SAUDI ARABIA 1 riyal (1961 AD)


SAUDI ARABIA, 1 riyal, Law 1379 AH (1961 AD), Face: brown on blue & green, Mountain of Light, Back: arms, P6, edge nick, VF

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It took Saudi Arabia until 1953 to start using paper money, and those were “funny money” they made the Hajj pilgrims use. They didn’t start forcing their own citizens to use paper until 1961. Before that it was all coins: Saudi stuff, Maria Theresia thalers, British sovereigns.

Aside from China, other governments started using circulating “banknotes” starting in the 17th century AD. The practice became general in the 19th century. In the 20th century value of paper money in circulation far surpassed the value of coinage. In the 21st century paper money is fading and credit transactions are growing.

Paper money, meaning the promise of a government to pay a set amount, and the paper promise allowed to circulate at will, was probably first used in China in the 12th century AD. At that time the merchants and governments of Europe were just writing letters to each other about what they owed.