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Sunday, 24 August 2014


The early Romans probably used cattle as a form of currency.

The Romans later established a uniform currency across their empire so that the same coins could be accepted at Hadrian's Wall as in Carthage or Athens.

The original Chinese character for money is based on Snail Shells which were once used as currency.

Cacao beans were used throughout Mesoamerica as currency during the Classic Maya Civilization. Ten beans would buy a rabbit and for 100 you could get a slave.

The British pound - created in the 8th century - is the oldest currency still in use.

In the Saxon Kingdoms of Britain, 240 "sterlings" were minted from a pound of silver, hence the currency "Pound Sterling."

The groat, which was in circulation in all the countries of the Holy Roman Empire, was issued for the last time in 1662.

The dollar was unanimously chosen as the monetary unit for the United States in 1785.

The yen was officially adopted by the Meiji government in an Act signed on June 27, 1871. The Yen's name comes from the Japanese word "えん (en)," which literally means "round."

Early 1-yen banknote (1873), 

Before 1929, the U.S. Mint produced currency that was 50% bigger than today's bills—they were known as "horse blankets" due to their size.

In the 18th and 19th century, blocks of salt were used as currency in Abyssinia (now Ethiopia).

In the 19th century, currency had to be printed on walrus skin in Alaska to survive the harsh climate.

The American Secret Service was created on July 5, 1865 in Washington, D.C., to suppress counterfeit currency.

Until the Second World War, bricks of tea were used as a form of currency in Siberia.

Financial calculations using the old currency of the UK were complicated, as one pound was made up of 240 pence or 20 shillings, a shilling was equal to 12 pence, and the half-crown was worth two shillings and sixpence.

The UK Parliament passed the Decimal Currency Act in 1969. No longer would there be 240 pennies in a pound, but instead it was divided into 100 "new pence." A massive publicity campaign was launched in the weeks leading up to Decimal Day on February 15, 1971.

An introductory pack of the new currency. Wikipedia Commons

Military leader Ne Win caused a financial crash in the 1980s when he tried to make all Burmese currency divisible by 9, his lucky number.

The euro was introduced to world financial markets in non-physical form (traveller's cheques, electronic transfers, banking, etc.) at midnight on January 1, 1999, when the national currencies of the 11 participating countries (members of the European Union with the exception of the United Kingdom, Denmark, Greece and Sweden) ceased to exist independently. The notes and coins for the old currencies, however, continued to be used as legal tender until new euro notes and coins were introduced three years later.

“E Pluribus Unum,” the Latin expression that appears on US currency, means “one out of many.”

By law, only dead people can appear on U.S. currency.

Silver and gold are used as currency because they are durable and rare enough to be desired, while other metals are too volatile or common.

There are 180 currencies recognized as legal tender around the world.

The average piece of currency changes hands about 55 times a year.

The Peruvian currency is called the “sol”, reflecting the Sun worship of the Incas.

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