appearance of the note. Quality control of the printing process in this emergency issue was low. While the absence of the pink ink might be regarded as an anomaly, there are a large number of notes of this variety on the collector market. Of interest, is the higher than usual white reflection from this paper when submitted to ultra-violet light; an indicator this variety may have been produced under different conditions to the other varieties; perhaps with different paper.

Figure 3 – Absent on this printing of the 25-dinar note is the pink underprint and the pink highlights.

            Figure 4 also appears to be an anomaly. In this case, the pink vertical lines are not so fine and the diagonal green lines are finer than on the other varieties; with the overall effect of the note being pink rather than green. Also, the areas printed in black in Figures 2 and 3 are now printed brown, as in the original note of this issue.

Figure 4 – For this printing, pink is the dominant colour. The ordinarily fine, pink lines of the underprint are now the dominant lines. The horses and decorative lines are once again brown.

            Considering these four varieties are determined largely by poor quality control of the printing process, it is likely other varieties of this note exist.

This article was completed in January 2012
© Peter Symes