Afghanistan has one of the most storied and complex histories on the planet, a history reflected in its coins. In the heart of Asia, and on the intersection of endless historical trade routes linking the coins of the Middle East, Europe, and South and East and Central Asia, Afghanistan has been ruled by countless different conquerors and styles of governments, and there are many eras and types of coins to collect.
The coin history of Afghanistan is difficult to separate from its neighbors, especially Iran. The modern state of Afghanistan was, in the past, part of larger empires, including the Persian Empire and the Guptas and Mughals in India. (See those pages for relevant coins.)
Afghanistan today has only one denomination for its coins: the afghani. Introduced in 1925, the afghani was divided into 100 pul, but this unit was withdrawn when the currency was reformed in 2003 as the “new afghani”.
In its past, Afghanistan, and the kingdoms and states that have included some or all of the land in the modern-day country, have issued coins in a wide variety of denominations besides the afghani, most notably perhaps the rupee. A sampling of the others include shahi, abbasi, qiran, falus, dinar, and paisa. Today, there are special gold bullion coins called amani worth 20 afghanis.
Past empires that included some or all of Afghanistan include the Kidarite Kingdom, which originally rose from the northern areas of modern Afghanistan; the Hephthalites, based in Tokharistan in the Hindu Kush area of Afghanistan; and the Ghaznavid Dynasty , which began in Ghazna (modern-day Ghazni Province) — to name just a few of many. Some of these empires used silver coins, some gold, and some both — as well as copper and other metals.
Modern names of Afghanistan
The modern history of Afghanistan has been as convoluted as its ancient and medieval past. It was a Kingdom from 1919 until 1973, when it became a Republic; this in turn became a Democratic Republic in 1978. In 1992 Afghanistan changed to an Islamic State, and from 2001 has been an Islamic Republic. Throughout the twentieth century after 1925, the afghani was retained and Afghanistan’s coins were often redesigned to reflect the new political realities.
A variety of Afghanistan-related coins are available at any given time in the coin collectors’ marketplace today. Whether you like ancient or modern Afghan coins, check the current selection. For related coins and information from surrounding countries, see the Iran, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, India, China, and Tajikistan sections.
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AFGHANISTAN Amanullah 1304/7 (1925) AV 1/2 Amani 5 Rupees NGC MS65 3gm KM 911
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