Riyal ferengi

Some bedouin silver. Says the vendor: with new jewelry, the quality is poor but the condition is good; with old jewelry the quality is good but the condition is poor.


This is the riyal ferengi or “foreign riyal”, a form of silver bullion called the Maria Theresa taler, once used all over the Middle East.

The exact weight and silver content of the taler was spelled out in an edict issued by Maria Theresia July 30, 1748, and again in a coinage convention treaty between Maria Theresia and the Dutch of Bavaria signed on September 21, 1753, which enabled the coin to be used as an official trade coinage.

The Latin inscription says M. THERESIA D. G. R. IMP. HU. BO. REG. an abbreviation for Maria Theresia, Dei Gratia Romanorum Imperatrix, Hungariae Bohemiaeque Regina, or “Maria Theresa, by the grace of God, Empress of the Romans, Queen of Hungary and Bohemia. The reverse says ARCHID. AVST. DUX BURG. CO. TYR. 1780 X, an abbreviation for Archidux Austriae, Dux Burgundiae, Comes Tyrolis. 1780 X or “Archduchess of Austria, Duchess of Burgundy, Countess of Tyrol. 1780”. The X is a saltire added in 1750 to symbolize Maria Theresa’s rule over the Austrian Netherlands; the various styles of this symbol can be used to date the coins. [Image credit, right, Wikipedia.]

The thaler contains 23.3890 grams (0.752 troy ounces) of fine silver. It has a millesimal fineness of .833. At today’s price of silver at $48.6 per ounce, the coin today should be worth $36.50 or 137 SAR . I was going to put it on a key chain next to my flash drive, but perhaps not.

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