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Currency of Egypt

The currency in ancient Egypt

During most of ancient Egypt's pharaonic history, there was no money as such, at least in the form of coinage (and paper bills were far in the future). Not until the middle of the first millennium BC were any coins used in Egypt, and at first, they were usually of foreign mint. In fact, most of the information related to wages, pricing and payments are more related to weights and measures.

The ancient Egyptian economy, based on redistribution and reciprocity, set prices in units of value that referred directly to commodities. At first, for the purposes of exchange and trade, the Egyptians calculated the value of goods and services in units that were directly related to the necessities of life. Later, the calculation was made in terms of the weights of metals, such as copper or silver, though rarely did these metals ever change hands. Rather, their weight was used as a reference for value. For the most part, the ancient Egyptians never conceptualized the use of money.

Regrettably, sources for the study of prices and payments have not survived from all periods of Egyptian history. Data concerning wages and rations are best known from documents of the Old, Middle and New Kingdom, while commodity prices are best preserved from the Ramessid period. The Abusir Papyrus relates information about wage payments during the Old Kingdom, while temple documents, biographies and other archaeological data provide information from the Middle Kingdom. During the New Kingdom, our information comes principally from Deir el-Medina and from documents pertaining to shipping. All of these sources evidence that payments were made in the form of bread, beer, grain, meat and cloth rations, which were the necessities of life.

During the Middle Kingdom we know that the standard basic wage consisted of ten loaves of bread and one-third to two full jugs of beer per day, though this seems to have varied considerably. One must understand that the Egyptian beer was much less alcoholic than modern beer.

At Deir el-Medina during the New Kingdom Prices were recorded on some papyri and on numerous ostraca that date to a 150 year period during the 19th and 20th Dynasties from them scholars have isolated four units of value that were used to price commodities, consisting of the deben, The deben is a measure of weight that was used for gold, silver and, most commonly, copper.  One deben of copper weighs between 90 and 91 grams.

In conclusion, the Egyptians were able to create a relatively complex economy and conduct business in a way that met their needs without ever fully abstracting the concept of money. It worked, and one must remember that it worked for a longer period of time that spanned almost three thousand years.

Currency of Modern Egypt
The currency of Egypt is the pound, the Egyptian pound is divided into 100 piaster or 1000 milliemes. The ISO code for the Egyptian pound is EGP, although LE is also frequently used as notation. The Egyptian government fixed the exchange rate through force, which led to the use of a de facto gold standard. As far as the global community knows, gold is still often used in internal transactions. Egyptian banknotes were issued for the first time in 1899.
* On the other hand Coins are encountered much less frequently than the Egyptian notes. However, 5, 10, 20, and 25 piasters coins have still remained as legal currency in Egypt.
* Moreover, at the end of 2005, plans were implemented for the introduction of a new 200 pounds note and coins for 1 pound and 50 piasters and finally on 1st June 2006, 200 pounds, 1 pound and 50 piasters were introduced, with the equivalent banknotes.
* There are several currency units, every banknote has two faces, one in Arabic and usually has pictures of a well known mosque in Egypt and the other face is in English and has pictures of ancient Egyptian figures, statues or generally monuments.
* 25 Egyptian piaster note or Quarter. The Arabic face has the picture of Aisha Mosque, While The back or the English face of the Quarter has the picture of the Quraysh Hawk the official symbol of Egypt.
* The Arabic face of the half pound note with the picture of Al Azhar mosque, While The English face of the half pound note with the picture of Ramses II
* The Arabic face of the pound has the picture of Sultan Qayetbay mosque, While The other face of the Egyptian pound has the picture of Abu Simbel temple in Aswan.
* The Arabic face of the five pound note with the picture of Ahmed ebn Tolon Mosque.
* The Arabic face of the 10 pound note has the picture of El Refaee mosque, While The English face of the 10 pound note has the picture of Khafre with the eagle.
* The Arabic face of the 50 pound note has the picture of Abu Hreba mosque, While The English face of the 50 pound note has the picture of the Karnak temple.
* The Arabic face of the 100 pound note has the picture of Sultan Hassan mosque, While The back of the 100 pound note has the picture of the Sphinx.