The State of Qatar is a country in the Qatar Peninsula on the northeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It shares a land border with Saudi Arabia to the south while the rest of the country is surrounded by the Persian Gulf. The Gulf of Bahrain separates Qatar from Bahrain.

Aerial View of Qatar
Source: Unsplash

Qatar uses the Qatari riyal/rial (sign: QR, currency code: QAR). Prior to the riyal, Qatar used the Gulf rupee as its currency. When India devalued the rupee in 1966, Qatar and other states that used the Gulf rupee chose to introduce its own currency. Qatar briefly adopted the Saudi riyal, then introduced the Qatar and Dubai riyal in March 1966 after signing the Qatar-Dubai Currency Agreement. The Qatar and Dubai riyal was equal to the Gulf rupee.

1 Gulf Rupee | 1957 |
Source: Wikipedia


The Qatar Monetary Agency (QMA) was established by decree 7 of 1973. On May 9, 1973, Qatar and Dubai terminated their Currency Agreement and the agency started issuing the Qatari riyal ten days later.

The first series of Qatari riyal notes were printed by Bradbury, Wilkinson, and Company. They featured the Qatari coat of arms and different landmarks and had six-digit serial numbers, solid security threads, and falcon head watermarks.

Qatari 5 Riyals | 1960 | P-2 |
Source: Banknote World Educational

Meanwhile, the second series of notes were printed by De La Rue. They featured new designs including an updated coat of arms and security threads with printed QATARI MONETARY AGENCY.

A modified 1 riyal note was issued in 1985 due to the confusion between the 1-riyal and 100-riyal notes. This 1 riyal note featured the updated coat of arms in front and the Mosque of the Sheikhs, the Foreign Ministry building, and Emiri Palace at the back. Security features of the note included a solid security thread with printed QATAR MONETARY AGENCY and a variety of falcon head watermarks.

Qatar Central Bank

The Qatar Central Bank (QCB) was established by decree 15 on August 15, 1993. All the coins and notes issued by the Qatar Monetary Agency became property of the bank, but these also continued to circulate until 2006. The Central Bank is now the sole issuer of Qatari riyal banknotes.

Qatari 1 Riyal | 1996 | P-14b |
Source: Banknote World Educational

The newly-established Qatar Central Bank issued a new series of banknotes that featured the name of the new issuer, added another signature, and slightly changed the designs of the 1981 notes to accommodate the added signature. The riyal is pegged to the US dollar at a rate of one US dollar to 3.64 Qatari riyal. The peg became official in 2001.

In 2003, a new series of notes are put into circulation. Animals were added to the reverse designs. Added security features, like windowed security threads and electrotype watermarks were also incorporated into the 2003 series.

Four years later, the Central Bank updated the security features of the 100 and 500 riyal notes with Optiks. Optiks are 18-mm wide security threads with polymer oval apertures. The Optiks replaced the windowed security threads. Some details in these notes were shifted to accommodate the Optiks thread.

The 100 riyal note was introduced by the Central Bank of Qatar in 2007. It has green and purple colors and dimensions of 158 mm x 72mm. Its obverse side contains Arabic text, a holographic patch, and the Qatari coat of arms. Its reverse side features the Mosque of the Sheikhs with a minaret and the Shaqab Institute building. Security features of the note include a solid security thread, an Optiks security thread, and a watermark of a falcon head with electrotype Arabic number over 100 and Cornerstones.

Qatari 100 Riyals | 2007 | P-26b |
Source: Banknote World Educational

On September 15, 2008, the Qatar Central Bank issued a new series of four new notes- the 1 riyal, the 5 riyal, the 10 riyal, and the 50 riyal notes. Larger denominations are in the works, but because the 100 and 500 riyal notes were updated a year prior, the bank did not need to update them.

The 2008 1 riyal note was introduced by the Central Bank of Qatar in 2008. It has blue, brown, and purple colors and dimensions of 134 mm x 66 mm. Its obverse side features the Qatari coat of arms with a dhow, palm trees, and crossed swords. Its reverse side features three native birds: the crested lark, the Eurasian bee eater, and the lesser sand plover. Security features of the note include a solid security thread and a windowed security thread with demetalized QCB 1. The watermarks of the note are a falcon head and an electrotype 1 and Arabic number.

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