Going back from the Ancient Egyptians through today, the area now known as Egypt has seen quite a few forms of currency. The most recent of these forms of currency—and the one that is currently being used today—is the Egyptian pound. Read on to get a brief overview of the Egyptian pound’s history and how it functions as a form of currency today.
A Brief History
The Egyptian pound was first issued in the 1830s following an 1834 Khedival decree for issuing Egyptian currency on a bimetallic base (in this case, gold and silver). This new Egyptian pound, known as the geneih to Egyptians, replaced the Egyptian piastre (ersh) and the main form of currency and made it so that the piastre’s new official value was 1/100 of one Egyptian pound. Meanwhile, the piastre had been divided into 40 para but was soon redivided into tenths called milliemes, making milliemes 1/1000 of one Egyptian pound.
From 1885 through 1914, the value of the Egyptian pound was fixed by the gold standard, making 1 EGP equal to 7.4375 grams of gold. Then at the outbreak of World War I, the Egyptian pound’s value was linked to the British pound, with 0.975 EGP equaling 1 GB. This continued until 1962 when the Egyptian pound was pegged to the US dollar, with 1 EGP equaling 2.3 USD—a value that fluctuated slightly in both directions over the next couple of decades. The Egyptian pound floated in 1989, being closely monitored by the Central Bank of Egypt.
As a Form of Currency Today
Current Egyptian pound banknotes are bilingual and contain both Arabic and English writing, with denominations running in £5, £10, £20, £50, £100, and £200 pound notes. The banknotes mostly feature various Islamic buildings on the obverse and different images representative of the Ancient Egyptians on the reverse. As for coins, they mostly feature pharoahs and Islamic buildings and come in values of 5, 10, 20, 25, 50 piastres (1 piastre = 1/100 EGP), and 1 pound.
The value of the Egyptian pound as depreciated greatly over the paste couple of decades, and in February of this year, U.S. New & World Report reported that the value of the Egyptian pound was at an all-time low, with 7.53 EGP equaling 1 USD.
The Egyptian pound’s ISO 4217 code is EGP, and its local abbreviation is LE, which is actually a French abbreviation for livre égyptienne (Egyptian pound). E£ and £E are commonly seen abbreviations for the Egyptian pound online.