United Nations Emergency Force Scrip

Scrip paper worth 5 Piastres labelled “MIDDLE EAST,” “U.N.E.F.”, “NOT GOOD IF DETACHED”, and “108830”.

A rare note, or emergency scrip, was used during the 1956 Suez Crisis by the United Nations Emergency Force. It was likely used by British and French soldiers to trade at camp stores and recreation facilities in the Sinai Peninsula.

A booklet of these scrips was sold at a Spink auction in 2013. That catalog said the tickets were printed by the Globe ticket company in Philadelphia.

Spink wrote, “a most unusual item, presumably for use in the NAAFI or similar by French and British forces during the Suez crisis.”

I had to look up “NAAFI” and found that it stood for the “Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes”. This company was created by the British government to run recreational facilities for the British Armed Forces and its bases around the world.

Suez Canal Nearly Complete / Woodblock / April 3, 1869

This woodblock engraving from April 3, 1869, shows the Suez Canal nearing completion. I am interested in the history of the canal and the people who built it. I have a few tokens used by workers at the company store.

The Illustrated London News, April 3, 1869

Laborers are shown removing rock in a section of the canal. The canal, 164 kilometers long and 8 meters deep, was an enormous engineering challenge. The waterway passed through mostly sand and low lying lakes and rivers connecting the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea,

The canal took 10 years to build. Ferdinand de Lesseps formed the Suez Canal Company to finance and build the canal. The company completed it in November 1869, seven months after this newspaper was printed.

A construction company called Ch. & A. Bazin issued this French Franc token in 1865. It can be found in denominations of 5 Francs, 1 Franc, 50 Centimes, and 20 Centimes.

Egypt on July 26, 1956

On July 26, 1956, Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal. It had been owned by France and Britain until then.

That same year, Egypt issued a new 25 Qirsh coin to mark the occasion. It’s a large coin, 35 mm, and made of 72% silver. There were 258,000 minted.

The obverse shows the front facade of the Suez Canal Company building in Port Said.

The reverse shows the denomination in the center (٢٥) “25” and the word Qirsh (قرشا) below it. The dates of 1956-1375 (١٣٧٥-١٩٥٦) are below that. The winged sun design is featured at the bottom.

Borel Lavalley Suez Canal Token

This rare token was issued by Borel, Lavalley, and Company, an engineering firm and contractor to the Suez Canal Company. Frenchman Ferdinand de Lesseps and his Suez Canal Company built the canal between 1859 and 1869.

Paul Borel and Alexandre Lavalley formed their company in December 1863. Graduates of a polytechnic school, both worked in the railway industry before joining the canal project. An estimated 74 million cubic meters of material was excavated for the main canal, and Borel and Lavalley handled more than 75 percent of it. (Karabell, 2004, p. 208-210.)

The company issued trade tokens, presumably for workers to buy provisions at the company store. Tokens are good for 20 cents, 50 cents, 1 Franc, or 5 Francs. The 5 Franc pieces are the most rare.

Shown here is a 50 cent piece. The obverse depicts a ship in the center, surrounded by beads and an inscription:


The reverse shows the denomination, a circle of beads, and an inscription:


Reference: Karabell, Z. (2003). Parting the Desert: The Creation of the Suez Canal. Knopf.

Egypt Bond, or Receipt, for Palestine War

I believe this is an Egyptian bond from the 1940s, or donation receipt, for people to support the war in Palestine. I bought this one off eBay. The note’s denomination is 10 pounds.

I’m interested in learning if these notes were bonds that got paid back or if they were donation receipts. I’ve read descriptions online stating both.

The bonds come in denominations of 50 Pounds, 10 Pounds, 5 Pounds, 100 Piasters, and 50 Piasters.

Suez Canal Cooperative Society Tokens from 1892

This is a 1 Franc token from the Suez Canal Cooperative Society in Egypt. It was issued in 1892 and is made of aluminum.

The canal was completed decades before 1892. These pieces must have been used by co-op workers at the operating canal.

There are two other token sets that circulated during the 10-year construction of the canal (1859 to 1869). Those tokens are dated 1865. One set is from “Ch. & A. Bazin” and the other from “Borel Lavalley and Co.”