German Qaran and Toman
German banknotes in the occupied Persia during World War I
Saturday 12 August 2006, by
In 1916 — during WWI — a small German military unit, together with Turkish forces, occupied a small region in Persia. The goal of that mission was to prevent a united front of Russian and English troops in the Middle-East against the German-Austrian coalition. The German and Turkish troops held up in Persia until 1918. During their occupation German bills with a Persian overprint were issued in the area.
- Wilhelm Wassmuss
- The German “Lawrence of Arabia”.
The German “Lawrence of Arabia” was a consular official named Wilhelm Wassmuss. In the first days of February 1915, Wassmuss and a few followers sailed a small boat named the Pioneer down the Tigris River to a point some 40 miles below Kut al Amara, a town about 100 miles (160 km) southeast of Baghdad. From there the party moved eastward into Persia (Iran) where Wassmuss began work on a grandiose mission, something the empire-builders in Germany’s Foreign Office had dreamed about for years, the ending of Anglo-Russian domination in the Middle East. Wassmuss would achieve this by first bringing Persia into the war on the German-Turkish side by organizing revolts among the Persian desert tribes and then manipulating Afghanistan and eventually all the region.
The German and Turkish troops held up in Persia until 1918. During their occupation German bills with a Persian overprint were issued in the area. The overprinted bills are denominated in Qaran and Toman: 12 Qaran, 25 Qaran, 5 Toman, 25 Toman, 250 Toman. The latter 2 notes are only known as specimens.
These bills are very rare and due to their high value have attracted falsification.
Click on the following images to enlarge them:
There were also the following banknotes:
100 Mark / 25 Toman — The overprinted regular German 100 Mark banknote is dated from 21 April 1910 (specimen only).
1000 Mark / 250 Toman — The overprinted regular German 1000 Mark banknote is dated from 21 April 1910 (specimen only).