The idea of the world currencies is in the term. People in every country should have an idea about their existence because the economic policy of these countries is built around them. But everything changes and money changes too. It is difficult sometimes to imagine trade operations with one or another unit of account. But any state has its own reasons to release even the strangest money.
Salt was a rare and hardly accessible product for thousand of years. That was the reason it became one of the oldest currencies. This time is reflected in the english word “salary”. And also in the word “soldat” means the one who is given money for salt for his services – salarium. Salt was basic currency in Eastern Africa. It is very convenient: you can lick a piece and try if it is genuine, you can crack a bit and take a change. But medieval China came up with something really special – banknotes from salt. The genuineness of each thin salty plate was verified not only by unique taste but also by emperor’s stamp.
The salt money was something new also for chinese, they had their own units of amount even before Christ. They used for instance special knives with different nomination. It was very convenient: the one could cut and pay with it.
And paper banknotes we used to are also invented in China, during Tan dynasty (618–907 after Christ). They were issued privately also as documents proved the act of exchange.
XI century, Yap island
You can find the biggest coins in the world on the Yap island. These are Rai stones. They were made from limestone and were 4 meters in diameter and weighted 8 tonnes!
These coins were very close related to the place they were installed first. But once a Rai stone was taken from the island and now it decorates the hall of a Canadian bank. But it is an exclusion, it was forbidden to move such coins. All the inhabitants knew who was the owner of this coin. It could be inherited with ceremonies and honors. The coin was the same and it stood in the same place but the owners changed.
XVIII century, USA
In the beginning of the colonization of America the local currency, dollar, was very easy to falsify. Here and there appeared typographies which could easily print couple of hundreds of banknotes. They look simple and the government did not use all of it force for fighting counterfeiters because at that time a new nation has other issues to solve. But the counterfeiters were warned: “To counterfeit is Death!” All colonies existing at the moment (there were 13 of them) printed exactly this line on its banknotes. It was replaced with “In God We Trust” over the time.
XIX–XX centuries, Germany
It is surprisingly but exactly the practical germans used to have wooden banknotes. They were depending on weather, uncomfortable to carry and easy to break. But after the First World War the weakened economy of Germany had only one way out – to print money on all off-the-shelf items. Banknotes were printed on foil, cloth and playing cards. And not only banknotes! You can find anthracite coins in some private collection. This currency was called Notgeld (money for emergency).
It would seem, here is nothing special, it’s just a paper banknote. But it is a banknote with the biggest nomination in the history. It is 100 million of trillions.
Yes, exactly it is 100 000 000 000 000 000 000.
The Hungarian economy in the Forties was at such state, that this amount was equal to 20 american cents. But a fact is a fact. It was Hungary issued the bill with the largest nomination in the world.
1997, Congo (Zaire)
In 1997 the Treasury of the african state Democratic Republic of Congo previously known as Zaire does not have extra funds to print new banknotes. The country just overthrew the government of Josef Mobuta and the republic was just to build democracy. The revolutionary ment there is no time for that. But the face of the thrown dictator was on the national currency. The the compromise was found. Money stayed the same but the face of Mobuta was cut out.
2006, Cook Island, Polynesia
In 2006 the monetary court of Cook Island has released an entertaining currency – coins with a television built-in.
Based on the name of this country you can assume that Cook Islands are far away from technical innovations. But the country is the origin of such innovation. A film short with pictures of Scottish engineer John Berd, one of the inventors of television, is broadcasted on the coin. The issue of the tele-coin was timed to the anniversary of the beginning of broadcasting.
Once John Kennedy sent Peace Corp Volunteers to Mongolia in order to help develop economy, health and education in the country. It is how the American president won the hearts of Mongolian population forever. But you will agree, it is surprisingly to see Kennedy’s face on the reverse of the coin with nomination of 500 tugriks.
But hold on, the most surprising is ahead. There is a button built in the picture of the american president. By pressing on the button you can listen to Kennedy’s speech from 1991 at Berlin wall.
2007–2008, island state of Palau, Philippine Sea
The Palau state is well known through it uncommon coins. The state issues special coins to celebrate different anniversaries. On the silver dollar from 2007 there is a picture of Saint Maria and a vessel with holy water from the Lourde spring is sealed inside the coin. Lourde is one of the major european attraction for pilgrims. In 1858 the Holy Maria came to the fourteen year old girl from Lourde and after that the village became of such importance for pilgrims.
In 2008 the mint of Palau release another serie of coins. This time it were coins with pearl and images of shells. The locals believe that green freshwater pearls bring good luck.
2007, Pasque Island
Pasque Island is the most distant island on the planet. There are 2075 km to the next inhabited territory. That’s why not many people have an idea about the administrative status of that territory. Pasque Island belongs to Chili. But everyone knows moai statues from Pasque Island.
The locals believe that magic power of the first king of the island and his ancestors is being placed in these giant stone heads. So there is no need to be surprised that the most amazing coin of the island is decorated with a picture of moai. This small statue can be placed vertically, for instance, on the table. And the coin with nomination of 10 chilinian dollars will a basement for it.
Tristan Island is a British territory in Atlantics. There is no airport here, but exactly here was issued a commemorative coin to celebrate the 40-th anniversary of the passenger plane Concord.
Averse of a golden five pound coin is decorated with the image of the queen of Great Britain. On the reverse a silver image of Concord is being placed together with an inserted titanic piece of the head fairing of the jet.
2010, Ivory Coast
The name of Côte d’Ivoire was translated till the last decades of XX century as Ivory Coast Republic. And rightly so. In 2010 the country issued the coin with insertion of fossilized mammoth bones.
This amazing currency has nomination of 1000 francs. On the reverse you can see the image of the mammoth with insertion of the tusk fragment. On the averse there is the national coat with elephant head which is a symbol of the Ivory Coast.
Did you hear that money does not smell? Forget about it. When you rub a bit a green leaf on a silver coin you see, you will smell a herb banned in many countries. The silver 100 francs of a western african state Benin look like that.
This amazing currency became the first in the serie of coins called Fameuses Plantes du Monde, dedicated to famous plants of the planet.