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Dictionary of the Coins of the World [A]

This is an ongoing work (one of those never-ending projects) consisting of a compilation of all known names used for coins from the ancient times to the present. Where possible, a description of coins of that name is given, as well as the most likely origin of the name, including translations. In many cases, links are made to pages which will show various examples of that denomination. Obviously, the images not all-inclusive but hopefully will give the user an idea of what some of the coin denominations looked like and how coins of the same name differ from country to country and through time.


Abas - Variant form of ABBASI.

Abassi - Variant form of ABBASI.

Abassis - Plural of ABBASI.

Abazis - A silver coin of Georgia struck under Tsarist rule.

[Tsarist Georgia]

Abbasi - The name of a Persian silver coin that was first issued in the late 16th century.  It was also the name given to an Afghan yellow-bronze coin that was equal to 4 SHAHI and issued from 1921 to 1923.

{From Persian abb~ s§, literally of Abb~s, from Abas II or Abb~s I c. 1678, a shah of Persia.}

[Afghanistan, Persia]

Abbasis - Plural of ABBASI.

Abbassi - Plural of ABBASI (Ceylon?).

Abbey Crown - A gold coin of Scotland, struck under Mary (1542-1567) and equal to 20 SHILLINGS. It has on the obverse a crowned shield and, on the reverse, a floriated cross.


Abidi - A name given to the half RUPEE of Mysore by Tipu Sultan, in 1786, when he adopted his new system of reckoning, based on the muludi, ie dating from the birth of the Prophet.

{From the name of the fourth Iman, Zainul-abidin or Abid Bimar.}

Abu-Mafta - The name given to the Spanish piastre in Egypt.  The reverse of the piastre shows the Pillars of Hercules, which were often mistaken for cannon, and from which it received its name in Egypt.

{From Egyptian mufta cannon}

Acke - Variant form of AKCE.

Ackey - An English colonial silver coin issued by the African Company on the Gold Coast in 1798 and 1818. See TAKOE.

{An alteration of akee, the seeds of which were used as weights roughly equivalent to 20 grains of gold dust.}

[English Colonial-African Company on the Gold Coast]

Adarkonim - Variant name of the DARIC.

Adhâ - A name given to the half MOHUR of Nepal, struck by the Malla Rajas in the 17th century. See SUKO.


Adha-ani - 1/16 silver MOHUR introduced by the Gorkhas in the coinage of Nepal


Adheeda - Another name for the silver 8-ANNA piece of Nepal.


Adhio -

Adli Altin -

{From Adlî (Bayezid II) Ottoman ruler + Turkish altin gold, golden, gold coin, wealth; gold coin of Adli.}


AE - A symbol meaning bronze and used to indicate the metal of a coin. In the case of ancient coins, it is often followed by a number. In the case of Greek coins, the number is the diameter of the coin in millimeters.  Thus, AE 27 denotes a bronze coin 27 millimeters in diameter. For Roman coins, the number is a 1, 2, 3, or 4, in the order of decreasing size. The Roman coins having this designation are the minor bronze coins first issued by Constantine I in 324 AD.

Afghani - Coin and monetary unit of Afghanistan equal to 100 PULS.

{From Persian afghan Afghan + i, suffic of apputenance.}


Aftaby - A gold coin issued by Akbar, emperor of Hindustan, and worth 10 rupees.  See sihansah.

Agnel - Plural agneaux.  A French gold coin struck in the 13th through the 16th centuries depicting a lamb with a pennant behind its back, facing left.  This is the French version of the Spanish agnus dei.

{From French from Middle French from Latin agnellus little lamb, diminutive of agnus lamb.}


Agnus Dei - A silver coin of Spain first issued by John I (1379-1390) of Castile.  The obverse of these coins shows a lamb, usually standing facing left, with a pennant behind its back,  and sometimes with a halo.  The lamb is known as a "paschal lamb" or "lamb of God" from which the coin receives its name.  They were also struck by John II (1406-1454) of Castile by the mints of Burgos, Seville, and Toledo.

{From Latin agnus Dei lamb of God}


Agontano - Variant name of the alicorno.

Agora - An aluminum coin and monetary unit of Israel.  It is the 1/100 part of a shekel and replaced the prutah as the fractional unit in 1960.  Also agura and its plural agurot.


Agorae - Plural form of agorae.

Agoras - Plural form of agora.

Agorot - Plural form of agora.


Agura - Variant name of the agora.

Agurot - Plural of agura.

Ahmadi Riyal -

{From Arabic ahmadyah literally, followers of Ahmad, ie. Muhammad  + riyal riyal.}

[Yemen Arab Republic]

Akce - Anatolia's subjagation by Mongol Ilkhanid rulers of Iran led to the introduction of standard Ilkhanid coinage at the beginning of the fourteenth century.  Subsequent weight reductions of the Ilkhanid coinage left their successors in fourteenth century Anatolia with a small silver coin, called the acke (meaning little white).  This became the standard Ottoman unit, supplemented by local copper issues.

[Egypt, Mesopotamia, Turkey]

Akcheh - A small Turkish silver coin.  The only piece issued by Orkhan, the son of Othman I, when he inaugurated Ottoman coinage in AH 729.  When Ghrush introduced it in AH1099, it was divided into 50 akchehs.  Also othmany.

[Ottoman Empire]

Akhtar - A name given to the copper 5-CASH piece of Mysore by Tipu Sultan in 1792 after the adoption of his new dating system.  The name is the Arabic designation of the word star.

Aksha - A cupronickel coin of Tannu Tuva (formerly Outer Mongolia) equal to 100 KOPEJEK.

[Tannu Tuva]

Alamgiri - A small copper coin fomerly current in the Deccan principality. It was valued at 1/64 of the Chandor RUPEE.

Albansgulden - (The term Alban prefaced other demoninations as well). A name given to coins struck at the Noble Priory of St Alban's at Mainz. They show the saint holding his severed head in his hands.

{From German Alban (the name of the Priory where the coin was struck) + GULDEN.}

[German States]

Alberetto - Variant form of the ALBERO.

Albero - A popular name of the copper BAIOCCO struck in the Roman Republic in 1797. The obverse has the lictor's fasces surmounted by a Phrygian cap, which bears somewhat of a resemblance to a tree.

{From Italian albero tree.}

[Roman Republic]

Albertin - A gold coin of the Brabant, struck under Albert and Isabella of Spain (1598-1621)

{From Albert}

[Braband, Flanders, German States, Tournai]

Albertusthaler - A large silver thaler first coined in the Spanish Netherlands in 1612 during the stadtholdership of Archduke Albert and his wife Isabella.  It was minted at 9.35 to the fine mark, and had a gross weight of about 29.5 grams.  It soon found favor in trade with the East Indies and with Eastern Europe (Russia), and was therefore continued in Belgium until the end of the 18th century, being also widely copied in other German states as late as the early 19th century.  The main identifying feature is the reverse showing a flowered St Andrew's cross of Burgundy, three crowns in the upper angles, and the lamb of the Order of the Golden Fleece pendent.

{From Albertus the Archduke who authorized the coins + thaler THALER.}

[German States]

Albulo - Albuli si chiamarono i denari inforziati of Lucca (Sec XII) albuli and white the half denari of Venice of the same age. In the 17th Century, the Republic of Lucca coined a small coin of mixture with the figure of Saint Peter, also called ALBULO, because they were artificially whitened.

{From Latin albus white.}

[Italian States-Lucca, Italian States-Venice]

Albus - Plural ALBUSES. Small Rhenish GROSCHEN first struck by Archbishop Kuno of Trier in 1362. Initially 96 ALBUS were minted from one Cologne MARK of fine silver and the coin was valued at 20 to the GOLDGULDEN (1386), but by the 16th century it had become a billion coin worth 1/32 THALER. In Cologne the depreciation was even worse. There, by the 17th century, the ALBUS was equal only to 1/74 THALER.

            The ALBUS was ordinarily divided into 12 HELLERS, 8 LIGHT PFENNIG or 2 KREUZERS, while multiples were the double (1/16 THALER), 4 (1/8 THALER), and the quarter and half THALER. Though the last ALBUSES were struck in the late 18th century, they were accepted in payment of debt in Hesse-Cassel until 1842. During its lifespan the ALBUS shriveled from its initial content of 2.6 grams of fine silver to a gross billion weight of about 1.2 grams or less. At the same time, the diameter shrank from about 25 millimeters to 19 millimeters.

{From German from Middle Latin from Latin albus white.}

[German States]

Alexander - A coin of Romania introduced in 1867.  It was valued at 10 lei.

Alfonsino - A name given to several coins of both gold and silver issued by Alfonso V (1442-1458) of Aragon for circulation in Naples and Sicily.  The gold alfonsino has for its principal device the king in armor mounted on a richly dressed horse.  The silver coin shows the king seated on a throne holding a scepter and a globus cruciger, a globe surmounted by a cross.  The reverse of both coins has as devices the combined arms of Aragon, Jerusalem, and Hungary.  They were struck in Naples and Aquila.

{From Italian alfonsino diminutive of Alfonso.}


Alicorno - The name of a silver coin of Ferrara, issued by Duke Hercules I (1471-1505).  It had on one side the figure of a unicorn and on the other an eagle.  Its value is determined in an ordinance of 1492 as being equal to 12 quattrini or 2 soldi.  Also aquilino or agontano.

{From Italian alicorno unicorn.}

[Italian States-Ferarra]

Altilik - A silver coin equal to 6 piasters.

{From Turkish altilik from alti six + lik consisting of; consisting of six (piastres).}


Altmishlik - A silver coin.

{From Turkish altmis sixty + lik consisting of; consisting of sixty (piastres).}

Altin - A base silver coin of 18th century Russia equal to 3 kopecks.

{From Russian altyn from Turkish altun gold.}

[Egypt, Russia, Turkey]

Altininck - Variant name for altin.

Altinlik - {From Turkish altin gold + lik consisting of; consisting of gold; a gold coin.}


Altyn - A coin equal to 3 kopecks.

{From Russian altyn from Turkish altun gold.}

Amani - Plural form of amania.

Amania - A gold coin issued by the amir Amanullah of Afghanistan between 1919 and 1936.  It had a value equal to 20 afghani or 22 kabuli rupees.

{From Pashto, after Amanullah Khan, the amir of Afghanistan who first issued the coin.}


Ambrogino - Variant form of the ambrosino.

Ambrosin - Variant form of the ambrosino.

Ambrosino - A name given to two coins, one silver and the other gold, of Milan, struck during the first Republic (1250-1310) and retained by the Sforzas until the end of the 15th century.  The coins depict Saint Ambrosius, the Patron Saint of the city, usually standing, but sometimes on horseback, with a whip in his hand, an allusion to Christ driving the moneychangers from the Temple.

{From Italian ambrosino of Saint Ambrose.  From Middle Latin Ambrosinus (nummus) Ambrosian coin, from Saint Ambrose (Ambrosius + Latin -inus -ine.}

[Italian States-Milan]

Ana - Variant form of anna.

Anfruxini - The popular name for the alfonsino minuto, the denaro coined in the mints of Alghero, Calgliari and Villa di Chiesa in Sardenia by Alvonso IV and Alfonso V of Aragon.

[Alghero, Calgliari and Villa di Chiesa in Sardenia]

Ange d'or - A gold coin of France, struck under Philip VI (1328-1350), having on the obverse an Angel standing, and, on the reverse, a floriated cross in a quatrefoil.

{From French ange angel + d'or of gold.}


Angel - Old English gold coin, first minted by Edward IV, called more fully at first the angel noble, being originally a new issue of the noble.  It had as its device the Archangel Michael standing upon, and piercing with his lance, a dragon.  It was worth 6 shillings 8 pence, and weighed 80 grains.  The design was copied from  the French angelot or ange, a gold coin first issued by Louis XI.

{From English angel from Latin angelus angel.}


Angelot - An anglo-gallic gold coin first issued in 1427 by Henry VI of England, and named for the angel device on it.  It was also a gold coin first issued by Louis XI showing a dragon being speared.  Copied by England in the form of the angel.

{From Old French angelot diminutive of angele from Latin angelus angel.}


Angster - A Swiss minor coin, usually of copper, that was struck from the 15th century until 1846.  It had a value that was somewhat less than a rappen, or about 1/4 kreuzer.

{From German angster from Middle High German from Middle Latin angustus thin, from Latin narrow.}

[German States]

Ang-tuk - A silver piece struck in Nepal for currency in Tibet.  It was struck by the Newar king Jaya Bhupatindra Malla Deva in 816 of the Newar Era, or 1696.  Tibetans call it pa-nying tang-ka or "old Nepalese" coinage.  Also called dung-tang (spear tang-ka) or dung-tse (spear point) from the trident emblem of the Newar king, which is on the reverse.  Called a mohar in Nepal.

{From Tibetan ang tuk number 6; on account of the last figure of the date.}


Anna - A money of account equal to 1/16 rupee.  It was coined in ˝ and Ľ anna pieces.

{From Hindu [ ] ~n~.}

[India-British, India, Kenya, Pakistan, Yemen]

Annoe - Variant form of anna.

Anselmino - Name given to the double giulio issued in Mantua under Vincenzo I Gonzaga (1587-1613).  It was a silver coin of the value of 20 soldi and the obverse depicts a figure of Saint Anselmo.

{From Italian anselmino after Saint Anselmo.}

[Italian States-Mantua]

Antoninianus - The name of this Roman silver, and later bronze, coin is derived from the emperor who introduced it.  Septimius Bassianus, who took the name Marcus Aurelius Antoninus upon his elevation to cFsar in 196 AD, introduced the coin in 215 AD.  Two years prior to this, Antoninus took the name by which he is most commonly known today—Caracalla—from caracallus, the latin name for a hooded cloak worn by the Germans, and which Antoninus made the fashion in Rome.

The antoninianus was one of the few coins besides the dupondius to depict the emperor wearing a radiated crown.  Female portraits that grace the antoninianus are portrayed on a crescent.  Upon introduction, the antoninianus had a diameter of about 20 millimeters and had a weight of about 5 grams.  It's composition was roughly 50 percent silver and 50 precent copper.

Public confidence in the former chief coin, the denarius, had fallen considerably as it had been debased from about 98 percent to around 50 percent silver.  So, to revive public confidence in the monetary system, Caracalla introduced his new coin, tariffed at two denarii.  But, this was simply further debasement of the coinage, for the antoninianus contained less silver than two denarii.  This ploy led to Dio Cassius giving another name to the antoninianus—"kibdelon argyrion" or deceitful silver.

The debasement did not stop there, by 270 AD, the silver content had fallen from 50 percent to about 3 percent.  A debasement in style also occurred.  The portraiture of the emperor degenerated to a stereotyped representation, and the diversity of the reverse types diminished.  Invaders from the east and north threatened the empire and, to disperse them, an adequate money supply was needed to pay the armies.  To get this, the answer was debasement.

The reasons for its introduction in AD 215 are unclear.  Prevalent opinion holds that it represented a double denarius, as evidenced by the use of the radiate crown.  (The dupondius, or double as, had long carried such a design feature.)  A second theory, however, is that the new coin directly reflected the rise in value of gold coins relative to silver ones, an argument supported by the fact that, though the denarius of A.D. 215 weighed about 3.1 grams, the antoninianus weighed 5, not 6 grams, as logically it should have if intended as a double denarius.  In short, it may have been introduced as a "heavy" denarius, intended to shore up the old 25-to-1 relationship to gold.

The monetary reforms of Diocletian in 305 AD spelled the end for the antoninianus, although a radiate coin was issued for a few more years.  It is of particular interest not only as an example of the consequences of inflation but also as a model for the famous series of barbarian imitations—the so-called "Barbarous Radiates"—which date from the end of the third century and prominently display a radiate crown.

{Named after Marcus Aurelius Antoninus who introduced the coin.}

[Ancient Rome]

Aparas - Portuguese silver coin struck for Indian possessions.  These coins consisted of pieces cut from the piastre and counterstamped.

{From Portuguese apara to cut off or to divide.}

Apfelgroschen - Any German groschen with a reverse design showing the numeral value "3" (kreuzer) inside the Imperial Orb (Reichsapfel).  Mostly struck in the early 17th century.

{From German apfel orb + groschen groschen.}

[German States]

Apfelgulden - Any German gulden with a reverse design showing the value inside the Imperial Orb (Reichsapfel).  Mostly struck in the early 17th century.

{From German apfel orb + gulden gulden.}

[German States]

Aplus - The Assyrian equivalent of the obol.

Aqdscheh - A silver coin of Egypt by Ahmed III (AH 1115-1143) and corresponding to the asper or 1/3 para.


Aquilino - Variant name for the alicorno.

Arbáa - Name given to certain base gold coins of Egypt of the value of  4 piastres or 1/2 kairie.


Ardite - Small copper coin of Barcelona struck by Philip III (1598-1621) until the mid 18th century.  {Of obscure orign but possibly from the Spanish ardite from Middle English farthing the fourth part.}


Arendschilling -

{From ? arend eagle + schilling schilling}


Arenkopf - A coin of Goslar equal to two berlings.

Argentino - A gold coin of Argentina worth 5 pesos.  It was truck from 1880 to 1914.

{From Spanish argentina, the country of origin.}


Ariary - Unit of account in Madagascar equal to five francs.


Armellino - A silver coin worth 1/2 carlino issued by Ferdinand I of Aragon as King of Naples and Sicily (1456-1494) to commemorate the establishment of the Military Order of the Armellino.  As such, the principal device on the reverse is an ermine.  It was coined by his successors Alfonso II, Ferdinand II and also Francesco Maria I, Duke of Urbino (1508-1513).  The ermine was sometimes mistaken for a fox and the coin called a volpetta.

{From Italian armellino ermine and Italian volpa fox.}

[Spain-Aragon, Italian States-Naples and Sicily]

Arnaldes - A small base silver coin struck at Agen in Aquitaine.  It was named for Arnaldo I of Bonneville, Bishop of Agen in the 11th century.  Poey d'Avant ascribes the name to Arnaldo de Rovinham, Bishop of Agen and the first to coin money there.

Arnaudin - Variant name of the arnaldes.

Arslani - A Turkish name given to the Dutch rijksdaalder, which circulated in the later Ottoman Empire and bore the image of a lion.

            {From Turkish arslan lion + li adjective suffix}

[Ottoman Empire]

As - [Ancient Rome]

Asarfi - [Nepal]

Ashrafi - A gold coin of Persia issued by the Sufî or Safî dynasty.  It corresponded in approximate size and weight to the gold dinar and sequin.  Three ashrafî received the name muhr-ashrafî.  In Abyssinia, it was a money of account equal to 1/3 talari.  Also, a silver coin valued at 22 to the dollar.  Also sherify.  See noble.

{From Persian ashraf§ from Hindu, plural of nobles or, as an adjective, noble. See noble}


Asper - Any one of several small silver coins circulating in the Eastern Mediterranean area from the 12th thru the 17th centuries.  A coin issued by the Comneni of Trebizond.  A coin issued by the Knights of Rhodes equivalent to the denier of western Europe.  Turkish coin first issued in the 14th century.  A small silver Turkish coin valued at 1/120 piastre.

{From French aspre or from Italian aspro, from Byzantine Greek σπρoυ literally, white money.  Aspron from neut of aspers white from Latin asper rough or, by extension, not flat.}

[Tunisia, Turkey]

Aspron - Variant form of ASPER.

Aspron Trachea -

Aspron Trachy -

Assis -

{French, past participle of asseoir to seat - sitting down, used of animals in heraldry??}

[Swiss Cantons]

Assarion -

Assarius - A coin being the fourth part of the FOLLIS. It was called by the name DEKANUMMONION when referring to the Byzantine FOLLIS.

Atribuo - A fictitious unit shown on Frankfurt "Jew PFENNIGS" of the early 19th century.

[German States-Frankfurt]

Att - A Siamese coin worth 1/64 TICAL issued before 1868 in pewter and until 1906 in copper.

{From Siamese ????.}


Augustal - Variant form of the AUGUSTALE.

Augustale - A gold SOLIDUS of the Emperor Frederick II first struck in Sicily in 1231. This coin, modeled on the Roman and Byzantine SOLIDI, was the first gold coin struck in the Empire for four centuries, and as such was the forerunner of the Florentine FLORIN and the Venetian DUCAT. Somewhat more rare is the half AUGUSTALE.

{From Italian augustale from Middle Latin augustalis from Augustalis, of Frederick II (1250), Holy Roman Emperor, bearing, like all Roman emperors, the surname Augustus, from Latin, of Caesar Augustus, from Caesar Augustus + Latin -alis -al.}

[Holy Roman Empire]

Augustales - Variant form of AUGUSTALE.

Augustalis - Variant form of AUGUSTALE.

August d'Or - Gold PISTOLE of 5 CONVENTIONTHALERS struck in Saxony from 1753 through the mid-19th century.

[German States - Saxony]

Aurar - Plural of EYRIR.

Aurelianus - A silver-washed bronze coin of Ancient Rome.  This piece was first issued by the emperor Aurelian as a replacement for the ANTONINIANUS in an attempt to bolster the monetary situation.  The name is uncommon and rarely used.  More commonly referred to as an ANTONINIANUS.

{Named after the Emperor Aurelian who introduced the coin.}

[Ancient Rome]

Aureus -

[Ancient Rome]

Ausbeutemuenzen - A term referring to coins that were struck from precious metals obtained from a local mine.  This type piece was often minted in Germany where all precious metal mines were formerly the property of the various local rulers.  Mining coins were frequently slightly heavier and/or more pure than the ordinary currency.

{From German ausbeute product, produce, yield; output (of a mine) + muenzen money.}

[German States]

Austral - A monetary unit of Argentina equal to 100 CENTAVOS; it replaced the PESO in 1985.

{From Spanish from Latin australis southern.}


Australes - Plural of AUSTRAL.

Avo - Minor coin of Portuguese Timor and Macao worth 1/100 PATACA.

{From Portuguese avo an -eenth or fractional part above one-tenth.  Trifle, shortening of oitavo eighth.  eg. tres dezessete avos = 3/17ths.}

[Indonesia, Macao]

Avos - Plural of AVO.

Azzalino - A name given to the TESTONE issued by the Paleogi of Casale in the 14th century.  The word is a corruption of the acciarino, or a steel for striking fire, which is depicted on the coin.

{From Italian acciarino a steel for striking fire}

[Italian States-Casale]

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