Before the Islamic Republic Banknotes (printed by Thomas de La Rue of England) were ready to be placed into circulation, the Central Bank of Iran applied three different overprints on the existing banknotes.  These are known as the Provisional Overprints.

The First Provisional Overprint is an arabesque design applied on the bust in order to discredit and deface the Shah. The overprints (mainly in black) are different in size depending on the denomination.

The Provisional Issue, Type I (known an “one overprint”)

Catalog #





Pick 110a

20 R


Black overprint on Pick 100a

Pick 110b

20 R


The Persian word “twenty” is shorter.

Pick 110c

20 R

Very Rare

Black overprint on Pick 100b, the prefix is fractional

Note on Pick 110, 20 Rial .  Pick has now listed two variations on the actual 20 Rial note,  P-100a (a1 and a2 with short and long spelling of the Persian word “Twenty”). The early printings of this note (up to prefix 22) have the short spelling, the later ones, more common, have the long.

(Easy way to distinguish: If Prefix is under 22 it is short, if 25 and up it is long.  If prefix is fractional, then you have P-110c, a fortune)


Naturally the Provisional overprint will have two variations as well, P-110a on a long “Twenty”, and P-110b on a short “Twenty”.  

In checking my stock I noticed that mostly I have the early version or the long spelling.

In the new Pick (10 edition), P-110b should read, “Black type A ovpt. on #100a (long Farsi) and not #100b as printed.


Pick 110c.  This is a very scarce note.  Pick price is $600.00; one piece was sold on eBay at $550.00. The signature on this note is #17 (fractional prefix).  



Pick 111a

50 R


Black overprint on Pick 101c

Pick 111b

50 R


Green overprint on Pick 101c

Note on Pick 111, 50 Rial.  There is just one type of overprint and one signature, and that is sign. #16.  The notation in Pick is wrong; it should read “Ovrp. On 101c” and NOT 101b.

The difference between 111a and 111b is the color of the overprint.  Black is more common, however, there are many shades, from light green to dark to very dark green which resembles black.  Remember these notes were being overprinted in Tehran, under no supervision, no quality control, and no security while there was Revolution and shootings in the streets.  It is possible one printing house had run out of black ink and started using green.  I have a banknote from the beginning of a bundle with very dark green and the last from the same bundle very light green.         



Pick 112a

100 R


Black overprint on Pick 102c

Pick 112b

100 R


Maroon overprint on Pick 102c

Pick 112c

100 R


Very Scarce 

Note on Pick 112, 100 Rial.  Again there is just one kind of overprint.  Pick 112a and 112b differ in the color of the overprint.  No signature variety here.  Again black is more common than maroon, but with the red background of the note it is difficult to distinguish between the shades.


Pick 112c is a new addition.  It is actually the 1000 Rial overprint (large in size), which has been applied to this 100 Rial note.  Again lack of quality control and urgency has caused a few bundles to receive the wrong size overprint.  Pick’s price of $200 is justified.  Very seldom, if ever seen.



Pick 113a

200 R


Very Scarce 

Pick 113b

200 R


Very Scarce

Pick 113c

200 R



Pick 113d

200 R


Very Scarce

Note on Pick 113, 200 Rial.   The most common, still scarce, is 113c, type E overprint (small) on 200 Rial Pick 103d.  Most banknotes seen have a prefix of 1/1 or 2/1.   Pick 113a and 113b are the same overprint on other signature varieties, and Pick 113d is an error, Overprint G (which is for 1000 Rial) has been applied to this note, similar to 112c error.  Every now and then a piece of these scarce notes comes to the market, definitely there are no hoards or bundles put aside.  After 25 years it is certain that these notes are scarce and deserve the high catalog prices, however, it is up to the collector to decide if it is justified to pay $900 just because the signature is different.



Pick 114a

500 R


Overprint on Pick 104b

Pick 114b

500 R


Overprint on Pick 104c

Pick 114c

500 R


Overprint on Pick 104d

Note on Pick 114, 500 Rial.   Same size overprint on three different signature varieties on this denomination, Sign #16, 17, 18.

Again Pick 114b is very scarce, maybe a bundle or two from this signature was mixed with others as they were sent to be overprinted.



Pick 115a

1000 R


Black type G ovpt on #105b

Pick 115b

1000 R


Black type G ovpt on #105d

Pick 115c

1000 R


Brown type G ovpt on #105d

Note on Pick 115, 1000 Rial.   If you are lucky you can find one of each of Pick 115a and 115b, but do not look for third variety, again it is a color shade and very seldom seen.  


When buying the Provisional banknotes do not expect perfect UNC.  Remember that these banknotes were printed by Thomas de La Rue, sent to Tehran, counted, checked, controlled and moved from vault to vault in the Central Bank for a number of years.   When the Revolution started, hundreds of bundles were placed (maybe in carton boxes) and sent to several local printers for overprinting.   The banknotes were then placed in the printing machines, and overprinted one by one, recounted, and bundled, returned to the Central Bank, recounted again.  Expect some mishandling, slight folds, and sometimes extra ink; XF+ to AU- is as good as UNC.   



Pick 116

5000 R



Note on Pick 116, 5000 Rial.   Be happy if you find a VF or better condition note. The 5,000 Rials were always hard to find in any grade.


ONE LAST NOTE .  Forget the very expensive Provisional banknotes, make sure you have the common ones.  I have been buying and selling Iranian banknotes for many years (started during the Revolution when I was in Tehran in 1979), and have seen constant increase in prices – especially these last few years.   These notes are NOT available in Iran (the main source of supply), almost all dealers have sold their stock, there are no hoards, no per-10s, not even in consecutive pairs, if you find the singles, BUY THEM.  Gold, Silver and Gas prices will fluctuate up and down, but the prices for the Iranian banknotes will ONLY GO UP.



I have squeezed a lot of information on this page; if you find mistakes, please let me know.  I like to hear from collectors and dealers on different variations not listed and how this listing could be improved.


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For additional information, please contact us:

Armen Hovsepian, P. O. Box 15204, Lenexa, KS 66285-5204, U.S.A.

Tel: (913) 631-7909
Life Member: International Bank Note Society