Yemen AH 1330 1/80 riyal

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Steve Album sale 15, lot 1872
Courtesy of Steve Album

The Mutawakkilite Kingdom began forming in 1890 AD, but it was not until 1911 that the local ruler (Yahya bin Muhammad, who came to power in AH 1322 / 1904 AD) was recognized as both the secular and religious head by the occupying (but weakening) Ottoman forces. In 1919 AD, the Ottomans officially abandoned any attempt at a military or political presence in Yemen. The first local coinage to recognize independent Yemenese rule was struck in AH 1342 (1924 AD).

The new coinage was based on the standard of the Maria Teresa thaler (import of which was banned under the Ottomans, who wished to force Turkish coinage on the population). Thus the thaler was equal to 1 riyal, with fractions of 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/10, 1/20, 1/40, and 1/80. The fraction 1/40 riyal was known as 1 buqsha. Shown is a 1/80 riyal (1/2 buqsha), from the first year of the type issue. The copper coinage of this period is quite variable in color, as the metal was only available as scrap. Some of the coins were produced from brass shell casings discarded by Ottoman forces.

This specimen was auctioned by Steve Album (auction #15) on January 18-19, 2013, and sold for US$__. The lot description reads:
"YEMEN: Yahya bin Muhammad, 1904-1948, AE ½ buqsha (1/80 riyal), San'a, AH1330, first year of type, very well struck, NGC graded AU50 BR."

Recorded mintage: unknown.

Specification: copper.

Catalog reference: KM Y2.2.


  • Cuhaj, George S., and Thomas Michael, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1901-2000, 42nd ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2014.
  • Pridmore, Fred. "The Modern Coins of the Mutawakkilite Kingdom of the Yemen". Seaby's Coin and Medal Bulletin, May 1962. pp 231-340.

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