Several reference works on the banknotes of the Ottoman Empire have been written in recent years, but the recently published, award-winning volume by Mehmet Gaciroglu is an impressive contribution to understanding paper money issues in the Ottoman Empire. The distinguished presentation of the book is noteworthy, with its gold title on the dark-coloured cover indicating the quality of the content. Over 340 pages of gloss paper with good quality illustrations, predominantly in colour, continue the impressive presentation.
The merit of the book, however, is in its content. For each denomination identified in the book, descriptions include: the dates of issue, size of the note, the group of issue, signatures, quantity issued, seal used, serial number range and remarks. Where banknotes are illustrated, watermark and signature varieties are adjacent to the banknote; which makes the identification of a banknote very easy for the reader. Values for the notes are given in the grades Fine, VF, XF and UNC, except where the notes are rare and values are sensibly omitted.
A transliteration from Arabic script to modern Turkish script, for both the front and back of the notes, assists readers without the linguistic skills to understand the original text. The Turkish text of the book is complemented with an equal amount of English text, which widens the audience for the book.
Not just a catalogue, the book includes biographies of Sultans and descriptions of the seals used on the notes. Towards the back of the book is a section with colour plates of specimens, essays, artist’s sketches, errors, endorsement stamps and cancellations. Included are the British Gallipoli notes, German legion issues, municipal currencies and local Hebrew, Armenian and Greek issues.
While Banknotes of the Ottoman Empire is deserving of the IBNS Book of the Year, the IBNS gave several Honourable Mentions to other books on paper money published during 2011. These are:
- Billetes de Chile 1879-2011 by Miguel A.Fajardo
- Presidency Banknotes of India (1770-1860) by Kishore Jhunjhunwalla and Rezwan Razack
- New Zealand History Noted – Reserve Bank of New Zealand Bank Notes by Robert Pepping
- Notafilia y Ciencias de la Salud by Jaime Casas PIa (A.N.E.)
- Les Eurobillets – 2002-2011 by Guy Sohier
- English Paper Money – Treasury and Bank of England Notes from 1694 (8th Edition) by Pam West