While Shah's banknotes were being obliterated and placed into circulation (See Provisional Overprints), the Central Bank places an immediate order with Thomas de La Rue of England to print new banknotes.   There was no time to create new Islamic designs, and therefore Shah's banknotes were slightly modified.   The Imam Reza Mosque replaced the bust, and a black circular overprint reading Islamic Republic of Iran was applied on the left side to conceal the watermark.

Except for these changes, the color, size, overall design, borders, and bank name was untouched.   This is known as The Mosque Issue .   Later on, in mid 1981, true and totally redesigned Islamic banknotes were placed into circulation with Bani-Sadr's signature as the Minister of Finance.   Later on Bani-Sadr became the first Prime Minister.  

Therefore, in a period of less than two years, the Iranian banknotes have gone through several stages of,   Revolutionary XX overprints,   Three types of Provisional Overprints,   Partially re-designed Mosque issue,  and Bani-Sadr's Signature issue (Pick 132-134), all these even before Bani-Sadr was appointed as the first Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The Mosque Issue (1980-1981)

NOTE: All the banknotes listed and priced on this and following pages are for perfect Uncirculated condition. For banknotes in lesser grades please contact us.  Banknotes with no price are not available.

Catalog #

Denomination

Price

Description

Pick #127

200 R

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UNC, standard overprint on the wmk.

Note on Pick 127, 200 Rial.  In the latest edition of Pick, two variations of this denomination is listed, Pick 127a wmk: Shah portrait, Pick 127b wmk: Lion and Sun.   There is no need to list these two variations, as it is not possible to see the watermark, which is under the blue Calligraphic design.   In any case here is the story behind the two watermarks:

 

1981.         In the confusion of the Revolution, with the moderate right wing parties trying to hold on power while being challenged by the clergy movement, the Central Bank decides to replace Shah’s watermark with that of a “Lion and Sun” which is one step away from Royalty but still symbolizes the Iranian Nationalistic movement.    Order is placed with Thomas de La Rue to cover Shah’s watermark with a “Lion and Sun” seal.    The order has hardly reached the printer when there is another request, to remove Shah’s portrait and replacing it with the Imam Reza Mosque, and cover the “Lion and Sun” seal with a black “Islamic Republic” seal.  This is even before Bani Sadr became Minister of Finance with his signature on Pick 132-134.    All this is happening in the summer of 1981.

 

The banknotes are printed and are sent to Iran (Pick 127-131). By this time the Islamic movement is getting stronger and the moderates have lost power in the Central Bank.  It is also noticed that the banknotes just rcvd from Thomas de La Rue are in different formats.  Some have Shah’s Watermark, others “Lion and Sun”, some have a yellow “Lion and Sun” overprint on the watermark (which could be Shah or Lion and Sun), and still two of the denominations (200 and 5000 Rial) have “Islamic Republic” seal. 

 

To “Cover Up” everything, that is: “Shah’s watermark”, “Lion and Sun watermark”, “Yellow Lion and Sun” overprint on the watermark, order is given to use the local print shops and overprint the watermark area with a circular black seal reading “Islamic Republic of Iran”.  Since Thomas de La Rue had already applied the Islamic Republic seal on the 200 and 5000 Rials, only the other 3 denominations are overprinted locally, creating some interesting errors.

 

On the 200 and 5000 Rial it is difficult to see the underneath watermark, and weather it is the “Shah’s” portrait or the new “Lion and Sun” watermark, but on the other three denominations where overprint was applied in Tehran, especially the 10,000 Rial, it is possible to guess the watermark, and conclude if a yellow “Lion and Sun” overprint was applied on the watermark area before the black circular seal was printed.

 

In Short:  these are all variations of the basic 6 values of the First Issue of Islamic Republic and only the advanced collectors specializing in Iran will be interested in collecting and comparing.    In due course I will display images for all these variations.

 

 

Pick #128

500 R

See End **

UNC, black circular ovpt. on front and back.

Pick #128

500 R

 

UNC, Replacement with prefix 98/9

Pick #128

500 R

 

UNC, error, olive circular overprint on front.  Listed for your viewing

Pick #128

500 R

 

UNC, error, brown circular overprint on front.  Listed for your viewing

 

Pick #129

1,000 R

 

UNC, black circular ovpt.

Pick #129

1,000 R

 

UNC, error, brown overprint on front   Listed for your viewing

 

Pick #130a

5,000 R

 

UNC, With security thread

Pick #130b

5,000 R

 

UNC, Without security thread.

Note on Pick 130, 5000 Rial.  All the printings of this denomination up to prefix 70, have the security thread.  The last 5 prefixes, from prefix 71-75, do not have the security thread.  At the time these were declared unofficial by the Central Bank, but it is just possible that the printers ran out of security paper and printed the last run on NO security thread paper.   P-130b has always been scarce and hard to find.  For P-130a Pick price has changed from $60.00 to $80.00 (which I believe is too much), and for P-130b from $150.00 to $100.00.  

 

Pick #131

10,000 R

See End **

UNC, standard black circular ovpt. on front and back.

This black seal covers the Lion and Sun overprint which was applied on the WMK prior to this black seal.  No reason why Pick has “a” for this note.

Pick #131

10,000 R

 

UNC, Without the under print (the Lion and Sun overprint over the wmk is missing in this note)

Pick #131

10,000 R

 

UNC, error, missing circular ovpt. on the front.  Listed for your viewing

Pick #131

10,000 R

 

UNC, error, Oval Shape black ovpt on the front.  Listed for your viewing

Note on Pick 131, 10000 Rial.  There is one standard 10,000 Rial, and that is with black overprint on front and back covering the watermark. However, if you like to get into variations, then you have many choices, but prices may range from $50.00 and up.  These are Oval shape black overprint rather than the standard circular.  With or without Lion under the standard circular overprint.  Missing overprints (front or back), partial overprints, moved, and double.    While in Iran I remember that the general public would NOT accept such variations, like missing overprints, now if you find such an error, be prepared to pay over $100 for each.  Pick has increase the price from $80 to $150.00, and in the new issue to $200,  which is too high compared to my $30.00 selling price, however, the error notes deserve higher premium.

 

A Final Note on this issue:

       With the 200 and 5,000 Rials banknotes, the circular calligraphic seal on the watermark was printed at the same time as the banknote, and therefore no errors exist (No color shades, No displacements). With the other three denominations of 500, 1,000 and 10,000 Rials, the overprints were applied locally in Tehran, and therefore a variety of errors were created mostly unintentionally due to the lack of time, security, and quality control.

      These errors are basically different shades of colors, smudged or lack of ink, omitted, moved or partially applied overprints either on the front, back or both sides of a banknote. Such errors commend a premium in price. The picture in Pick catalog for 10,000 Rial shows an error banknote with the front black circular seal missing (and exposing the Lion and Sun overprint which was applied by the printer on the wmk), while the other denominations show the actual banknotes with regular overprints. The 500 and 1,000 Rial errors are far scarcer than the 10,000 Rial errors.

 


See End **

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