KUWAIT: The fifth edition of Kuwait’s banknotes will be withdrawn today and will no longer be used, while the deadline to exchange them with the sixth edition banknotes will be made by the end of the working hours at the Central bank of Kuwait (CBK) of the same day.
The fifth edition was first introduced into markets on April 3, 1994, with banknotes bearing the sentence ‘in God we trust.’ The six categories of the edition including quarter, half, one dinar, five, ten and twenty dinar bills, all came with unique designs that are hard to be counterfeited. Meanwhile, the sixth edition was introduced into circulation by CBK on June 29, 2014, carrying improved security features and using high quality paper which permits an elegant yet secure design.
Kuwait flag is a main feature of the sixth edition bills, in affirmation of the national identity. Each paper shows the Kuwaiti desert and marine environment, along with historic sites namely Failaka Island, the first minted coin bearing the name of Kuwait and heritage sites such as the old Kuwaiti gate and industrial potentials and zones, including an oil tanker and a refinery.
The bills also bear other features, namely the dhows, the pearl diving, along with landmark structures including Seif Palace, the National Assembly building, Kuwait Towers, the Liberation Tower, the Grand Mosque and the Central Bank of Kuwait headquarters.
On October 10th, 1960, an Amiri Decree was issued declaring that the dinar will be the basic denomination of the Kuwaiti currency, and accordingly, the Kuwaiti Monetary Council was set up, tasked with releasing the national currency. In April of the same year, the Kuwaiti dinar (first edition) was officially put into circulation by 1961.
The first edition, consisting of only five bill categories without the KD 20 bill, was then withdrawn by May 31st 1982, as the second edition, which was issued on November 17, 1970 and the third issued in 1980 came into full circulation. On 27th January 1986, CBK introduced the KD 20 dinar bill and announced that it will come into circulation on February 9, 1986.
Following the 1990 Iraqi Invasion and the occupiers’ burglary of huge funds of the Kuwaiti banknotes deposited at CBK, the legitimate Kuwaiti authorities during the occupation declared the Kuwaiti money in circulation was invalid, replacing the monetary units with the fourth edition of the Kuwaiti bills in 1991.
From a historic perspective, banknotes and coins have been in circulation in Kuwait since more than 200 years B C. This theory has been substantiated with discovery of silver and copper coins, with engravings of head of Alexander the Great, on Failaka island. Other coins dating back to the times of the Seleucids Kingdom have been discovered on the same island.
In later times, namely in 1753, when the Kuwaitis settled in the country and chose Sheikh Sabah I as their ruler, the natives sensed the need for coins for trade dealings. The first was called ‘taweelat Al-Hasa,’ resembling hair clips. It was in circulation in Al-Ihsaa for a long time before Kuwait was founded and later it was brought in for trading till 1790 when the Austrian Riyal became the trading currency.
Several other coins, such as the Persian currency, the Ottoman Gold Lira and other little known ones, named ‘Al-Sharkhi,’ ‘Abu Dbailah’ and ‘Al-Shahiah,’ had been traded in Kuwait in the old times.
When the natives developed their businesses, sailing to far countries such as India, and expanding the craft of pearl-diving, the Indian Rupee became the dominant currency. Kuwaitis were aware of the necessity to issue a national currency of international standards. In 1959, the Indian Government said in an official announcement that it was incurring heavy losses due to exportation of huge volumes of the Indian money to the Arabian Gulf countries. In an attempt to tackle this problem, New Delhi issued a different series of the currency for circulation in Kuwait and the Gulf. This step had nudged the natives of Kuwait to issue a national currency.
The sixth edition of Kuwaiti dinars was granted the International Award for Best Banknote Issue by the International Association of Currency Affairs (IACA), during the Annual Currency Conference held in Vancouver, Canada last May.
The banknotes were awarded due to their unique design which is a mixture between traditional and modern, as well as the security features they bear. IACA also chose the bills because they included special marks to allow the blind to identify each bill. Moreover, the sixth edition was also awarded the Regional Banknote of the Year award of Asia, in the High Security Printing Conference in Manila, the Philippines. – KUNA