Afghanistan, a land of rich history running back thousands of years. This country has long been a gateway to the east, and has seen the rise and fall of many storied and ancient civilizations. It’s currency is as storied as its country’s history. Curious about this storied currency? Read on to find out about this unique numismatic collectible.
The Afghan Rupee
Before the Afghani was created, the original currency in Afghanistan was the Rupee. The Afghani wouldn’t appear until after 1925. The Rupee had originated in the 16th century, when it was issued by the Afghan monarch Sher Shah Suri during his rule of Northern India. In actuality, this is where the Indian Rupee comes from. Before 1891, this was part of a tri-metallic money system, where the Rupee was issued in silver, along with the copper falus, and the gold mohur. There was no fixed exchange rate between the three metals, and each region issued their own coins.
The Afghan Afghani
Originally issued in 1925, the original Afghani was actually a coin and contained about 9 grams of silver and wasn’t the highest denomination of money in Afghanistan. Issued along with the Afghani was the bronze and brass pul, the billon pul which was worth 20 pul, the silver Afghani, and the gold amani. In 1952, the aluminum and nickel clad steel puls were introduced, followed by the aluminum Afghani in 1958. Additionally, between 1925 and 1928, The treasury issued bank notes in denominations of 5, 10, and 50 Afghanis.
For most of the Afghani’s existence it’s exchange rate has been determined freely by market forces. However, for some periods of time, a dual exchange rate existed within Afghanistan. There was an official exchange rate that had been determined by the Afghan central bank, and a free market exchange rate that was determined by the supply and demand forces in Kabul’s money bazaar.
The Afghani was re-issued in 2002 with no subdivisions, which means there was only one denomination with no lesser denominations equaling one Afghani. Today, the currency has continued to gain confidence in its country of origin, and is a beautiful and colorful collectors piece for those looking to include the middle east in their collection of foreign banknotes.