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Currency facts you didn’t know you wanted to know

06 Aug 2018

We’ve gathered some fun facts that you may not have known about some of our most popular currencies!



Talks of the euro being introduced started as early as the 1960s.

The symbol of the euro comes from the Greek letter ‘epsilon’ ε.

9 EU countries don’t use the euro: Denmark, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

Euro notes represent the EU on one side, and are country specific on the other.


US Dollar

There are countries that use the US Dollar: The United States of America, Ecuador, El Salvador, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, Timor-Leste, and Zimbabwe, Guam, British Virgin Islands, Samoa and Puerto Rico.

Since 1956 all banknotes bear the printed motto: In God We Trust.

The only time when banknotes showed the image of a woman was in 1886, when Martha Washington was printed on notes together with the image of her husband, the first President of the United States, George Washington.

The 100 dollar notes bear an image of the Independence Hall in which the clock indicates the time: 4:10 pm.


Croatian Kuna

In Croatian a Kuna is a weasel-like mammal (known in England as a marten), whose pelt was used as payment in medieval times.

A poll in April 2015 revealed that just over half of Croatians are in favour of a move to the central EU currency but there’s currently no timetable for introducing the Euro in Croatia.

1 Croatian Kuna is made up of 100 Croatian Lipa.



Czech Koruna

The Czech koruna replaced the Czechoslovakian koruna in 1993, after the dissolution of Czechoslovakia.

Czech Koruna is not allowed to leave the country in values of over 10,000 euros (around 273,000 Koruna).

The Czech Republic planned on adopting the euro in 2010, but the government shut down the project indefinitely in 2005.


Polish Zloty

The plural of zloty is zlote.

The word zloty means ‘golden’ and is used as the first Polish zloty coins were made of gold.

In the 14th and 15th centuries, a zloty was any foreign currency made from gold used in the Poland. These were usually German currencies.


Mexican Peso

The Mexican peso was the first coin in the world to use the sign “$”, even before the US dollar.

Banknotes were first printed in Mexico when the Bank of Mexico was formed in 1925.

Each Mexican peso coin bears the inscription ‘the United Mexican States’.


United Arab Emirates Dirham

The UAE Dirham was only introduced in 1973. Before this, most of the UAE was using the Qatari and Dubai riyal.

Historically, the word "dirham" is comes from 'dirhem' which comes from the name of a Greek coin, the Drachm.

The dirham is divided into 100 fils.


Hungarian Forint

The currency used in until 1946 was the pengő. This was used until 1st August 1946 when the forint was introduced.

The name Forint originated in Florence, Italy.

As a result of the integration of Hungary in the European Union and its currency, the euro, the forint could disappear between 2018 and 2020, depending on the country’s economic situation. 


Bulgarian Lev

In 1881 the first edition of the Lev was introduced as the official currency for Bulgaria and had the same value as the French Franc.

The currency derives its name from the Bulgarian term ‘lev’, which loosely translates to ‘lion’.

The Bulgarian lev has been issued in four series since it was first adopted in 1881.


Canadian Dollar

The Canadian Dollar was first introduced in 1858 when the country decided to stop using the Pound.

$1 coins are nicknamed loonies after the aquatic bird and $2 coins are nicknamed twonies.

Over 1 billion coins are minted each year at a high-tech plant in Winnipeg, Canada.


Australian Dollar

The modern Australian dollar has been in circulation since 1966, when the country dissolved the use of the Australian Pound.

When it was first created, there were over 1,000 suggestions for names. They includedKoala, the Royal and Austral

AUD is the 5th most traded currency in the world, right after the USD, the euro, the yen and the pound sterling.


Chinese Yuan

The renminbi is the official currency of the People's Republic of China. The yuan is the basic unit of the renminbi.

The Yuan is divided into 10 Jiao and Jiao is further divided into 10 Fen.

The Yuan was first introduced in 1948.


Icelandic Krona

The Icelandic word in the singular, “króna”, becomes krónur” in plural and means ‘crown’.

Each Krona coin has a fish printed on one side with the exception of the 50KR coin which has a crab. This is because for a long time, fishing was one of the country’s largest industries.

Iceland, which was under the rule of the Danish crown until 1944, adopted the Danish currency naturally. When Iceland became independent in 1944, they kept the krona but created the symbol of a coat of arms instead of the Danish crown.


The Kroner was first introduced in 1875 when Norway joined the Scandinavian Monetary Union and replaced the Norwegian Speciedaler.

One krone is split into 100 øre.

After the Union dissolved in 1914, the three Scandinavian countries (Denmark, Norway, and Sweden) all created their own currencies. All three kept the krone name.


Swedish Krona

Swedish Krone was first used in 1873 when they joined the Scandinavian Monetary Union, two years before Norway.

Swedish øre (coins) were discontinued in 2010 because the cost to produce the coins exceeded their face value.

The various Kronor currency notes carry the images of several famous Swedish personalities over the time. This included the image of Greta Garbo on the 100 Kronor banknote and Ingmar Bergman on the 200 Kronor banknote which were issued in 2015.


Russian Rubles

The Ruble dates back to 1704 when Peter the Great standardised the coins as currency.

During the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Russian currency experienced a modification in its design and new banknotes and coins were introduced.

The current symbol for the rouble was chosen by Russian internet users through an online survey conducted by the Bank of Russia that lasted for a month.


Swiss Franc

The Swiss Franc is not only the official currency of Switzerland; it’s also used in Liechtenstein.

In the 1820s Switzerland had a variety of different currencies all competing with each other from different banks. It was circa 1850 when multiple banks began issuing a single currency instead, the Swiss franc.

The first Swiss banknotes were not printed until 1907.


New Zealand Dollar

The New Zealand Dollar has been the official currency of New Zealand since 1967. Before that, the country used the New Zealand pound, which had been different to the British pound since 1933.

The New Zealand dollar is the official currency of not only New Zealand, but also the Cook Islands, Niue, Tokelau and Pitcairn Islands.

The New Zealand Dollar is commonly called the ‘Kiwi Dollar’. It’s named after the national bird, which appears in the one dollar coins. 

And that’s it!

They’re some of our favourite facts on currencies from across the globe, and you’re now full of fun information ready to wow your friends and family or win your next game of Trivial Pursuit with your top currency knowledge 😉


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