Iraq And The Sun Of Hammurabi: 1 Fils (Iraq, 1959)-Article

Updated: Nov 27, 2021

This strange Iraqi coin represents the 1st denomination coin of the Iraqi Dinar (1958). The coin was issued by the Republic of Iraq, colloquially known as the First Iraqi Republic. Which was created after the 14 July Revolution (1958), resulting in the overthrow of the Iraqi Hashemite King Faisal II (1935-1958). The First Iraqi Republic was overthrown in the 17 July Revolution (1968), establishing Ba'athist Iraq (1968-2003). Best known for it's leadership under President Saddam Hussein, from 1979-2003.

The coin is an usual decagonal (10-sided) made of bronze and weighs 2.5g. Its dimensions are 19 mm (0.748 in) wide and 1.52 mm (0.069 in) thick. Making it roughly similar in size to a US Penny (19.05/0.750 in), in that respect. Additionally it shares the same weight with the post-1982 US Penny, 2.5g. Although this random coincidence is entirely incidental. Its 1 Fils value was an equivalent to 0.01 Iraqi Dinar.


The observe features Arabic script and eastern Arab numerals. The upper text reads, the "Republic of Iraq" (الجمهورية العراقية). This is followed by a center section divided by a small ridge. It contains the coin's value, it reads 1 Fils (١ فلس). Notably Arabic script is read right to left, something often overlooked by beginning collectors.

Wreathed under the center rim is a double date, eastern Arab numerals. It reads "1959 -1379" (١٣٧٩-١٩٥٩), minted in both Common Era and Lunar Hijri dates, respectively. Below the dates are a crossed pair of olive branches, representing peace. Notably both sides of the coin's outer rim are raised and squared.


The reverse feature a wheat spike inside a modified Sun of Hammurabi, the Iraqi national symbol from 1959-1965. This symbol was chosen by the government of Prime Minister Abd al-Karim Qasim (1914-1963). With an intent of displaying a uniquely Iraqi symbol, avoiding traditional Pan-Arabism symbolism. While still discreetly utilizing some socialist elements.

These symbols are located at the sun's center. The wheat spike at the center representing the agricultural workers. The wheat is surrounded by an outline of a 8-spoked "cog", representing the industrial worker. This cog can be easily overlooked, when first observing the coin. Being a small reversed-relief element, rather than stand alone item.

Above and below the "cog", is additional Arabic text. The upper text reads "Republic of Iraq" (الجمهورية العراقية), while the lower reads "14 July 1958" (١٤١٩٥٨ تموز). The lower date referring to the 14 July Revolution, which created the First Iraqi Republic. Besides this date are the handles of 2 swords. The left-side sword represents the Arabs, while the right-side represents the Kurds.

Sun of Hammurabi

Size Comparison

A 1 Fils with US Penny for scale.
A 1 Fils with US Penny for scale.

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