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The International Bank Note Society (IBNS) has awarded its 2006 Book of the Year (for a work published in 2005) to Adnan Djaroueh, for his landmark publication the Encyclopedia of Syrian Paper Money. The Society’s annual award is bestowed on a book that has made an outstanding contribution to the study of paper money. This year’s award was hotly contested, with many creditable publications contending for the accolades that the award confers. However, in a competitive field the Encyclopedia of Syrian Paper Money was a worthy winner of the award.
Adnan Djaroueh is a native of Aleppo in Syria and, over eight years ago, he commenced his study of Syrian paper money in an effort to record a neglected part of his nation’s history. The result of his endeavours is an outstanding study that records all banknotes issued in Syria over an eighty-year period. Importantly, his research into the issues of Syrian banknotes involved access to original documents, which allowed the author to authoritatively determine the numerous varieties of banknotes that were issued in Syria.
Collectors of Syrian banknotes are all too aware of the wide range of varieties for a number of the banknotes issued in Syria. Previous studies that have encompassed the banknotes of Syria have fallen short in identifying all varieties of Syrian banknotes. As well as collectors failing to identify some varieties, mis-description of some notes has led to the belief that certain varieties exist, where they don’t. The Encyclopedia of Syrian Paper Money clears this confusion. As well as identifying all types and varieties of Syrian banknotes, the award-winning publication achieves three other outcomes: it relates the history of banknotes issued in Syria, it provides full colour images of all but one of the banknotes, and it presents the images and the information in unparalleled opulence.
The book is in a large format (327 x 275 mm), comprising over 594 pages in full colour. Exemplary design and magnificent images of banknotes, many of which the average collector will never see, let alone own, are rendered in faithful hues so familiar with French-manufactured notes. As well as presenting the two hundred varieties of notes identified by the author, there are illustrations of specimen and proof notes, as well as charts that summarize information contained in the book.
While some sections of the book are repeated in English, the Encyclopedia of Syrian Paper Money is predominantly written in Arabic and most of the significant information is presented only in Arabic. While this may be disappointing to many collectors of Syrian paper money who cannot read Arabic, it does not detract from the value of the publication, nor the detail it contains, nor its magnificent presentation. People who are fortunate enough to read the Encyclopedia of Syrian Paper Money will immediately realize why the International Bank Note Society presented its prestigious award to this publication.