The Riyal is the currency
of Saudi Arabia. It is abbreviated as ر.س or SR (Saudi Riyal). It is subdivided into 100 Halalas. The Saudi Ghirsh is 5 Halalas.
Summary information about Saudi riyal
- ISO 4217 Code:
- Currency sign:
- ر.س (Arabic) and SR (Latin)
- Saudi Arabia
- 5 halala, 10 halala, 25 halala, 50 halala, 100 halala
- 1 riyal, 5 riyal, 10 riyal, 20 riyal, 50 riyal, 100 riyal, 200 riyal, 500 riyal
- Central bank:
- Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency
Saudi nationalism can be traced to 1745, when Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab began preaching the purification of Islam of external and modern influences. He received the support of Muhammad ibn Sa'ud of Dir'iyah, and the resulting Wahhabiyyah movement spread across the Arabian Peninsula. By 1904 Ibn Saud ('Abd al-'Aziz II) had recovered all of the original Saudi territory in central Arabia (the Najd). The British held Saudi lands as a protectorate after conquering them from the Ottomans in 1915, during the First World War. The Hejazi Kingdom was established on June 10, 1916, and the Sultanate of Nejd and its Dependencies was established on August 22, 1921. Jebel Shammar was incorporated into Nejd on November 2, 1921, and Asir was incorporated into Hejaz on November 20, 1930. Hejaz and Nejd were united to create Saudi Arabia on September 22, 1932.
During most of its history, Saudi Arabia imported coins from surrounding countries. Some coins were issued locally in imitation of foreign coins, but they were minted infrequently. The first Islamic coins were minted in Saudi Arabia in 723 and coins continued to be minted periodically under the Abbasid Caliphate. The Sharifs of Mecca issued some coins beginning in 1253, but the Fatimids of Egypt, Qarmatians of Bahrain, Seljuks of Iran and Iraq, the Ayyubids and the Mamluks of Egypt and the Ottoman Turks all issued coins during the times when they controlled parts of Saudi Arabia.
Silver Maria Theresa Thalers (XMTT) and British Gold Sovereigns (GBP
) were used in the interior of Arabia before the establishment of Nejd and Hejaz with 1 Gold Sovereign (Pound) equal to 5 Maria Theresa Thalers. The Arabian National Bank of Hedjaz had banknotes printed, but they were not issued. Both Nejd and Hejaz minted local coins of lower denomination with 1 Riyal, equal to a Maria Theresa Thaler, divisible into 100 Piastres or 400 Para.
This situation created a bimetallic monetary system based upon British Gold Sovereigns and silver Riyals. The silver Saudi Arabian Riyal (SAA) was equal in weight to Maria Theresa Thalers until 1936 (19.96565 grams) and the Saudi Sovereign Riyal (SAS) was equal in weight to Indian Rupees
(10.6918 grams) after 1936. British gold Sovereigns and the Silver Riyal fluctuated in value against each other. The Sovereign was equal to 11 Ghirish in 1928, 110 Ghirsh in 1931 and 440 Ghirsh in 1952.
The Saudi Riyal (SAR) monetary system was reformed on October 22, 1952, creating a single currency originally backed by Saudi gold Sovereigns equivalent to the British gold Sovereign. Specie money continued to be the basis of the Saudi monetary system until December 31, 1959 when the rising price of silver forced the Saudi government to devalue the Riyal and introduce a new monetary system based on fiat money issued by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency
. Until then, only Pilgrim Receipts had been issued by the Saudi Central Bank The Riyal is divisible into 20 Ghirsh or 100 Halala.
In 1925, transitional copper coins for ¼ and ½ ghirsh were minted in Mecca by muhammad ayan kadri. These were followed, in 1926, by ¼, ½ and 1 ghirsh cupronickel piece, carrying the title "King of Hejaz and Sultan of Nejd".
In 1927, the royal title was changed to "King of Hejaz and Nejd and Dependencies" and coins were issued in denominations of ¼, ½ and 1 ghirsh in cupro-nickel and ¼, ½ and 1 riyal in silver.
In 1935, the first coins were issued in the name of Saudi Arabia. These were silver ¼, ½ and 1 riyal coins which were nearly 50% lighter than the previous issue. Cupro-nickel ¼, ½ and 1 ghirsh were also issued from 1937. In 1946 (AH 1365), many of the cupro-nickel coins were countermarked with the Arabic numerals 65 (٦٥) in what Krause and Mishler describe as "a move to break money changers' monopoly on small coins". Cupro-nickel 2 and 4 ghirsh were introduced in 1957.
In 1963, the halala was introduced and bronze 1 halala coins were issued. This was the only year these coins were struck. Cupro-nickel 5, 10, 25 and 50 halala followed in 1972. These coins are also inscribed with their denomination in ghirsh or riyal (1, 2 ghirsh, ¼, ½ riyal). In 1976, cupro-nickel 1 riyal coins were introduced, which are also inscribed with the denomination 100 halala. Bimetallic 1 riyal coins, also marked 100 halala, were issued in 1999.
In 1953, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) began issuing Haj Pilgrim Receipts for 10 riyals, with 1 and 5 riyals following in 1954 and 1956, respectively. These resembled banknotes and were initially intended for use by pilgrims who exchanged foreign currency for them. However, they became widely accepted in Saudi Arabia and largely replaced silver riyal coins in major financial transactions. Consequently, the Monetary Agency began issuing regular banknotes for 1, 5, 10, 50 and 100 riyal on 15 June 1961. The Pilgrim Receipts were withdrawn on 1 February 1965.
500 Riyal notes were introduced in 1983. 20 and 200 riyal banknotes were issued in 2000 to commemorate the centenary of the founding of what became the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The 5th series of banknotes bearing the face of King Abdullah were issued in 2007.
On May 20, 2007, "the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, pursuant to article (4) of the Saudi Currency Law, issued under the Royal Decree No.(6) and dated 1/7/1379H". Announced the fifth domination of the Saudi Riyal that features King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz's picture on all banknotes except the 500 riyal, which features the late King Abdul Aziz Al Saud. The 100 and 50 riyal notes were released on May 21, 2007. The 10 and 5 riyal notes followed in June 2007, then the 500 riyal followed in September 2007, and finally the 1 riyal note completed the series in December 2007. It is expected by the SAME that the fourth (current) series will take approximately two years to phase out, although a complete removal of the current series require more than two years since the fourth series has been in circulation for well over 25 years. The fourth series which feature the late King Fahad's picture will remain legal tender under the Saudi Arabian monetary law. The new series have the latest and most advanced security system to prevent from counterfeiting and other similar activities.
SAR banknotes pictures gallery
|1 Saudi riyal|
|Banknote of 1 Saudi riyal has dimensions 133×63 mm and main colors are desert sand, myrtle, camouflage green, fern green, dark tan, olivine, almond, champagne and linen. The banknote of 1 Saudi riyal was issued on the 31 December 2007.|
Obverse side of the 1 Saudi riyal is showing the portrait of King Abdullah Bin Abdul-Aziz al-Saud and 7th century gold dinar coin.
Reverse side of the 1 Saudi riyal is showing Agency headquarters and Saudi Arabian Monetary.
|5 Saudi riyal|
|Banknote of 5 Saudi riyal has dimensions 145×66 mm and main colors are lavender gray, magnolia, light mauve, old lavender, liver, magnolia and lavender mist. The banknote of 5 Saudi riyal was issued in July 2007.|
Obverse side of the 5 Saudi riyal is showing the portrait of King Abdullah Bin Abdul-Aziz al-Saud and the Ras Tanurah oil refinery.
Reverse side of the 5 Saudi riyal is showing the Ras Tanurah tanker loading terminal and Jubail Port in the eastern region.
|10 Saudi riyal|
|Banknote of 10 Saudi riyal has dimensions 150×68 mm and main colors are light gray, wenge, pale silver, ash grey, platinum, isabelline, almond and khaki. The banknote of 10 Saudi riyal was issued in July 2007.|
Obverse side of the 10 Saudi riyal is showing the portrait of King Abdullah Bin Abdul-Aziz al-Saud and King Abdulaziz’s palace in Almora.
Reverse side of the 10 Saudi riyal is showing the King Abdulaziz Historical Center and Riyadh.
|20 Saudi riyal|
|Banknote of 20 Saudi riyal has dimensions 152×69 mm and main colors are tea rose, pale aqua, cambridge blue, pastel gray, pearl, pale silver, dark sea green, light taupe, beaver and pale chestnut. The banknote of 20 Saudi riyal was issued in 2000.|
Obverse side of the 20 Saudi riyal is showing the portrait of King Abdullah Bin Abdul-Aziz al-Saud and Quba Mosque - First Islamic mosque - Masjid Al-Quba.
Reverse side of the 20 Saudi riyal is showing the Mountain of Light - Jabal Al-Noor.
|50 Saudi riyal|
|Banknote of 50 Saudi riyal has dimensions 155×70 mm and main colors are xanadu, pastel gray, timberwolf, gainsboro, pastel gray, pearl, light gray, rifle green and camouflage green. The banknote of 50 Saudi riyal was issued on the 21 May 2007.|
Obverse side of the 50 Saudi riyal is showing the portrait of King Abdullah Bin Abdul-Aziz al-Saud and Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem.
Reverse side of the 50 Saudi riyal is showing the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem.
|100 Saudi riyal|
|Banknote of 100 Saudi riyal has dimensions 160×72 mm and main colors are languid lavender, manatee, periwinkle, thistle, lilac, alice blue, magnolia and lavender blush. The banknote of 100 Saudi riyal was issued on the 21 May 2007.|
Obverse side of the 100 Saudi riyal is showing the portrait of King Abdullah Bin Abdul-Aziz al-Saud and the Green Dome of The Quba Mosque (Prophet’s Mosque) in Medina.
Reverse side of the 100 Saudi riyal is showing the Quba Mosque (Prophet’s Mosque) in Al Madinah Al Monawarah.
|200 Saudi riyal|
|Banknote of 200 Saudi riyal has dimensions 163×73 mm and main colors are pale taupe, platinum, shadow, khaki, desert sand, pale taupe, almond and pearl. The banknote of 200 Saudi riyal was issued in 2000.|
Obverse side of the 200 Saudi riyal is showing the portrait of King Abdullah Bin Abdul-Aziz al-Saud and
Reverse side of the 200 Saudi riyal is showing the l-Masmak palace, Riyadh, the Commemorative logo and text at right.
|500 Saudi riyal|
|Banknote of 500 Saudi riyal has dimensions 166×74 mm and main colors are manatee, dark electric blue, cool grey, pale aqua, white smoke, light cyan, pale aqua, cadet grey, payne’s grey and outer space. The banknote of 500 Saudi riyal was issued in September 2007.|
Obverse side of the 500 Saudi riyal is showing the portrait of King Abdullah Bin Abdul-Aziz al-Saud and the Ka'aba in Mecca.
Reverse side of the 500 Saudi riyal is showing the Holy mosque in Makkah Al Mukarramah (Mecca).
- About Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency:
- Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency
- List of currencies:
- Security and design features of SAR banknotes:
- SAR banknotes
- SAR currency on Wikipedia:
- Saudi riyal
- Official Website of Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency:
- Commemorative coins:
- Commemorative Coins