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Ras Bab-el-Mandeb

راس باب المندب (Arabic)

Bab el Mandeb NASA with description


Flag of Yemen Yemen


12°44′04″ N, 43°30′19″ E

Ras Bab-el-Mandeb (Arabic: راس باب المندب), referred to as Ra's Bab al-Mandab in Krause's Standard Catalog of World Coins, is a peninsula in Yemen located on the Bab-el-Mandeb, the strait between Yemen and Djibouti and Eritrea.


Cheick Said

A countermarked coin of Cheikh Saïd

A series of countermarked coins of Ras Bab-el-Mandeb consisting of ½ and 1 rupee and 1 riyal coins is listed in Krause's Standard Catalog of World Coins under the "RA'S BAB AL-MANDAB" subsection of "YEMEN". The counterstamp of the coins is a circular "wreath" with the Arabic words "الشيخ سعيد في راس باب المندب" (Romanized: al-Shaykh Sa'id fi Ras Bab al Mandeb; English: "Shaykh Sa'id on Ras Bab al Mandeb") printed in a counterclockwise direction. This counterstamp was evidently applied to ½ and 1 rupee coins from British India and Maria Theresa thalers from Austria. Some sources, such as the Oriental Numismatic Society and the Standard Catalog of World Coins, suggest the "Al Shaykh" in the legend refers to a regional leader of the time, while others, such as including the Hafner catalog for Maria Theresa thalers and Baldwin's Auctions, claim that it refers to the port of Cheikh Saïd (Shaykh Sa'id) on the Bab-el-Mandeb. There is also controversy over whether or not the coins are legitimate counterstrikes, as such pieces were not offered for sale until 1970, and the marks are claimed to have been applied between 1860 and 1914, but many of the host Maria Theresa thalers are believed to be post-1945 strikes.

Cheikh Saïd is believed to have issued coins countermarked over 5 franc coins of France, Maria Theresa thalers of Austria, 8 real coins of Spain, and 960 real coins of Brazil. The counterstamp of such coins is a ten-pointed star with the Arabic inscription "الشيخ سعيد" (Romanized: al-Shaykh Sa'id) in its center. These pieces are not currently listed in the Standard Catalog of World Coins.