Iraqi Dinar Bank Notes, Iraqi Currency
In 1931, banknotes were issued by the government in denominations of ¼, ½, 1, 5, 10 and 100 dinar. The notes were printed in the United Kingdom. From 1931 to 1947, the banknotes were issued by the Iraqi currency board for the government of Iraq and banknotes were convertible into pound sterling. From 1947, the banknotes were issued by the National Bank of Iraq, then after 1954 by the Central Bank of Iraq.
100 dinars notes ceased production in the 1940s but otherwise, the same denominations were issued until 1978, when 25 dinars notes were introduced. In 1991, 50 and 100 dinars were introduced, followed by 250 dinars notes in 1995 and 10,000 dinars notes in 2002.
Banknotes issued between 1990 and October 2003, along with a 25-dinars note issued in 1986, bear an idealized engraving of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Following the 1991 Gulf War, Iraq's currency was printed both locally and in China, using poor grade wood pulp paper (rather than cotton or linen) and inferior quality lithography (some notes were reputedly printed on presses designed for printing newspapers).
Counterfeited banknotes often appeared to be of better quality than real notes. Despite the collapse in the value of the Iraqi dinar, the highest denomination printed until 2002 was 250 dinars. In 2002, the Central Bank of Iraq issued a 10,000-dinars banknote to be used for "larger, and inter-bank transactions". This note was rarely accepted in practice due to fears of looting and counterfeiting. This forced people to carry around stacks of 250-dinars notes for everyday use. The other, smaller bills were so worthless that they largely fell into disuse. This situation meant that Iraq, for the most part, had only one denomination of banknote in wide circulation.
Currency printed before the Gulf War was often called the Swiss dinar. It got its name from the Swiss printing technology that produced banknotes of a considerably higher quality than those later produced under the economic sanctions that were imposed after the first Gulf War. After a change-over period, this currency was disendorsed by the Iraqi government. However, this old currency still circulated in the Kurdish regions of Iraq until it was replaced with the new dinar after the second Gulf War. During this time the Swiss dinar retained its value, whilst the new currency consistently lost value at sometimes 30 percent per annum.
In 2003, new banknotes were issued consisting of six denominations: 50, 250, 1,000, 5,000, 10,000, and 25,000 dinar. The notes were similar in design to notes issued by the Central Bank of Iraq in the 1970s and 1980s. A 500 dinars note was issued a year later, in October 2004. In the Kurdish regions of Iraq, the 50 dinar note is not in circulation.