The silver coins were of 20, 10, 5, 2, I and 2 piastre in value, the 20-piastre piece weighing 24.055 grammes, .830 fine.
The heavy depreciation in silver causing large losses to the government, free coinage was suspended in 1880, and the nominal value of the mejidie was reduced by decree to 19 piastres (105.26 piastres thus = £T1), while in the same year the debased currencies were reduced, altilik, the 6-piastre piece to 5 piastres, the 3-piastre piece to 22 piastres, the 12-piastre piece to 14 piastre; beshlik, the 5-piastre piece to 22 piastres, the 22-piastre piece to 1;-piastre; metallik, the 1-piastre piece to 2 piastre, the 2-piastre piece to 4 piastre, the *-piastre piece to a piastre - these values representing approximately the intrinsic value of the silver, at mejidie standard, contained in the debased coins.
The 20-piastre mejidie currency, in spite of the further enormous depreciation of silver since 1880, has scarcely varied in the Constantinople market, but has always remained at a discount of about 3% (between 108 and 109 piastres to the pound) under government rate; this is doubtless due to the fact that the demand and supply of the coins in that market are very evenly balanced.
The fractional mejidie coins (5, 2 and 1 piastres) are quoted at a separate rate in the market, usually at a premium over the 20-piastre piece.
The coinage formerly was the caroub and piastre (the latter worth about 6d.), but in 1891 the French reformed the coinage, substituting the franc as a unit, and having the money minted at Paris.
One, 3/4, 3/4 and ~f piastre pieces are coined in nickel and 1ff and fff piastre pieces in bronze.
The one piastre piece is worth a fraction over 24d.
The fff of a piastre is popularly called a para and the native population generally reckon in paras.
The legal piastre is called the piastre tariff (P.T.), to distinguish it from the 1/2 piastre, which in local usage in Cairo and Alexandria is called a piastre.
Officially the 4 piastre is known as 5 milliemes, and so with the coins of lower denomination, the para being 3/4 millieme.
With the accession of Ismail (q.v.) there followed a period of wild extravagance and reckless borrowing accompanied by the extortion of every piastre possible from the fellahin.
The gold coins issued were 500, 250, 100, 50, and 25 piastres in value, the weight of the loo-piastre piece (Turkish pound), 7 .
The unit was the piastre (=2}d.), nominally subdivided into 40 paras.
The British sovereign is the current gold coin, the unit of the bronze and silver coinage being the piastre (13 penny).
The silver coinage consisted of the mejidie (weight 24.055 grammes, 0.830 fine), equivalent to 20 piastres, and its subdivisions 10, 5, 2, I, and 2 piastre pieces.
And Abd-ul-Mejid, and the second in the reign of Mahmud only, were not included in the reform; these were debased currencies bearing a nominal value, the altilik of 6, 3 and 12 piastres, the beshlik of 5 and 22 piastres, the metallik of 1, 2 and 4 piastres; they represented the last degree of an agelong monetary depreciation, the original piastre having had a value of about 5s.