Old Israeli shekel

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Old Israeli shekel
שקל (Hebrew)
شيقل (Arabic)
Israel 1000 Sheqalim 1983 Obverse & Reverse.jpg
IS1000 banknote (obverse and reverse) issued in 1983
ISO 4217
 1/100new agora
new agoranew agorot
SymbolOld Sheqel sign.svg or IS
BanknotesIS1, IS5, IS10, IS50, IS100, IS500, IS1000, IS5000, IS10,000
Coins1, 5, 10 new agorot, IS½, IS1, IS5, IS10, IS50, IS100
User(s) Israel (1980-1985)
Central bankBank of Israel
Inflation1000% (1984)
This infobox shows the latest status before this currency was rendered obsolete.

The old Israeli shekel, then known as the shekel (Hebrew: שקל‎, formally sheqel, pl. שקלים, Sheqalim; Arabic: شيقل‎, šīqal) was the currency of the State of Israel between 24 February 1980 and 31 December 1985. It was replaced by the Israeli new shekel at a ratio of 1000:1 on 1 January 1986. The old shekel was short-lived due to its hyperinflation. The old shekel was subdivided into 100 new agorot (אגורות חדשות). The shekel sign was Old Sheqel sign.svg although it was more commonly denominated as S or IS.

The Israeli old shekel replaced the Israeli pound, which had been used until 24 February 1980, at the rate of 1 shekel to 10 pounds.


Development of a new currency to be known as the Shekel (properly, Sheqel) was approved by the Israeli Knesset on 4 June 1969. The governors of the Bank of Israel did not consider the time ripe until November 1977, when studies for its implementation began. Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Minister of Finance Simcha Erlich approved a proposal to redenominate the Israeli pound in May 1978; the proposal called for the currency to be exactly similar except for the removal of a zero from the inflated pound and agorot denominations.[1]

The Shekel and New Agora were declared legal tender on 22 February 1980 and went into circulation two days later. Initial denominations were IS 1, 5, 10, and 50, but over the next five years inflation led to another five: IS 100, 500, 1000, 5000, and 10 000.[1] New coin and bill designs were selected through competitions among graphic designers.[2] Beginning with the IS 500 issue, the size of the notes was standardized (76 mm × 138 mm or 3 in × 5 in) and the denominations differentiated by color and design. A transparent part was added to discourage counterfeiting and elements for the blind were added.[1] The New Israeli Shekel replaced the shekel following its hyperinflation and the enactment of the economic stabilization plan of 1985 which brought inflation under control. It became the currency of Israel on 4 September 1985, removing three zeros from the old notes.[3]

The old Shekel is no longer in circulation, has been demonetized, and is not exchangeable to current legal tender by the Bank of Israel.


The initial series of coins in 1980 were for the denominations of 1, 5, and 10 New Agorot and IS ½. These preserved the appearance of the similar coins under the pound but were worth 10 times as much. The initial run were struck at foreign mints in order to preserve the secrecy of the coming currency conversion. IS 1 coins were introduced in 1981; IS 5 and 10 coins in 1982; and IS 50 and 100 coins in 1984.[2]

The 1 and 5 New Agorot coins were aluminum; the 10 New Agorot and IS ½, 1, and 100 coins cupronickel; the IS 5 and 50 coins an alloy of copper, aluminum, and nickel; and the IS 10 cupro-aluminum.[2]

Old shekel coins
Image Value Technical parameters Description Date of
Diameter (mm) Mass (g) Composition Obverse Reverse issue withdrawal
1-New-Agora-aluminium-hatasham-RJP.jpg 1 new agora 15 0.6 aluminium 97%, magnesium 3% Palm tree, "Israel" in Hebrew and Arabic Value, date 24.02.1980
Israel 5 New Agorot 1980 Obverse & Reverse.gif 5 new agorot 18.5 0.9 The state emblem, "Israel" in Hebrew, Arabic and English
Israel 10 New Agorot 1980 Obverse & Reverse.gif 10 new agorot 16 2.1 copper 92%, nickel 8% Three pomegranates, the state emblem, "Israel" in Hebrew, Arabic and English
0.5-Shekel-hatasham-RJP.jpg IS½ 20 3 copper 75%, nickel 25% Lion, the state emblem, "Israel" in Hebrew, Arabic and English Value, date, two stars
1 old Shekel coin.jpg IS1 23 5 Cup, "Shekel" in Hebrew Value, date, the state emblem, "Israel" in Hebrew, Arabic and English 22.01.1981
Israel 5 Sheqels 1980 Obverse & Reverse.gif IS5 24 6 copper 92%, aluminium 6%, nickel 2% Two cornucopia, the state emblem, "Israel" in Hebrew, Arabic and English Value, date, two stars 10.09.1981
Israel 10 Sheqels 1982 Obverse & Reverse.gif IS10 26 8 copper 75%, aluminium 25% Ancient galley, the state emblem, "Israel" in Hebrew, Arabic and English 25.02.1982
Israel 50 Sheqels 1984 Obverse & Reverse.gif IS50 28 9 copper 92%, aluminium 6%, nickel 2% Replica of a coin, the state emblem, "Israel" in Hebrew, Arabic and English 08.03.1984
Israel 100 Sheqels 1984 Obverse & Reverse.gif
IS100 29 10.8 copper 75%, nickel 25% Replica of a coin issued by Antigonus II Mattathias with the seven-branched candelabrum, the state emblem, "Israel" in Hebrew, Arabic and English Value, date 02.05.1984
For table standards, see the coin specification table.


The initial series of banknotes in 1980 were for the denominations of IS 1, 5, 10, and 50 and preserved the appearance of the 10, 50, 100 and 500-pound notes which they replaced.[1]

Subsequent issues added the denominations of IS 100, 500, 1000, 5000, and 10 000.[1]

Value Size Color Observe Reverse Image Issued Withdrawn
IS1 135×76 mm purple Moses Montefiore with Mishkenot Sha'ananim in background Jaffa Gate Israel 1 Shekel 1978 Obverse & Reverse.jpg 24 February 1980 4 September 1986
IS5 141×76 mm green Chaim Weizmann, Weizmann Institute of Science in background Damascus Gate Israel 5 Shkalim 1978 Obverse & Reverse.jpg
IS10 147×76 mm blue Theodor Herzl, entrance to Mount Herzl in background Zion Gate Israel 10 Sekel 1975 Obverse & Reverse.jpg
IS50 153×76 mm Ivory-Brown David Ben-Gurion at the library in Sde Boker Golden Gate Israel 50 Shkalim 1978 Obverse & Reverse.jpg
IS100 159×76 mm Orange-brown Ze'ev Jabotinsky Herod's Gate Israel 100 Shekel 1979 Obverse & Reverse.jpg 11 December 1980
IS500 138×76 mm red Edmond James de Rothschild, and farmers Bunch of grapes 500 sheqel note.jpg 1 December 1982
IS1000 green Maimonides Tiberias where Maimonides is buried; Ancient stone lamp Israel 1000 Sheqalim 1983 Obverse & Reverse.jpg 17 November 1983
IS5,000 blue Levi Eshkol Pipe carrying water, symbolizing the national carrier, fields and barren land in background Israel 5000 Sheqalim 1984 Obverse & Reverse.jpg 9 August 1984
IS10,000 orange Golda Meir Picture of Golda Meir in the crowd, in front of the Moscow Choral Synagogue, as she arrived in Moscow as Israel's ambassador in 1948 Israel 10000 NIS Bill 1984.jpg 27 November 1984

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b c d e "Past Notes &Coin Series: Sheqel Series", Currency, Bank of Israel.
  2. ^ a b c "Past Notes &Coin Series: New Agora and Sheqel Series", Currency, Bank of Israel.
  3. ^ "Past Notes &Coin Series: First Series of the New Sheqel", Currency, Bank of Israel.


External links[edit]