In Ancient Egyptian Currency, gold coins remained the medium of exchange until 1898 when the National Bank of Egypt was established and was granted, by the government, the privilege to issue Egyptian bank notes, payable in gold for a period of 50 years. The National Bank of Egypt started issuing banknotes for the first time on the 3rd of April 1899.
Consequently, the Currency circulated in Egypt consisted of gold Sterling pounds and Egyptian banknotes convertible into gold. This situation continued up to 2/8/1914 when a special Decree was issued making Egyptian bank notes a legal tender and suspending their convertibility into gold.
In Egyptian Currency ‘monetary system’
Thus, the Egyptian pound banknote became the basic Currency unit, and the base of the Egyptian monetary system was changed to fiduciary paper money standard. Accordingly, gold coins were no longer used in circulation, with the result that the volume of note issue increased from LE 11.6 million at the end of 1915 to LE 3557.0 million at the end of 1980, and further to LE 38320.0 million at the end of 1999. In 1930, for the first time in the history of Egyptian banknotes, a watermark was used in issued bank notes.
Central Bank of Egypt
This was followed, towards the end of 1968, by using a metallic thread (in notes issued by the Central Bank of Egypt) as a guarantee against counterfeit instead of dependence on the complexity of colors. Other features against counterfeit were found in the detailed specifications of each currency. Holograms are currently added to large denomination notes.
On the 19th of July 1960, Law No.250 was promulgated. It was amended in November of the same year by Law No.277 with respect to the Central Bank of Egypt and the National Bank of Egypt. The Law provided for the establishment of the Central Bank of Egypt conferring upon the CBE the right of issuing Egyptian banknotes. Several changes were introduced with respect to the watermark, the designs shown on the notes and the colors.
The efforts of the Central Bank of Egypt in the field of note issue culminated in the establishment of a printing plant for bank notes instead of printing them abroad. The plant’s production of banknotes in different denominations started in December 1968. The Bank also served some Arab central banks in printing their banknotes.
In view of the increasing need of banknotes to facilitate transactions resulting from the growth of economic activity, following the introduction of the open-door policy, the Central Bank of Egypt issued notes of large denominations (20,50,100). It launched the denomination of 20 pounds in May 1977 and 100 pounds in May 1979 and 50 pounds in March 1993.