Iranian toman

The Iranian toman (Persian: تومان, romanized: tomān, pronounced [tomɑn]; from Mongolian tomen 'unit of ten thousand',[1][2][lower-alpha 1] see the unit called tumen) is a superunit of the official currency of Iran, the rial. One toman is equivalent to ten rials. Although the rial is the official currency, Iranians use the toman in everyday life.[8]

Iranian toman
10-toman gold coin, AH 1314 (c.1896), depicting Mozaffar ad-Din, shah of the Qajar dynasty
110000Dinar (former)
Freq. used1,000; 2,000; 5,000; 10,000; 50,000; and 100,000
Freq. used15, 12, 1, 2, 5, 10, and 25
User(s) Iran
Central bankIran

Originally, the toman consisted of 10,000 dinars. Between 1798 and 1825, the toman was also subdivided into eight rials, each of 1,250 dinars. In 1825, the qiran was introduced, worth 1,000 dinars or one-tenth of a toman.

In 1932, the rial replaced the qiran at par, with 1 toman being equal to 10 rial. On 7 December 2016, the Iranian government approved a call by the Iranian central bank to replace the Iranian rial with the more colloquially and historically known toman denomination.[9] In early 2019, following the hyperinflation of the rial, the central bank made a new proposal, suggesting the currency be redenominated by introducing a new toman with a value of 10,000 rials.[8]


Iranian gold coins were denominated in toman, with copper and silver coins denominated in dinar, rial or qiran. During the period of hammered coinage, gold toman coins were struck in denominations of 14, 12, 1, 2 and 10 toman,[10] and later 15, 3 and 6 toman.[11] With the introduction of milled coinage in AH1295,[12] denominations included 15, 12, 1, 2, 5, 10, and 25 toman.[13] The last gold toman were issued in 1965, well after the toman had ceased to be an official Iranian currency.


Imperial Bank of Persia, One Toman (1906), depicting Naser al-Din Shah Qajar

In 1890, the Imperial Bank of Persia introduced notes in denominations of 1, 2, 3, 5, 10, 20, 25, 50, 100, 500 and 1000 toman.[14] These notes were issued until 1923. In 1924, a second series was introduced, consisting of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 toman notes[15] which were issued until the rial was introduced in 1932.[16] The higher-denomination notes were subject to frequent counterfeiting. Currently, since the worth of the toman has fallen so much the standard bank notes are 1,000; 2,000; 5,000; 10,000; 50,000; and 100,000 Rial notes.

German-issued World War I occupation notes

Five marks (12 qiran 10 shahi)
10 marks (25 qiran)

During World War I, a group of German and Turkish soldiers occupied a small portion of Iran until 1918. They circulated five different denominations of German Imperial Treasury notes (printed around 1905) with a red overprint in Persian that were used locally at the rate of 4 marks to 1 toman.[17] In addition to the 12 qiran 10 shahi (5 mark) and 25 qiran (10 mark) notes pictured, the rest of the issue included: 5 tomans (on a 20 mark note), 25 tomans (on a 100 mark note), and 250 tomans (on a 1,000 mark note).[18] Wilhelm Wassmuss appears to be given credit for the occupation and issue of currency.[17]


  1. According to Lee Ki-moon, a professor of linguistics at the Seoul National University, the word 'Tumen' found in Altaic languages (a proposed language family, now widely seen as discredited)[3][4][5][6] is "certainly a borrowing from Tocharian".[7]


  1. Fragner, Bert (1986). "Social and Internal Economic Affairs". In Jackson, Peter; Lockhart, Laurence (eds.). The Cambridge History of Iran (Vol. 6). Cambridge University Press. p. 557. ISBN 978-0521200943. The unit of reckoning was the Tūmān (from the Mongol Tümen, i.e. 10,000), the equivalent of 10,000 dīnārs.
  2. Album, Stephen; Bates, Michael L.; Floor, Willem (1992). "COINS AND COINAGE". Encyclopaedia Iranica, Vol. VI, Fasc. 1. pp. 14–41. (...) of Transoxania (near modern Dushanbe), for 1,000 Tomans (Tūmān or "Toomān"< Mong. Toman “10,000,” originally designating a value of 10,000 dinars) of copper coins (Folūs) per year.
  3. "While 'Altaic' is repeated in encyclopedias and handbooks most specialists in these languages no longer believe that the three traditional supposed Altaic groups, Turkic, Mongolian and Tungusic, are related." Lyle Campbell & Mauricio J. Mixco, A Glossary of Historical Linguistics (2007, University of Utah Press), pg. 7.
  4. "When cognates proved not to be valid, Altaic was abandoned, and the received view now is that Turkic, Mongolian, and Tungusic are unrelated." Johanna Nichols, Linguistic Diversity in Space and Time (1992, Chicago), pg. 4.
  5. "Careful examination indicates that the established families, Turkic, Mongolian, and Tungusic, form a linguistic area (called Altaic)...Sufficient criteria have not been given that would justify talking of a genetic relationship here." R.M.W. Dixon, The Rise and Fall of Languages (1997, Cambridge), pg. 32.
  6. "...[T]his selection of features does not provide good evidence for common descent" and "we can observe convergence rather than divergence between Turkic and Mongolic languages--a pattern than is easily explainable by borrowing and diffusion rather than common descent", Asya Pereltsvaig, Languages of the World, An Introduction (2012, Cambridge) has a good discussion of the Altaic hypothesis (pp. 211-216).
  7. Ki-moon, Lee. "The Silk Road And The Korean Language". Seoul National University: 5. Lastly, I would like to add a comment on ‘zh-mun’ (thousand) in Middle Korean. This 'zh-mun' is quite similar to the word in Altai languages meaning 'ten thousand.' In Jurchen, 'ten thousand' was called 'tumen.' In 'Yongbi Och'onga' ("eulogy of the foundation of the Yi Dynasty") (1, 8), there is a footnote that ‘ ’ ( tumen) of ' ' (the Tuman river of today) came from the Jurchen word meaning 'ten thousand.' In Manchu, ' ' (ten thousand) is also 'tumen'. These are a borrowing from the Mongolian word ‘tumen' (ten thousand). ‘Tumen’ (ten thousand) was also in Old Turkic. This 'tumen' in these Altaic languages is certainly a borrowing from Tocharian (Clauson 1972). In Tocharian A, there is 'tman,' in Tocharian B 'tmane', 'tumane'. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  8. Maziar Motamedi (29 January 2019). "Can a New Currency End Tehran's Economic Woes?".
  9. Iran considers currency change
  10. Cuhaj 2009a, p. 832.
  11. Cuhaj 2009a, p. 837.
  12. Cuhaj 2009a, p. 838.
  13. Cuhaj 2009a, pp. 838-43.
  14. Cuhaj 2010, pp. 710–11.
  15. Cuhaj 2010, pp. 708–10.
  16. Cuhaj 2010, p. 711.
  17. Khandani, Babak, German Qaran and Toman,, retrieved 25 May 2015
  18. Cuhaj 2009b, pp. 699-70.


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