© Sharjah Museums Authority

Name of Object:

Maria Theresa Dollar


Sharjah, United Arab Emirates (Sharjah)

Holding Institution:

Sharjah Heritage Museum/ Sharjah Museums Department

 About Sharjah Museums Authority, Sharjah

Date of Object:

Hegira 13th century / AD 19th century



Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):



Diameter 40 mm




This large silver coin is known as the Maria Theresia Dollar. It shows a portrait of the Austrian Empress Maria Theresia on the obverse and the Imperial double-headed eagle of the Habsburgs on the reverse. Originally minted in 1741, the Austrian Maria Theresia dollar became extremely important for Levant trade and was eventually declared official trade coinage in 1857, one year before it ceased as currency in Austria itself. In the Arab peninsula, and especially in the lower Gulf and Oman, it remained the favoured currency until 1920, highly regarded for its high silver content. Those involved in the pearling trade, including captains of the pearling ships plying the Gulf, preferred to receive their money in Maria Theresia Dollars.

Citation of this web page:

Ulrike al-Khamis "Maria Theresa Dollar" in "Sharing History", Museum With No Frontiers, 2023. https://sharinghistory.museumwnf.org/database_item.php?id=object;AWE;ua;51;en

Prepared by: Ulrike Al-Khamis

MWNF Working Number: UA 052

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