North Yemeni rial

North Yemeni rial
North Yemeni rial
ريال يمني (Arabic)
ISO 4217 code YER
User(s) Yemen Arab Republic
1/100 fils
Coins 1, 5, 10, 25, 50 fils, 1 rial
Banknotes 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 rial
Central bank Central Bank of Yemen
This infobox shows the latest status before this currency was rendered obsolete.

The rial or riyal was the currency of North Yemen, first the Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen, then the Yemen Arab Republic.



The Mutawakkilite Kingdom began issuing coins around the turn of the 20th century. The rial was divided into 160 zalat, 80 halala or 40 buqsha. During the reign of Imam Yahya, the first rial coins were issued. Denominations were given on coins as a fraction of the rial, with the "honorific" Imadi appearing on the coins of Imam Yahya and Ahmadi on the coins of Imam Ahmad. Consequently, the currency is sometimes referred to as the "Imadi riyal" or "Ahmadi rial".

A modern style coinage was introduced into circulation in 1963, following the establishment of the Yemen Arab Republic. The country was one of the last to adopt a decimal currency system. In 1974 the rial was divided into 100 fils, although inflation has caused the fils denominations to disappear from circulation.

After the unification of Yemen, the Yemeni rial replaced the North Yemeni rial at par.


In the reign of Imam Yahya (1904-1948), bronze coins were issued for 1 zalat, 1 halala and 1 buqsha, together with silver 1 buqsha, 120, 110, ⅛, ¼ and 1 rial. In the reign of his successor, Imam Ahmad (1948-1962), the silver 1 buqsha and 120 rial were not continued but 116 and ½ rial were introduced. Unusually, the 116 and ⅛ rial coins were pentagonal.

Gold coins denominated in guineas were also minted, primarily for presentation purposes.

In 1962, the Arab Republic first issued bronze ½ and 1 buqsha, 120, 110, 210 and ¼ rial in a similar style to those of the last king. These were followed in 1963 by a new coinage, consisting of aluminium-bronze ½, 1, and 2 buqsha and silver 5, 10 and 20 buqsha and 1 rial.

In 1974, the new decimal coinage was introduced consisting of aluminium 1 fils, brass 5 and 10 fils, and cupro-nickel 25 and 50 fils. Cupro-nickel 1 rial followed in 1976.


In 1964, the government introduced North Yemen's first paper money, 1 and 5 rial notes. These were followed by 10 and 20 buqsha in 1966, 10 rial in 1967 and 20 and 50 rial in 1971. In 1973, the Central Bank of Yemen took over the issuance of paper money, introducing notes for 1, 5, 10, 20 and 50 rial. 100 rial notes were introduced in 1975.


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