Thursday 20 June 2019 (UAE)

Currency in Dubai, UAE

Currency used in UAE and Dubai is the United Arab Emirates dirham (AED)

The UAE dirham is pegged to the US dollar with the rate fixed at (approximately) Dh3.67 = US$1.00 (or 1 UAE dirham = 0.273 US dollars).

Money Changers in the UAE

List of banknotes and coins used in Dubai and the UAE

Banknotes in the UAE
Amount Color Picture front Picture back Size mm1 Circulation5 Comments
5 dirhams brown Sharjah Central Souk Landscape 145x612    
10 dirhams green Arabian dagger (Jambiya) Farm 147x62    
20 dirhams turquoise Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club Dhow (Samaa, Sama'a) 149x63    
50 dirhams purple Al Jahili Fort in Al Ain Oryx 151x64    
100 dirhams red Al Fahidi Fort in Dubai Dubai World Trade Center 155x66    
200 dirhams3 orange Sharia Court and Zayed Sports City UAE Central Bank HQ 157x67   older notes are brown
500 dirhams blue Jumeirah Mosque Falcon 159x68    
1000 dirhams brown Al Hosn Palace in Abu Dhabi Abu Dhabi corniche towers 163x70   darker brown than 5 dhs
Coins in the UAE
1 fil5         3.5m very rarely seen
5 fils         40m rarely seen
10 fils         50m rarely seen
25 fils         260m common
50 fils (small)4         365m common
1 dh (small)4       ~50 fils (old)4   common
50 fils (large)4       ~1 dh (new)4   uncommon
1 dh (large)4           uncommon
[?] 5 dh           rare, first issued 1975
Commemorative coins in the UAE
1 dh            
5 dh            
25 dh 20g silver          
50 dh 40g silver          
100 dh 60g silver6         9x issed 1999-2018
500 dh7 20g gold         6x issued 1976-2003
1000 dh7 40g gold         16x issued 1976-2013
1500 dh7 60g gold         4x issued 2004-2012
5000 dh7 200g gold         2x issued in 1996.
250,000 dh8           No, was incorrect headline

Notes

  1. Banknotes are of increasing size as the value increases.
  2. Size given as 157mm x 67mm by UAE Central Bank but that appears to be an error, the 5 dh note is smaller than the 200 dh note. Our estimate is 145mm x 61mm (not confirmed).
  3. The 200 dh bank note was updated in May 2008 to reduce confusion with the 5 dh and 1000 dh banknotes.
  4. From 1995 new 50 fil and 1 dirham coins were issued, smaller than the older coins. The new 50 fil coin has a heptagonal shape (7 sides not 6). The new 1 dh coin is similar in size to the old 50 fil coin, and the two coins are easily confused if not looking at them. If you get a 50 fil coin instead of a 1 dh coin as change in a shop, don't be too quick to accuse them of trying to scam you. It is much more likely to be a mistake. We've had it go both ways, getting 1 dh instead of 50 fils or vice-versa.
  5. Some sources say the 1 fil coin was withdrawn from circulation in 2005. We didn't find any official reference to confirm that, but did find reports from 30 Jan 2018 which said there were 3.4 million one-fil coins in circulation. Reports referred to a FNC session where the topic of a shortage of low-value coins was discussed. Obaid bin Humaid Al Tayer, Minister of State for Financial Affairs, gave the numbers of coins in circulation as of 25 Jan 2018 as follows (Reference: GN, KT, TN)
    • 1 fil coins: 3.4 million, value AED 34,000
    • 5 fil coins: 42.4 million, value AED 2.12 million.
    • 10 fil coins: 48.7 million, value AED 4.87 million.
    • 25 fil coins: 262 million, value AED 65.5 million.
    • 50 fil coins: 363.8 million, value AED 181.9 million.
  6. The AED 100 silver commemorative coins are all 59 or 60g of silver except for the 40g 1999 issue commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Dubai Ports and Customs Department.
  7. Commemorative coins in table listed with a face value AED 500 or greater are not issued with the face value showing on the coin, so the values given in the table are based on:
    • Coins issued prior to 1996 with a face value of AED 500 or AED 1000 do have the face value written on them. Higher value, or weight coins were not issued before 1996.
    • Those coins have weights of 20g and 40g of gold respectively.
    • Face values for coins without the amount shown are calculated on the basis of AED 500 for each 20g of gold weight.
    • Silver coins all show the face value.
  8. See heading "Commemorative Dirham not worth AED250,000, Sep 2018" below.
Commemorative Dirham not worth AED250,000, Sep 2018

Numismatic eyebrows were raised somewhat when reading UAE newspaper headlines on 17 Sep 2018, for example:

AED 250k is an unlikely amount for a single coin face value, anywhere, even if the UAE was trying to get a headline for Most Expensive Coin in the World. It's even more unlikely for a coin that weights only 6g, is made of copper-nickel, and commemorates a school. Not to cast aspersions on the value of education, but to put things in perspective, the 200g gold coin celebrating the 25th anniversary of the founding of the UAE is considered to have a face value equivalent to AED 5,000. Difficult to think of something that would be 50x more significant than the 25th anniversary of the UAE. Perhaps the 1000th anniversary of the UAE, or the completion of the first terraformed Dubai suburb on planet Mars - Dubai Mars City?

Explanation is found in the original press release from WAM (16 Sep 2018) which said a partnership between the UAE MOE and the UAE Central Bank "... resulted in a joint initiative to issue the AED250,000 Emirati School Commemorative Dirham." Presumably they meant 250,000 coins would be issued. The photos of the coins show the denomination is AED 1. An earlier press release also explained the coin commemorates the "UAE New Education System Emirati School", rather than just a single school.

UAE currency history

Note that 1 UAE dirham is ~ 100 Qatari dirhams, or 1 UAE fil = 1 Qatari dirham. The Qatari riyal is split into 100 Qatari dirhams.

UAE currency museum

UAE currency updates

GCC Common Currency and Monetary Union

[Update] UAE commemorative coins and other special issues

Since 1976, the UAE Central Bank has issued commemorative coins on a regular basis, annually from 1998. In 1976 two coins were issued in denominations of 500 dhs and 1000 dhs, made of gold. You probably won't get one as change from your shopping trip to Carrefour. In subsequent years a range of denominations have been issued, including 1 dh, 5 dhs, 10 dh, 50 dh, and 100 dhs coins. Materials include copper-nickel alloy, silver, and gold.

Last update Wednesday 24-Apr-2019
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