Paper money wikipedia

Paper money wikipedia DEFAULT


Study of paper currency

Notaphily is the study and collection of paper currency, and banknotes. A notaphilist is a collector of banknotes or paper money, particularly as a hobby.


It is believed that people have been collecting paper money for as long as it has been in use.[citation needed] While people began collecting paper currency more systematically in the 1940s, the turning point occurred in the 1970s when notaphily was established as a separate area by collectors. The term was devised in this decade by a group of employees working for the collectors and investments firm Stanley Gibbons, in a successful attempt to formalise and encourage interest in the area.

At the same time, some developed countries such as the United States, Germany and France began publishing their respective national catalogues of paper money, which represented major points of reference literature.

In 1961, The International Bank Note Society, (IBNS), was formed as an international association of banknote collectors. Nowadays it has thousands of members from around the world. The IBNS publishes the quarterly IBNS Journal, holds regular mail bid auctions, and promotes lectures at congresses.

The major contributor to this study has been Albert Pick who published some of the earliest catalogues of paper money and through them explained the objective of collecting paper money and the definition of it. Albert Pick is also the author of the capital part of the Standard Catalog of World Paper Money, now a three-volume set which consists of thousands of pages of almost the entire collection of the world paper money that has ever existed and is updated annually. Almost every note of every country and many special and regional issues are cataloged following a unique format for each entry: [Country Name]P[unique number for the banknote edition]

The following note would thus be cataloged as "Yugoslavia P-87."

An important aspect of collecting banknotes is the condition of items. Banknotes in perfect condition (without any damage), that usually haven't circulated are rated as uncirculated (UNC) and that is the highest classification for a value that a banknote can have. In addition to that, the value for a specific note in the world paper money catalog is listed for UNC condition.

Authentication, grading and cataloging[edit]

Banknotes are usually graded on a descriptive scale of grades. These grades vary somewhat internationally, and as time goes on more grades have been added. The grades specified by the International Bank Note Society are as follows:

  • Uncirculated (UNC) - refers to a banknote that is bright and has no handling damage, such as folds or creases, nor any cuts, stains, or rounded corners
  • About uncirculated (AU) - a banknote that is still bright but has trivial handling damage, i.e. a light center fold (not a crease, which is a break of the fibres of the paper), without rounded corners.
  • Extremely fine (XF or EF) - a banknote with one crease or up to three light folds. Paper still bright and attractive, very slight wear to corners allowed.
  • Very Fine (VF) - Note still attractive, but possible slight dirt or smudging, may have several horizontal and/or vertical folds. Paper remains relatively crisp. No tears, but slight wear to edges and corners is allowable.
  • Fine (F) - Paper is now slightly soft, considerable wear due to folds from use in circulation. Minor tears to note, not extending into the design. Clear but not bright in appearance. Staple holes but not holes due to folding.
  • Very Good (VG) - Much wear. Paper is limp. Tears can extend into the design. Staining possible. Discoloration possible. Hole at center caused by folding allowable. Note still looks presentable.
  • Good (G) - Very much wear, as VG, but more so. Graffiti on note. Small pieces of the note may be missing
  • Fair - Larger pieces of note torn off/missing, compared with G. Less of the note intact.
  • Poor - Severe damage due to wear, staining, missing pieces, graffiti and/or holes. May be taped together, have pieces missing. The worst possible condition.

In addition to these grades, it is common to indicate an in-between grade, such as AU-UNC, which is a note that falls between AU and UNC, (e.g., a note with a noticeable counting fold).

Certain vendors and auctioneers break the UNC grade down further, into three grades:

  • Gem Uncirculated or Gem Crisp Uncirculated - A perfect note, not just in original condition, but with large equally balanced margins, outstanding colour. Thus such a note is not just as originally printed, but was also printed well in the first place.
  • Choice Uncirculated/Crisp Choice Uncirculated - Just less than perfect, tiny foxing, faint counting smudges, or slightly off-center margins
  • Uncirculated/Crisp Uncirculated - Still not folded or creased, but suffering from any of: slight fading, yellowing, foxing, very off-center margins, corner folds only in the blank area (not the design)

Most collectors will always prefer an Uncirculated note, and these notes command substantial premiums over lower grades. A note in UNC condition is generally worth up to ten times more in this condition compared with merely VG (Very Good). An UNC note can be worth three times as much as a VF one. For notes seldom found in uncirculated condition, the premium may be even higher. The difference between Gem Uncirculated and Uncirculated can also be substantial. As a result, buyers are at risk of grade inflation, in that a dealer failing to notice a fold in an AU note and passing it off as UNC will undoubtedly feel justified in charging a higher price.

Bank notes below VF are usually considered undesirable in a collection, and are generally purchased where better-quality examples are either unavailable due to their scarcity or simply beyond the collector's budget. Common notes in such poor condition, however, are effectively unsaleable for anything above their face value (assuming they are still legal tender).

Various third party grading companies (TPG) offer the service of authentication, grading and cataloging of common varieties of paper currency. These TPGs typically use a seventy-point grading scale to describe the note. Additional notations may be made for exceptional paper quality or other varieties.

Following examination, TPG companies typically encapsulate the currency in what is commonly referred to as a "slab." Similar to the issues surrounding the transition that occurred within the coin collecting field many years ago, controversy exists about the need or value of TPG notes. Without having the ability to closely examine and feel the note due to it being sealed inside the slab, many collectors are not comfortable accepting the opinion of others as to the grade and may either elect not to purchase the note or to cut it out of the slab for examination. Additionally, many noted mistakes in grading by third party grading services have been discovered. However, for collectors less adept at grading, purchasing a note in a slab can provide some additional comfort for the owner in justifying the purchase and cost. It also serves to help protect the collector against unethical activities designed to increase the worth of the note by pressing out folds, washing, repairing tears, or other alterations typically viewed as unacceptable thereby lowering the value of the item.

The vast majority of banknotes are sold using the Uncirculated–Poor grading system, and are never graded with any third party.

Postal order collecting[edit]

Postal order collecting has become a branch of notaphily, especially in England since the 1980s. Some countries, such as Basutoland, the British Somaliland Protectorate, and Northern Rhodesia never issued their own banknotes, however, they did issue their own postal orders. Great Britain, the Isle of Man, and Northern Ireland also issued Old Age Pension Orders as well as postal orders. These have become collectible in recent years.


People collect paper money by:

  • Topic (wildlife, ships, famous people)
  • Time period (series, date)
  • Country (native, favourite or unusual)
  • Substrate (paper or polymer)
  • Currency
  • Denomination
  • Printer
  • Serial number
  • Grade
  • Varieties caused by major or minor design changes
  • Replacement or star notes commonly used to replace errors discovered during the printing process.
  • Errors in the printing process


See also[edit]

External links[edit]



Form of physical currency made of paper, cotton or polymer

A banknote (often known as a bill (in the US and Canada), paper money, or simply a note) is a type of negotiablepromissory note, made by a bank or other licensed authority, payable to the bearer on demand. Banknotes were originally issued by commercial banks, which were legally required to redeem the notes for legal tender (usually gold or silver coin) when presented to the chief cashier of the originating bank. These commercial banknotes only traded at face value in the market served by the issuing bank. Commercial banknotes have primarily been replaced by national banknotes issued by central banks or monetary authorities.

National banknotes are often – but not always – legal tender, meaning that courts of law are required to recognize them as satisfactory payment of money debts.[2] Historically, banks sought to ensure that they could always pay customers in coins when they presented banknotes for payment. This practice of "backing" notes with something of substance is the basis for the history of central banks backing their currencies in gold or silver. Today, most national currencies have no backing in precious metals or commodities and have value only by fiat. With the exception of non-circulating high-value or precious metal issues, coins are used for lower valued monetary units, while banknotes are used for higher values.

Code of Hammurabi Law 100 (c. 1755–1750 BC) stipulated repayment of a loan by a debtor to a creditor on a schedule with a maturity date specified in writtencontractual terms.[3][4][5] Law 122 stipulated that a depositor of gold, silver, or other chattel/movable property for safekeeping must present all articles and a signed contract of bailment to a notary before depositing the articles with a banker, and Law 123 stipulated that a banker was discharged of any liability from a contract of bailment if the notary denied the existence of the contract. Law 124 stipulated that a depositor with a notarized contract of bailment was entitled to redeem the entire value of their deposit, and Law 125 stipulated that a banker was liable for replacement of deposits stolen while in their possession.[6][7][5]

In China during the Han dynasty, promissory notes appeared in 118 BC and were made of leather.[8]Rome may have used a durable lightweight substance as promissory notes in 57 AD which have been found in London.[9] However, Carthage was purported to have issued bank notes on parchment or leather before 146 BC. Hence Carthage may be the oldest user of lightweight promissory notes.[10][11][12] The first known banknote was first developed in China during the Tang and Song dynasties, starting in the 7th century. Its roots were in merchant receipts of deposit during the Tang dynasty (618–907), as merchants and wholesalers desired to avoid the heavy bulk of copper coinage in large commercial transactions. During the Yuan dynasty (1271–1368), banknotes were adopted by the Mongol Empire. In Europe, the concept of banknotes was first introduced during the 13th century by travelers such as Marco Polo,[16][17] with European banknotes appearing in 1661 in Sweden.

Counterfeiting, the forgery of banknotes, is an inherent challenge in issuing currency. It is countered by anticounterfeiting measures in the printing of banknotes. Fighting the counterfeiting of banknotes and cheques has been a principal driver of security printing methods development in recent centuries.


Main article: History of money

Paper currency first developed in Tang dynastyChina during the 7th century, although true paper money did not appear until the 11th century, during the Song dynasty. The usage of paper currency later spread throughout the Mongol Empire or Yuan dynasty China. European explorers like Marco Polo introduced the concept in Europe during the 13th century.[16][17]Napoleon issued paper banknotes in the early 1800s.[18] Cash paper money originated as receipts for value held on account "value received", and should not be conflated with promissory "sight bills" which were issued with a promise to convert at a later date.

The perception of banknotes as money has evolved over time. Originally, money was based on precious metals. Banknotes were seen by some as an I.O.U. or promissory note: a promise to pay someone in precious metal on presentation (see representative money). But they were readily accepted - for convenience and security - in London, for example, from the late 1600s onwards. With the removal of precious metals from the monetary system, banknotes evolved into pure fiat money.

Early Chinese paper money[edit]

See also: List of Chinese inventions, Economy of the Song dynasty, and Jiaozi (currency)

Song Dynasty Jiaozi, the world's earliest paper money.
A Yuan dynasty printing plate and banknote with Chinese words.

The first banknote-type instrument was used in China in the 7th century, during the Tang dynasty (618–907). Merchants would issue what are today called promissory notes in the form of receipts of deposit to wholesalers to avoid using the heavy bulk of copper coinage in large commercial transactions. Before the use of these notes, the Chinese used coins that were circular, with a rectangular hole in the middle. Coins could be strung together on a rope. Merchants, if they were rich enough, found that the strings were too heavy to carry around easily, especially for large transactions. To solve this problem, coins could be left with a trusted person, with the merchant being given a slip of paper (the receipt) recording how much money they had deposited with that person. When they returned with the paper to that person, their coins would be returned.

True paper money, called "jiaozi", developed from these promissory notes by the 11th century, during the Song dynasty.[20][21] By 960, the Song government was short of copper for striking coins, and issued the first generally circulating notes. These notes were a promise by the ruler to redeem them later for some other object of value, usually specie. The issue of credit notes was often for a limited duration, and at some discount to the promised amount later. The jiaozi did not replace coins but was used alongside them.

The central government soon observed the economic advantages of printing paper money, issuing a monopoly for the issue of these certificates of deposit to several deposit shops. By the early 12th century, the amount of banknotes issued in a single year amounted to an annual rate of 26 million strings of cash coins. By the 1120s the central government started to produce its own state-issued paper money (using woodblock printing).

Even before this point, the Song government was amassing large amounts of paper tribute. It was recorded that each year before 1101, the prefecture of Xin'an (modern Shexian, Anhui) alone would send 1,500,000 sheets of paper in seven different varieties to the capital at Kaifeng. In 1101, the Emperor Huizong of Song decided to lessen the amount of paper taken in the tribute quota, because it was causing detrimental effects and creating heavy burdens on the people of the region. However, the government still needed masses of paper product for the exchange certificates and the state's new issuing of paper money. For the printing of paper money alone, the Song government established several government-run factories in the cities of Huizhou,[which?]Chengdu, Hangzhou, and Anqi.

The workforce employed in these paper money factories was quite large; it was recorded in 1175 that the factory at Hangzhou alone employed more than a thousand workers a day. However, the government issues of paper money were not yet nationwide standards of currency at that point; issues of banknotes were limited to regional areas of the empire, and were valid for use only in a designated and temporary limit of three years.

The geographic limitation changed between 1265 and 1274, when the late southern Song government issued a nationwide paper currency standard, which was backed by gold or silver. The range of varying values for these banknotes was perhaps from one string of cash to one hundred at the most. Ever after 1107, the government printed money in no less than six ink colors and printed notes with intricate designs and sometimes even with mixture of a unique fiber in the paper to combat counterfeiting.

The founder of the Yuan dynasty, Kublai Khan, issued paper money known as Jiaochao. The original notes were restricted by area and duration, as in the Song dynasty, but in the later years, facing massive shortages of specie to fund their rule, the paper money began to be issued without restrictions on duration. Venetian merchants were impressed by the fact that the Chinese paper money was guaranteed by the State.

European explorers and merchants[edit]

According to a travelogue of a visit to Prague in 960 by Ibrahim ibn Yaqub, small pieces of cloth were used as a means of trade, with these cloths having a set exchange rate versus silver.[24]

Around 1150, the Knights Templar would issue notes to pilgrims. Pilgrims would deposit valuables with a local Templar preceptory before embarking for the Holy Land and receive a document indicating the value of their deposit. They would then use that document upon arrival in the Holy Land to receive funds from the treasury of equal value.[25][26]

In the 13th century, Chinese paper money of Mongol Yuan became known in Europe through the accounts of travelers, such as Marco Polo and William of Rubruck.[16][27] Marco Polo's account of paper money during the Yuan dynasty is the subject of a chapter of his book, The Travels of Marco Polo, titled "How the Great Kaan Causeth the Bark of Trees, Made into Something Like Paper, to Pass for Money All Over his Country."[17]

All these pieces of paper are, issued with as much solemnity and authority as if they were of pure gold or silver... with these pieces of paper, made as I have described, Kublai Khan causes all payments on his own account to be made; and he makes them to pass current universally over all his kingdoms and provinces and territories, and whithersoever his power and sovereignty extends... and indeed everybody takes them readily, for wheresoever a person may go throughout the Great Kaan's dominions he shall find these pieces of paper current, and shall be able to transact all sales and purchases of goods by means of them just as well as if they were coins of pure gold

— Marco Polo, The Travels of Marco Polo

In medievalItaly and Flanders, because of the insecurity and impracticality of transporting large sums of cash over long distances, money traders started using promissory notes. In the beginning these were personally registered, but they soon became a written order to pay the amount to whoever had it in their possession. These notes are seen as a predecessor to regular banknotes by some but are mainly thought of as proto bills of exchange and cheques.[28] The term "bank note" comes from the notes of the bank ("nota di banco") and dates from the 14th century; it originally recognized the right of the holder of the note to collect the precious metal (usually gold or silver) deposited with a banker (via a currency account). In the 14th century, it was used in every part of Europe and in Italian city-state merchants colonies outside of Europe. For international payments, the more efficient and sophisticated bill of exchange ("lettera di cambio"), that is, a promissory note based on a virtual currency account (usually a coin no longer physically existing), was used more often. All physical currencies were physically related to this virtual currency; this instrument also served as credit.

Birth of European banknotes[edit]

The shift toward the use of these receipts as a means of payment took place in the mid-17th century, as the price revolution, when relatively rapid gold inflation was causing a re-assessment of how money worked. The goldsmith bankers of London began to give out the receipts as payable to the bearer of the document rather than the original depositor. This meant that the note could be used as currency based on the security of the goldsmith, not the account holder of the goldsmith-banker.[30] The bankers also began issuing a greater value of notes than the total value of their physical reserves in the form of loans, on the assumption that they would not have to redeem all of their issued banknotes at the same time. This pivotal shift changed the simple promissory note into an agency for the expansion of the monetary supply itself. As these receipts were increasingly used in the money circulation system, depositors began to ask for multiple receipts to be made out in smaller, fixed denominations for use as money. The receipts soon became a written order to pay the amount to whoever had possession of the note. These notes are credited as the first modern banknotes.[28][31]

The first short-lived attempt at issuing banknotes by a central bank was in 1661 by Stockholms Banco, a predecessor of Sweden's central bank Sveriges Riksbank.[32] These replaced the copper-plates being used instead as a means of payment.[33] This banknote issue was brought about by the peculiar circumstances of the Swedish coin supply. Cheap foreign imports of copper had forced the Crown to steadily increase the size of the copper coinage to maintain its value relative to silver. The heavy weight of the new coins encouraged merchants to deposit it in exchange for receipts. These became banknotes when the manager of the Bank decoupled the rate of note issue from the bank currency reserves. Three years later, the bank went bankrupt, after rapidly increasing the artificial money supply through the large-scale printing of paper money. A new bank, the Riksens Ständers Bank was established in 1668, but did not issue banknotes until the 19th century.[34]

Permanent issue of banknotes[edit]

The sealing of the Bank of EnglandCharter (1694). The Bank began the first permanent issue of banknotes a year later.

The modern banknote rests on the assumption that money is determined by a social and legal consensus. A gold coin's value is simply a reflection of the supply and demand mechanism of a society exchanging goods in a free market, as opposed to stemming from any intrinsic property of the metal. By the late 17th century, this new conceptual outlook helped to stimulate the issue of banknotes. The economist Nicholas Barbon wrote that money "was an imaginary value made by a law for the convenience of exchange."[35] A temporary experiment of banknote issue was carried out by Sir William Phips as the Governor of the Province of Massachusetts Bay in 1690 to help fund the war effort against France.[36]

The first bank to initiate the permanent issue of banknotes was the Bank of England. Established in 1694 to raise money for the funding of the war against France, the bank began issuing notes in 1695 with the promise to pay the bearer the value of the note on demand. They were initially handwritten to a precise amount and issued on deposit or as a loan. There was a gradual move toward the issuance of fixed denomination notes, and by 1745, standardized printed notes ranging from £20 to £1,000 were being printed. Fully printed notes that did not require the name of the payee and the cashier's signature first appeared in 1855.[37]

The Scottish economist John Law helped establish banknotes as a formal currency in France, after the wars waged by Louis XIV left the country with a shortage of precious metals for coinage.

In the United States there were early attempts at establishing a central bank in 1791 and 1816, but it was only in 1862 that the federal government of the United States began to print banknotes.

Central bank issuance of legal tender[edit]

Originally, the banknote was simply a promise to the bearer that they could redeem it for its value in specie, but in 1833 the second in a series of Bank Charter Acts established that banknotes would be considered as legal tender during peacetime.[38]

Until the mid-nineteenth century, commercial banks were able to issue their own banknotes, and notes issued by provincial banking companies were the common form of currency throughout England, outside London.[39] The Bank Charter Act of 1844, which established the modern central bank,[40] restricted authorisation to issue new banknotes to the Bank of England, which would henceforth have sole control of the money supply in 1921. At the same time, the Bank of England was restricted to issue new banknotes only if they were 100% backed by gold or up to £14 million in government debt. The Act gave the Bank of England an effective monopoly over the note issue from 1928.[41][42]

Issue of banknotes[edit]

Collage for banknote design with annotations and additions to show proposed changes (figure rather higher so as to allow room for the No.), Bank of Manchester, UK, 1833. On display at the British Museum in London

Generally, a central bank or treasury is solely responsible within a state or currency union for the issue of banknotes. However, this is not always the case, and historically the paper currency of countries was often handled entirely by private banks. Thus, many different banks or institutions may have issued banknotes in a given country. Commercial banks in the United States had legally issued banknotes before there was a national currency; however, these became subject to government authorization from 1863 to 1932. In the last of these series, the issuing bank would stamp its name and promise to pay, along with the signatures of its president and cashier on a preprinted note. By this time, the notes were standardized in appearance and not too different from Federal Reserve Notes.

A$5 note issued by Citizens Bank of Louisiana in the 1850s.

In a small number of countries, private banknote issue continues to this day. For example, by virtue of the complex constitutional setup in the United Kingdom, certain commercial banks in two of the state's four constituent countries (Scotland and Northern Ireland) continue to print their own banknotes for domestic circulation, even though they are not fiat money or declared in law as legal tender anywhere. The UK's central bank, the Bank of England, prints notes which are legal tender in England and Wales; these notes are also usable as money (but not legal tender) in the rest of the UK (see Banknotes of the pound sterling).

In the two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China, arrangements are similar to those in the UK; in Hong Kong, three commercial banks are licensed to issue Hong Kong dollar notes,[43] and in Macau, banknotes of the Macanese pataca are issued by two different commercial banks. In Luxembourg, the Banque Internationale à Luxembourg was entitled to issue its own Luxembourgish franc notes until the introduction of the Euro in 1999.[44]

As well as commercial issuers, other organizations may have note-issuing powers; for example, until 2002 the Singapore dollar was issued by the Board of Commissioners of Currency Singapore, a government agency which was later taken over by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.[43]

As with any printing, there is also a chance for banknotes to have printing errors. For U.S. banknotes, these errors can include board break errors, butterfly fold errors, cutting errors, dual denomination errors, fold over errors, and misalignment errors.[45]

Advantages and disadvantages[edit]

When Brazil changed currencies in 1989, the 1000, 5000, and 10,000 cruzadosbanknotes were overstamped and issued as 1, 5, and 10 cruzados novosbanknotes for several months before cruzado novo banknotes were printed and issued. Banknotes can be overstamped with new denominations, typically when a country converts to a new currency at an even, fixed exchange rate (in this case, 1000:1).

Prior to the introduction of banknotes, precious or semiprecious metals minted into coins to certify their substance were widely used as a medium of exchange. The value that people attributed to coins was originally based upon the value of the metal unless they were token issues or had been debased. Banknotes were originally a claim for the coins held by the bank, but due to the ease with which they could be transferred and the confidence that people had in the capacity of the bank to settle the notes in coin if presented, they became a popular means of exchange in their own right. They now make up a very small proportion of the "money" that people think that they have as demand deposit bank accounts and electronic payments have negated the need to carry notes and coins.

Banknotes have a natural advantage over coins in that they are lighter to carry, but they are also less durable than coins. Banknotes issued by commercial banks had counterparty risk, meaning that the bank may not be able to make payment when the note was presented. Notes issued by central banks had a theoretical risk when they were backed by gold and silver. Both banknotes and coins are subject to inflation. The durability of coins means that even if metal coins melt in a fire or are submerged under the sea for hundreds of years they still have some value when they are recovered. Gold coins salvaged from shipwrecks retain almost all of their original appearance, but silver coins slowly corrode.[46][47]

Other costs of using bearer money include:

  1. Discounting to face value: Before national currencies and efficient clearing houses, banknotes were only redeemable at face value at the issuing bank. Even a branch bank could discount notes of other branches of the same bank. The discounts usually increased with distance from the issuing bank. The discount also depended on the perceived safety of the bank. When banks failed, the notes were usually partly redeemed out of reserves, but sometimes became worthless.[49] The problem of discounting within a country does not exist with national currencies; however, under floating exchange rates currencies are valued relative to one another in the foreign exchange market.
  2. Counterfeiting paper notes has always been a problem, especially since the introduction of color photocopiers and computer image scanners. Numerous banks and nations have incorporated many types of countermeasures in order to keep the money secure. However, extremely sophisticated counterfeit notes known as superdollars have been detected in recent years.
  3. Manufacturing or issue costs. Coins are produced by industrial manufacturing methods that process the precious or semi-precious metals, and require additions of alloy for hardness and wear resistance. By contrast, bank notes are printed paper (or polymer), and typically have a higher cost of issue, especially in larger denominations, compared with coins of the same value.
  4. Wear costs. Banknotes don't lose economic value by wear, since, even if they are in poor condition, they are still a legally valid claim on the issuing bank. However, banks of issue do have to pay the cost of replacing banknotes in poor condition, and paper notes wear out much faster than coins.
  5. Cost of transport. Coins can be expensive to transport for high value transactions, but banknotes can be issued in large denominations that are lighter than the equivalent value in coins.
  6. Cost of acceptance. Coins can be checked for authenticity by weighing and other forms of examination and testing. These costs can be significant, but good quality coin design and manufacturing can help reduce these costs. Banknotes also have an acceptance cost – the expense of checking the banknote's security features and confirming acceptability of the issuing bank.

The different advantages and disadvantages of coins and banknotes imply that there may be an ongoing role for both forms of bearer money, each being used where its advantages outweigh its disadvantages.

Materials used for banknotes[edit]

Paper banknotes[edit]

Obverse and reverse of an old American $100 note (1928)

Most banknotes are made from cotton paper with a weight of 80 to 90 grams per square meter. The cotton is sometimes mixed with linen, abaca, or other textile fibres. Generally, the paper used is different from ordinary paper: it is much more resilient, resists wear and tear (the average life of a banknote is two years),[50] and also does not contain the usual agents that make ordinary paper glow slightly under ultraviolet light. Unlike most printing and writing paper, banknote paper is infused with polyvinyl alcohol or gelatin, instead of water, to give it extra strength. Early Chinese banknotes were printed on paper made of mulberry bark. Mitsumata (Edgeworthia chrysantha) and other fibers are used in Japanese banknote paper[51] (a kind of Washi).

Most banknotes are made using the mould made process in which a watermark and thread is incorporated during the paper forming process. The thread is a simple looking security component found in most banknotes. It is however often rather complex in construction comprising fluorescent, magnetic, metallic and micro print elements. By combining it with watermarking technology the thread can be made to surface periodically on one side only. This is known as windowed thread and further increases the counterfeit resistance of the banknote paper. This process was invented by Portals, part of the De La Rue group in the UK. Other related methods include watermarking to reduce the number of corner folds by strengthening this part of the note. Varnishing and coatings reduce the accumulation of dirt on the note for longer durability in circulation.

Another security feature is based on windows in the paper which are covered by holographic foils to make it very hard to copy. Such technology is applied as a portrait window for the higher denominations of the Europa series (ES2) of the euro banknotes.[52] Windows are also used with the Hybrid substrate from Giesecke+Devrient which is composed of an inner layer of paper substrate with thin outer layers of plastic film for high durability.[53]

History of counterfeiting and security measures[edit]

When paper bank notes were first introduced in England, they resulted in a dramatic rise in counterfeiting.[citation needed] The attempts by the Bank of England and the Royal Mint to stamp out currency crime led to new policing strategies, including the increased use of entrapment.[54]

The characteristics of banknotes, their materials and production techniques (as well as their development over history) are topics that normally aren't thoroughly examined by historians, even though now there are a number of works detailing how bank notes were actually constructed. This is mostly due to the fact that historians prioritize the theoretical understanding of how money worked rather than how it was produced.[55] The first great deterrent against counterfeiting was the death penalty for forgers, but this wasn't enough to stop the rise of counterfeiting. Over the eighteenth century, far fewer banknotes were circulating in England compared to the boom of bank notes in the nineteenth century; because of this, improving note-making techniques wasn't considered a compelling issue.

In the eighteenth century, banknotes were produced mainly through copper-plate engraving and printing and they were single-sided. Notes making technologies remained basically the same during the eighteenth century[56] The first banknotes were produced through the so-called intaglio printing, a technique that consisted of engraving a copper plate by hand and then covering it in ink to print the bank notes. Only with this technique it was possible, at that time, to force the paper into the lines of the engraving and to make suitable banknotes. Another factor that made it harder to counterfeit banknotes was the paper, since the type of paper used for banknotes was rather different from the paper commercially available at that time. Despite this, some forgers managed to successfully forge notes by getting involved with and consulting paper makers, in order to make a similar kind of paper by themselves.[57] Furthermore, watermarked paper was also used since banknotes first appeared; it involved the sewing of a thin wire frame into paper mould. Watermarks for notes were first used in 1697 by a Berkshire paper maker whose name was Rice Watkins.[57] Watermarks, together with a special paper type, were supposed to make it harder and more expensive to forge banknotes, since more complex and expensive paper making machines were needed in order to make them.

At the beginning of the nineteenth century (the so-called Bank Restriction Period, 1797-1821), the dramatically increased demand of bank notes slowly forced the banks to refine the technologies employed.[57] In 1801, watermarks, which previously were straight lines, became wavy, thanks to the idea of a watermark mould maker whose name was William Brewer. This made even harder the counterfeiting of bank notes, at least in the short term, since in 1803 the number of forged bank notes fell to just 3000, compared to 5000 of the previous year[58] In the same period, bank notes also started to become double-sided and with more complex patterns, and banks asked skilled engravers and artists to help them make their notes harder to counterfeit (episode labelled by historians as "the search for the inimitable banknote").[59]

The ease with which paper money can be created, by both legitimate authorities and counterfeiters, has led both to a temptation in times of crisis such as war or revolution to produce paper money which was not supported by precious metal or other goods, thus leading to Hyperinflation and a loss of faith in the value of paper money, e.g. the Continental Currency produced by the Continental Congress during the American Revolution, the Assignats produced during the French Revolution, the paper currency produced by the Confederate States of America and the individual states of the Confederate States of America, the financing of World War I by the Central Powers (by 1922 1 gold Austro-Hungarian krone of 1914 was worth 14,400 paper Kronen), the devaluation of the Yugoslav Dinar in the 1990s, etc. Banknotes may also be overprinted to reflect political changes that occur faster than new currency can be printed.

In 1988, Austria produced the 5000 Schilling banknote (Mozart), which is the first foil application (Kinegram) to a paper banknote in the history of banknote printing. The application of optical features is now in common use throughout the world. Many countries' banknotes now have embedded holograms.

Polymer banknotes[edit]

Main article: Polymer banknote

In 1983, Costa Rica and Haiti issued the first Tyvek and the Isle of Man issued the first Bradvek polymer (or plastic) banknotes; these were printed by the American Banknote Company and developed by DuPont. These early plastic notes were plagued with issues such as ink wearing off and were discontinued. In 1988, after significant research and development in Australia by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the Reserve Bank of Australia, Australia produced the first polymer banknote made from biaxially-oriented polypropylene (plastic), and in 1996, it became the first country to have a full set of circulating polymer banknotes of all denominations completely replacing its paper banknotes. Since then, other countries to adopt circulating polymer banknotes include Bangladesh, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Israel, Malaysia, Mexico, Nepal, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Romania, Samoa, Singapore, the Solomon Islands, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom, Uruguay, Vietnam, and Zambia, with other countries issuing commemorative polymer notes, including China, Kuwait, the Northern Bank of Northern Ireland, Taiwan and Hong Kong.[60] Another country indicating plans to issue polymer banknotes is Nigeria.[citation needed] In 2005, Bulgaria issued the world's first hybrid paper-polymer banknote.[citation needed]

Polymer banknotes were developed to improve durability and prevent counterfeiting through incorporated security features, such as optically variable devices that are extremely difficult to reproduce.

Other materials[edit]

Over the years, a number of materials other than paper have been used to print banknotes. This includes various textiles, including silk, and materials such as leather.[62]

Silk and other fibers have been commonly used in the manufacture of various banknote papers, intended to provide both additional durability and security. Crane and Company patented banknote paper with embedded silk threads in 1844 and has supplied paper to the United States Treasury since 1879. Banknotes printed on pure silk "paper" include "emergency money" Notgeld issues from a number of German towns in 1923 during a period of fiscal crisis and hyperinflation. Most notoriously, Bielefeld produced a number of silk, leather, velvet, linen and wood issues. These issues were produced primarily for collectors, rather than for circulation. They are in demand by collectors. Banknotes printed on cloth include a number of Communist Revolutionary issues in China from areas such as Xinjiang, or Sinkiang, in the United Islamic Republic of East Turkestan in 1933. Emergency money was also printed in 1902 on khaki shirt fabric during the Boer War.

Cotton fibers together with 25% linen is the material of the banknotes in the United States. Leather banknotes (or coins) were issued in a number of sieges, as well as in other times of emergency. During the Russian administration of Alaska, banknotes were printed on sealskin. A number of 19th century issues are known in Germanic and Estonia, including the places of Dorpat, Pernau, Reval, Werro and Woiseck. In addition to the Bielefeld issues, other German leather Notgeld from 1923 is known from Borna, Osterwieck, Paderborn and Pößneck.

Other issues from 1923 were printed on wood, which was also used in Canada in 1763–1764 during Pontiac's Rebellion, and by the Hudson's Bay Company. In 1848, in Bohemia, wooden checkerboard pieces were used as money.

Even playing cards were used for currency in France in the early 19th century, and in French Canada from 1685 until 1757, the Colony of Louisiana, Dutch Guiana, and in the Isle of Man in the beginning of the 19th century, and again in Germany after World War I.

Most recently, Bisphenol S (BPS), has been frequently used in the production of banknotes worldwide. BPS is an endocrine disruptor that is subject to human dermal absorption through handling banknotes.[63]

Vertical orientation[edit]

The Colombian 50,000 peso note, presented in a vertical format.

Vertical currency is a type of currency in which the orientation has been changed from the conventional horizontal orientation to a vertical orientation. Dowling Duncan, a self-touted multidisciplinary design studio, conducted a study in which they determined people tend to handle and deal with money vertically rather than horizontally, especially when the currency is processed through ATM and other money machines. They also note how money transactions are conducted vertically not horizontally.[64]Bermuda, Cape Verde, Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States, Israel, Switzerland, and Venezuela have adopted vertically oriented currency, although Israel and Cape Verde have now reverted to horizontal orientation.[65]

Since 1979, Sri Lanka has printed the reverse of its banknotes vertically. Between 1993 and 2013, Brazil has printed banknotes of 5000 and 50000 cruzeiros reais and the first Brazilian real series of banknotes has the obverse in traditional horizontal layout, while the reverse is in vertical format. The 2018 Hong Kong dollar banknotes series too has the obverse in traditional horizontal layout, while the reverse is in vertical format.[66]

Early Chinese banknotes were also vertical, due to the direction of Chinese writing.

The 2018 Canadian $10 bill featuring a portrait of Canadian civil rights pioneer Viola Desmond is presented in a vertical format.[67][68] The Northern Irish £5 and £10 notes issued by Ulster Bank for 2019 will also be presented in this way.[69]

Vending machines and banknotes[edit]

In the late 20th century, vending machines were designed to recognize banknotes of the smaller values long after they were designed to recognize coins distinct from slugs.[where?] This capability has become inescapable in economies where inflation has not been followed by introduction of progressively larger coin denominations (such as the United States, where several attempts to make dollar coins popular in general circulation have largely failed). The existing infrastructure of such machines presents one of the difficulties in changing the design of these banknotes to make them less counterfeitable, that is, by adding additional features so easily discernible by people that they would immediately reject banknotes of inferior quality, for every machine in the country would have to be updated.[citation needed]


A 5 euro noteso badly damaged it has been torn in half. The note has later been repaired with tape.

A banknote is removed from circulation because of everyday wear and tear from its handling. Banknotes are passed through a banknote sorting machine for determining authenticity and fitness for circulation, or may be classified unfit for circulation if they are worn, dirty, soiled, damaged, mutilated or torn. Unfit notes are returned to the central bank for secure online destruction by high-speed banknote sorting machines using a cross-cut shredder device similar to a paper shredder with security level P-5 (pieces smaller than 30 mm²) according to the standard DIN 66399–2. This small size decomposes a banknote into typically more than 500 tiny pieces and rules out reconstruction like a jigsaw puzzle because the shreds from many banknotes are commingled.

A subsequent briquettor compresses shredded paper material into a small cylindrical or rectangular form for the disposal (e. g. landfill or burning[70]) Before the 1990s, unfit banknotes were destroyed by incineration with a higher risk of manipulations.

When a Federal Reserve Bank of the United States receives a cash deposit from a commercial bank or another financial institution, it checks the individual notes to determine whether they are fit for future circulation.[71] About one-third of the notes that the Fed receives are unfit, and the Fed destroys them. US dollar banknotes last an average of more than five years.[72]

Contaminated banknotes are also decommissioned and removed from circulation, primarily to prevent the spread of diseases. A Canadian government report indicates:

Types of contaminants include: notes found on a corpse, stagnant water, contaminated by human or animal body fluids such as urine, feces, vomit, infectious blood, fine hazardous powders from detonated explosives, dye pack and/or drugs...[73]

In the US, the nickname "Fed Shreds" refers to paper money which has been shredded after becoming unfit for circulation. Although these shredded banknotes are generally landfilled, they are sometimes sold or given away in small bags as souvenirs or as briquettes.[74]

Polymer banknotes may be shredded and then melted down and recycled to form plastic products like building components, plumbing fittings, or compost bins.[75]

Intelligent banknote neutralisation systems[edit]

Intelligent banknote neutralisation systems (IBNS) are security systems which render banknotes unusable by marking them permanently as stolen with a degradation agent. Marked (stained) banknotes cannot be brought back into circulation easily and can be linked to the crime scene. Today's most used degradation agent is a special security ink which cannot be removed from the banknote easily and not without destroying the banknote itself, but other agents also exist. Today IBNSs are used to protect banknotes in automated teller machines, retail machines, and during cash-in-transit operations.

Dynamic Intelligent Currency Encryption[edit]

Dynamic Intelligent Currency Encryption (DICE) is a security technology introduced in 2014 by British company EDAQS, which devaluates banknotes remotely that are illegal or have been stolen. The technology is based on identifiable banknotes - that could be an RFID chip or a barcode - and connects to a digital security system to verify the validity of the banknote. The company claims that the banknotes are unforgeable and contribute to solve cash-related problems as well as fight crime and terrorism. In another note, the DICE benefits cover and solve almost all cash-related issues that are seen by governments to be a motivation for the progressive abolition of cash.[76][77]

Confiscation and asset forfeiture[edit]

In the United States there are many laws that allow the confiscation of cash and other assets from the bearer if there is suspicion that the money came from an illegal activity.[78] Because a significant amount of U.S. currency contains traces of cocaine and other illegal drugs, it is not uncommon for innocent people searched at airports or stopped for traffic violations to have cash in their possession sniffed by dogs for drugs and then have the cash seized because the dog smelled drugs on the money. It is then up to the owner of the money to prove where the cash came from at his own expense. Many people simply forfeit the money.[79] In 1994, the United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, held in the case of UNITED STATES of America v. U.S. CURRENCY, $30,060.00 (39 F.3d 1039 63 USLW 2351, No. 92-55919) that the widespread presence of illegal substances on paper currency in the Los Angeles area created a situation where the reaction of a drug-sniffing dog would not create probable cause for civil forfeiture.[80]

Paper money collecting as a hobby[edit]

Main article: Notaphily

Banknote collecting, or notaphily, is a slowly growing area of numismatics. Although generally not as widespread as coin and stamp collecting, the hobby is slowly expanding. Prior to the 1990s, currency collecting was a relatively small adjunct to coin collecting, but currency auctions and greater public awareness of paper money have caused more interest in rare banknotes and consequently their increased value.[citation needed] The most valuable banknote is the $1000 bill issued in 1890 that was sold at an auction for $2,255,000.


For years, the mode of collecting banknotes was through a handful of mail order dealers who issued price lists and catalogs. In the early 1990s, it became more common for rare notes to be sold at various coin and currency shows via auction. The illustrated catalogs and "event nature" of the auction practice seemed to fuel a sharp rise in overall awareness of paper money in the numismatic community. The emergence of currency third party grading services (similar to services that grade and "slab", or encapsulate, coins) also may have increased collector and investor interest in notes. Entire advanced collections are often sold at one time, and to this day single auctions can generate millions in gross sales. Today, eBay has surpassed auctions in terms of highest volume of sales of banknotes.[81][82][83] However, rare banknotes still sell for much less than comparable rare coins. This disparity is diminishing as paper money prices continue to rise. A few rare and historical banknotes have sold for more than a million dollars.[84]

There are many different organizations and societies around the world for the hobby, including the International Bank Note Society (IBNS), which currently assert to have around 2,000 members in 90 countries.[85]


The universal appeal and instant recognition of bank notes has resulted in a plethora of novelty merchandise that is designed to have the appearance of paper currency. These items cover nearly every class of product. Cloth material printed with bank note patterns is used for clothing, bed linens, curtains, upholstery and more. Acrylic paperweights and even toilet seats with bank notes embedded inside are also common. Items that resemble stacks of bank notes and can be used as a seat or ottoman are also available.

Manufacturers of these items must take into consideration when creating these products whether the product could be construed as counterfeiting. Overlapping note images and/or changing the dimensions of the reproduction to be at least 50% smaller or 50% larger than the original are some ways to avoid the risk of being considered a counterfeit. But in cases where realism is the goal, other steps may be necessary. For example, in the stack of bank notes seat mentioned earlier, the decal used to create the product would be considered counterfeit. However, once the decal has been affixed to the resin stack shell and cannot be peeled off, the final product is no longer at risk of being classified as counterfeit, even though the resulting appearance is realistic.

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^"Legal Tender Guidelines". British Royal Mint. Archived from the original on 17 December 2008. Retrieved 2 September 2007.
  2. ^Hammurabi (1903). Translated by Sommer, Otto. "Code of Hammurabi, King of Babylon". Records of the Past. Washington, DC: Records of the Past Exploration Society. 2 (3): 75. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  3. ^Hammurabi (1904). "Code of Hammurabi, King of Babylon"(PDF). Liberty Fund. Translated by Harper, Robert Francis (2nd ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 35. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  4. ^ abHammurabi (1910). "Code of Hammurabi, King of Babylon". Avalon Project. Translated by King, Leonard William. New Haven, CT: Yale Law School. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  5. ^Hammurabi (1903). Translated by Sommer, Otto. "Code of Hammurabi, King of Babylon". Records of the Past. Washington, DC: Records of the Past Exploration Society. 2 (3): 77. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  6. ^Hammurabi (1904). "Code of Hammurabi, King of Babylon"(PDF). Liberty Fund. Translated by Harper, Robert Francis (2nd ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 43. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  7. ^"NOVA - The History of Money".
  8. ^"Ancient Roman IOUs Found Beneath Bloomberg's New London HQ". 1 June 2016. Retrieved 9 June 2018.
  9. ^Jones, John Percival (1890). Speeches of J.P. Jones: Money and Tariff, 1890-93.
  10. ^Moulton, Luther Vanhorn (1880). The Science of Money and American Finances. Co-operative Press. p. 134.
  11. ^Wells, H. G. (1921). The outline of history, being a plain history of life and mankind. New York: The Macmillan Company.
  12. ^ abcWilliam N. Goetzmann; K. Geert Rouwenhorst (1 August 2005). The Origins of Value: The Financial Innovations that Created Modern Capital Markets. Oxford University Press. p. 94. ISBN .
  13. ^ abcMarco Polo (1818). The Travels of Marco Polo, a Venetian, in the Thirteenth Century: Being a Description, by that Early Traveller, of Remarkable Places and Things, in the Eastern Parts of the World. pp. 353–355. Retrieved 19 September 2012.
  14. ^"Chapter 12: Security Printing and Seals"(PDF). Security Engineering: A Guide to Building Dependable Distributed Systems. p. 245.
  15. ^Peter Bernholz (2003). Monetary Regimes and Inflation: History, Economic and Political Relationships. Edward Elgar Publishing. p. 53. ISBN .
  16. ^Daniel R. Headrick (1 April 2009). Technology: A World History. Oxford University Press. p. 85. ISBN .
  17. ^Jankowiak, Marek. Dirhams for slaves. Medieval Seminar, All Souls, 2012, p.8
  18. ^Sarnowsky, Jürgen (2011). Templar Order. doi:10.1163/1877-5888_rpp_com_125078. ISBN .
  19. ^Martin, Sean (2004). The Knights Templar: The History and Myths of the Legendary Military Order (1st ed.). New York: Thunder's Mouth Press. ISBN . OCLC 57175151.
  20. ^Moshenskyi, Sergii (2008). History of the weksel: Bill of exchange and promissory note. p. 55. ISBN .
  21. ^ abDe Geschiedenis van het Geld (the History of Money), 1992, Teleac, page 96
  22. ^"Sverige, Palmstruchska banken, Kreditsedel 10 daler silvermynt, 17 april 1666" [Europe's first banknotes]. Alvin (in Swedish).
  23. ^Faure AP (6 April 2013). "Money Creation: Genesis 2: Goldsmith-Bankers and Bank Notes". Social Science Research Network. SSRN 2244977.
  24. ^Vincent Lannoye (2011). The History of Money for Understanding Economics. Vincent Lannoye. p. 132. ISBN .
  25. ^Geisst, Charles R. (2005). Encyclopedia of American business history. New York. p. 39. ISBN .
  26. ^
  27. ^"The first European banknote". Cité de l’économie et de la monnaie.
  28. ^Nicholas Barbon, Discourse on Trade, 1690. p.37
  29. ^Patrick Dillon (2007). The Last Revolution: 1688 and the Creation of the Modern World. Random House. pp. 344–346. ISBN .
  30. ^"A brief history of banknotes". Bank of England. Archived from the original on 29 September 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
  31. ^"Currency and Bank Notes Act, 1928"(PDF). Retrieved 17 December 2012.
  32. ^"£2 note issued by Evans, Jones, Davies & Co". British Museum. Archived from the original on 18 January 2012. Retrieved 31 October 2011.
  33. ^Capie, Forrest; Fischer, Stanley; Goodhart, Charles; Schnadt, Norbert (1994). "The development of central banking". The future of central banking: the tercentenary symposium of the Bank of England. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN . Retrieved 17 December 2012 – via LSE Research Online.
  34. ^Jeffrey A. Tucker (16 September 2010). "Yesterday was a Historic Day". Mises Wire. Mises Institute. Archived from the original on 18 September 2010. Retrieved 17 September 2010.
  35. ^Horsefield, J. K. (November 1944). "The Origins of the Bank Charter Act, 1844". Economica. New. 11 (44): 180–189. doi:10.2307/2549352. JSTOR 2549352.
  36. ^ abCommittee on Payment and Settlement Systems (August 2003). "The Role of Central Bank Money in Payment Systems"(PDF). Bank for International Settlements. p. 96. Archived(PDF) from the original on 9 September 2008. Retrieved 14 August 2008.
  37. ^"BIL's history". Banque Internationale à Luxembourg. Retrieved 13 December 2013.
  38. ^"Error Is Human: Part I - PMG". Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  39. ^Famous shipwrecks from which valuable precious metals and coins were recovered in recent years include the Atocha and the SS Central America. Shipwreck coins are highly collectible, and dealers post photos on the internet.
  40. ^"Virtual Shipwreck and Hoard Map by Daniel Frank Sedwick, LLC".
  41. ^Taylor, George Rogers (1951). The Transportation Revolution, 1815–1860. New York, Toronto: Rinehart & Co. ISBN .
  42. ^"The Banknote Lifecycle – from Design to Destruction". De La Rue. Archived from the original on 13 May 2012.
  43. ^"Banknote Production Process". [Japanese] National Printing Bureau. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  44. ^"Security features. Europa series €100 banknote". European Central Bank. 2019. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  45. ^"Hybrid Banknote Substrate". Papierfabrik Louisenthal. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  46. ^Crymble, Adam (2018). "How Criminal were the Irish? Bias in the Detection of London Currency Crime, 1797-1821". The London Journal. 43 (1): 36–52. doi:10.1080/03058034.2016.1270876.
  47. ^Mockford, 2014; pp. 118-119 quote="Detailed discussion of the material characteristics of Bank Notes, as well as the methods used in their construction, have therefore tended to constitute merely a footnote in historical works that have often prioritised both contemporary and modern theoretical understandings of money and exchange."
  48. ^Mockford, 2014; p. 121 quote="The technologies employed by the Bank in the making of its notes were ones that altered very little throughout the course of the long eighteenth century, with major changes not occurring until well after the close of this period."
  49. ^ abcMockford, 2014; pp. 122-123
  50. ^Mockford, 2014; pp. 126
  51. ^Mockford, 2014; p. 127
  52. ^"Our Currency". About Australia. Australian Government. Archived from the original on 7 June 2011. Retrieved 19 July 2011.
  53. ^Walter Grasser / Albert Pick: Das Bielefelder Stoffgeld 1917 - 1923, Berlin 1972 (German)
  54. ^S.K. Singh, Bank Regulation, Discovery Publishing House, New Delhi, 2009, pp.26-27.
  55. ^Liao C; Liu F; Kannan K (2012). "Bisphenol S, a New Bisphenol Analogue, in Paper Products and Currency Bills and Its Association with Bisphenol A Residues". Environmental Science & Technology. 46 (12): 6515–6522. doi:10.1021/es300876n. PMID 22591511.
  56. ^"Dowling Duncan redesign the US banknotes". Dowling | Duncan. 14 August 2010. Archived from the original on 23 April 2011. Retrieved 15 August 2012.
  57. ^"Israel's New Banknotes". Bank of Israel.
  58. ^"2018 New Series Hong Kong Banknotes" (Press release). Hong Kong Monetary Authority. 24 July 2018. Retrieved 24 July 2018.
  59. ^Brett Bundale (8 March 2018). "Canada unveils $10 bill featuring civil rights icon Viola Desmond". The Star. Toronto Star Newspapers. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  60. ^"New $10 bank note featuring Viola Desmond unveiled on International Women's Day" (Press release). Bank of Canada. 8 March 2018. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  61. ^"Ulster Bank reveals 'vertical' banknotes". The Irish News. 24 May 2018. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
  62. ^Hungarians burn shredded money to stay warm (Motion picture). Agence France-Presse. 2012..
  63. ^"Fitness Guidelines for Federal Reserve Notes"(PDF). Federal Reserve System Cash Product Office (CPO). 7 February 2019. Retrieved 10 July 2019.
  64. ^"How Currency Gets into Circulation". Federal Reserve Bank of New York. 2013. Retrieved 9 July 2019.
  65. ^Trichur, Rita (28 September 2007). "Bankers wipe out dirty money". Toronto Star. Archived from the original on 16 October 2007. Retrieved 28 September 2007.
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Paper Money

For the form of currency, see Banknote.

1974 studio album by Montrose

Paper Money (1974) is the second album by the American hard rock band Montrose. It was produced by Ted Templeman and is the band's final recording with original vocalist Sammy Hagar. It marks the arrival of new bass player Alan Fitzgerald, replacing original bassist Bill Church.


Paper Money was the band's highest-charting release, reaching No. 65 on the Billboard200.[3] To promote the album, the band appeared live on The Midnight Special television show, performing "Paper Money" and "I Got the Fire".

After building acrimony between Ronnie Montrose and Sammy Hagar reached a peak during the band's 1974–75 European tour to promote Paper Money, Hagar parted ways with the band in early February 1975 and was replaced by vocalist Bob James.

Although the liner notes for the CD edition of Paper Money state that Ronnie Montrose was offered the lead guitar slot for Mott the Hoople when he left the Edgar Winter Group, the guitarist has stated that this never happened.

Track listing[edit]

Credits adapted from the album liner notes.[4]

5."I Got the Fire"Montrose3:06
6."Spaceage Sacrifice"Hagar, Montrose4:55
7."We're Going Home"Montrose4:52
8."Paper Money"Hagar, Montrose5:01

Paper Money (2017 rerelease bonus)[edit]

On October 13, 2017, Rhino Entertainment released a Deluxe Edition. The bonus disc tracks are from a session on KSAN radio from the Record Plant in Sausalito, California on December 26, 1974.


Additional musicians
  • Mark Jordan – piano on "Connection"
  • Nick DeCaro – mellotron on "We're Going Home"
  • Charles Faris – special effects


Other sources[edit]

  • Montrose; Paper Money liner notes; Warner Brothers Records 1974

United States dollar

Official currency of the United States

"USD" redirects here. For other uses, see USD (disambiguation).

United States dollar
 100Union (slang)
 1,000Grand, rack (slang), band (slang)
 1⁄20Nickel or half dime
 1⁄100Cent or penny
Symbol$, US$, U$
 Cent or penny¢

List of nicknames

  • Ace, bean, bill, bone, buck, deuce, dub, ducat, doubloon, fin, frog, greenback, large, simoleons, skins, smackeroo, smackers, spondulix, Tom, yard, and eagle
  • Plural:
  • dead presidents, green, bones, clams
  • Based on denomination:
  • Washingtons, Jeffersons, Lincolns, Hamiltons, Jacksons, Grants, and Benjamins, C-note, grand, sawbuck, single, Bluefaces
 Freq. used$1, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100
 Rarely used$2 (still printed); $500, $1,000, $5,000, $10,000 (discontinued, still legal tender)
 Freq. used1¢, 5¢, 10¢, 25¢
 Rarely used50¢, $1 (still minted); ½¢2¢, 3¢ (Nickel); 3¢ (Silver); 20¢, $2.50, $3, $20 (discontinued, still legal tender); $5, $10 (legal tender, now commemorative only)
Date of introductionApril 2, 1792; 229 years ago (1792-04-02)
ReplacedContinental currency
Various foreign currencies, including:
Pound sterling
Spanish dollar
Central bankFederal Reserve
PrinterBureau of Engraving and Printing
MintUnited States Mint
Inflation5.37%, July 2021
Pegged by

The United States dollar (symbol: $; code: USD; also abbreviated US$ or U.S. Dollar, to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies; referred to as the dollar, U.S. dollar, American dollar, or colloquially buck) is the official currency of the United States and its territories. The Coinage Act of 1792 introduced the U.S. dollar at par with the Spanish silver dollar, divided it into 100 cents, and authorized the minting of coins denominated in dollars and cents. U.S. banknotes are issued in the form of Federal Reserve Notes, popularly called greenbacks due to their historically predominantly green color.

The monetary policy of the United States is conducted by the Federal Reserve System, which acts as the nation's central bank.

The U.S. dollar was originally defined under a bimetallic standard of 371.25 grains (24.057 g) fine silver or, from 1837, 23.22 grains (1.505 g) fine gold, or $20.67 per troy ounce. The Gold Standard Act of 1900 linked the dollar solely to gold. From 1934 its equivalence to gold was revised to $35 per troy ounce. Since 1971 all links to gold have been repealed. [6]

The U.S. dollar became an important international reserve currency after the First World War, and displaced the pound sterling as the world's primary reserve currency by the Bretton Woods Agreement towards the end of the Second World War. The dollar is the most widely used currency in international transactions. [7] It is also the official currency in several countries and the de facto currency in many others, [8][9] with Federal Reserve Notes (and, in a few cases, U.S. coins) used in circulation.

As of February 10, 2021, currency in circulation amounted to US$2.10 trillion, $2.05 trillion of which is in Federal Reserve Notes (the remaining $50 billion is in the form of coins and older-style United States Notes).[10]


In the Constitution[edit]

Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution provides that Congress has the power "[t]o coin money."[11] Laws implementing this power are currently codified in Title 31 of the U.S. Code, under Section 5112, which prescribes the forms in which the United States dollars should be issued.[12] These coins are both designated in the section as "legal tender" in payment of debts.[12] The Sacagawea dollar is one example of the copper alloy dollar, in contrast to the American Silver Eagle which is pure silver. Section 5112 also provides for the minting and issuance of other coins, which have values ranging from one cent (U.S. Penny) to 100 dollars.[12] These other coins are more fully described in Coins of the United States dollar.

Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution provides that "a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time,"[13] which is further specified by Section 331 of Title 31 of the U.S. Code.[14] The sums of money reported in the "Statements" are currently expressed in U.S. dollars, thus the U.S. dollar may be described as the unit of account of the United States.[15] "Dollar" is one of the first words of Section 9, in which the term refers to the Spanish milled dollar, or the coin worth eight Spanish reales.

The Coinage Act[edit]

In 1792, the U.S. Congress passed the Coinage Act, of which Section 9 authorized the production of various coins, including:[16]: 248 

Dollars or Units—each to be of the value of a Spanish milled dollar as the same is now current, and to contain three hundred and seventy-one grains and four sixteenth parts of a grain of pure, or four hundred and sixteen grains of standard silver.

Section 20 of the Act designates the United States dollar as the unit of currency of the United States:[16]: 250–1 

[T]he money of account of the United States shall be expressed in dollars, or units…and that all accounts in the public offices and all proceedings in the courts of the United States shall be kept and had in conformity to this regulation.

Decimal units[edit]

Unlike the Spanish milled dollar, the Continental Congress and the Coinage Act prescribed a decimal system of units to go with the unit dollar, as follows:[17][18] the mill, or one-thousandth of a dollar; the cent, or one-hundredth of a dollar; the dime, or one-tenth of a dollar; and the eagle, or ten dollars. The current relevance of these units:

  • Only the cent (¢) is used as everyday division of the dollar.
  • The dime is used solely as the name of the coin with the value of 10 cents.
  • The mill () is relatively unknown, but before the mid-20th century was familiarly used in matters of sales taxes, as well as gasoline prices, which are usually in the form of $ΧΧ.ΧΧ9 per gallon (e.g., $3.599, commonly written as $3.59+9⁄10).[19][20]
  • The eagle is also largely unknown to the general public.[20] This term was used in the Coinage Act of 1792 for the denomination of ten dollars, and subsequently was used in naming gold coins.

The Spanish peso or dollar was historically divided into eight reales (colloquially, bits) - hence pieces of eight. Americans also learned counting in non-decimal bits of 121⁄2 cents before 1857 when Mexican bits were more frequently encountered than American cents; in fact this practice survived in New York Stock Exchange quotations until 2001.[21][22]

In 1854, Secretary of the TreasuryJames Guthrie proposed creating $100, $50, and $25 gold coins, to be referred to as a union, half union, and quarter union, respectively,[23] thus implying a denomination of 1 Union = $100. However, no such coins were ever struck, and only patterns for the $50 half union exist.

When currently issued in circulating form, denominations less than or equal to a dollar are emitted as U.S. coins, while denominations greater than or equal to a dollar are emitted as Federal Reserve Notes, disregarding these special cases:

  • Gold coins issued for circulation until the 1930s, up to the value of $20 (known as the double eagle)
  • Bullion or commemorative gold, silver, platinum, and palladium coins valued up to $100 as legal tender (though worth far more as bullion).
  • Civil War paper currency issue in denominations below $1, i.e. fractional currency, sometimes pejoratively referred to as shinplasters.


Further information: Dollar

In the 16th century, Count Hieronymus Schlick of Bohemia began minting coins known as joachimstalers, named for Joachimstal, the valley in which the silver was mined. In turn, the valley's name is titled after Saint Joachim, whereby thal or tal, a cognate of the English word dale, is German for 'valley.'[24] The joachimstaler was later shortened to the German taler, a word that eventually found its way into many languages, including:[24]tolar (Czech and Slovak); daler (Danish and Swedish); dalar and daler (Norwegian); daler or daalder (Dutch); talari (Ethiopian); tallér (Hungarian); tallero (Italian); دولار (Arabic); and dollar (English).

The taler also lent its name to coins in other places of similar size and weight. The leeuwendaler ('lion dollar') was a Dutch coin depicting a lion. From the 17th century to the early 18th century it was a popular coin of choice for foreign trade in the Dutch East Indies, in the Dutch North American New Netherland Colony (today the New York metropolitan area), and the other Thirteen Colonies since it contained less silver than most other available large coins. [25][26]

With the discontinuation of the lion dollar before 1690 and the improvement in quality of Spanish-American coins emanating from Mexico from the 1720s, it was the Spanish peso which American colonists have increasingly referred to as the dollar. The Spanish dollar, famously known as the 'piece of eight,' was distributed widely in the Spanish colonies of the New World and in the Philippines.[27] Eventually, dollar became the name of the official American currency.


See also: Slang terms for money § United States

Dollars in general[edit]

The colloquialismbuck(s) (much like the British quid for the pound sterling) is often used to refer to dollars of various nations, including the U.S. dollar. This term, dating to the 18th century, may have originated with the colonial leather trade, or it may also have originated from a poker term.[28] Likewise, the $1 note has been nicknamed buck, as well as single.

Greenback is another nickname, originally applied specifically to the 19th-century Demand Note dollars, which were printed black and green on the backside, created by Abraham Lincoln to finance the North for the Civil War.[29] It is still used to refer to the U.S. dollar (but not to the dollars of other countries). The term greenback is also used by the financial press in other countries, such as Australia,[30]New Zealand,[31]South Africa,[32] and India.[33]

Other well-known names of the dollar as a whole in denominations include greenmail, green, and dead presidents, the latter of which referring to the deceased presidents pictured on most bills. Dollars in general have also been known as bones (e.g. "twenty bones" = $20). The newer designs, with portraits displayed in the main body of the obverse (rather than in cameo insets), upon paper color-coded by denomination, are sometimes referred to as bigface notes or Monopoly money.

Piastre was the original French word for the U.S. dollar, used for example in the French text of the Louisiana Purchase. Calling the dollar a piastre is still common among the speakers of Cajun French and New England French. Modern French uses dollar for this unit of currency as well. The term is still used as slang for U.S. dollars in the French-speaking Caribbean islands, most notably Haiti.

Specific to denomination[edit]

The quarter dollar coin is known as two bits, betraying the dollar's origins as the "piece of eight" (bits or reales).[21]

The infrequently-used $2 note is sometimes called deuce, Tom, or Jefferson (after Thomas Jefferson). Contrastly, the $5 bill has been called Lincoln, fin, fiver, and five-spot. The $50 bill is occasionally called a yardstick, or a grant, after President Ulysses S. Grant, pictured on the obverse. The $20 note has been referred to as a double sawbuck, Jackson (after Andrew Jackson), and double eagle. The $10 note can be referred to as a sawbuck, ten-spot, or Hamilton (after Alexander Hamilton).

Benjamin, Benji, Ben, or Franklin, refers to the $100 bill, which features the likeness of the eponymous Benjamin Franklin. Other nicknames include C-note (C being the Roman numeral for 100), century note, and bill (e.g. two bills = $200).

A grand (sometimes shortened to simply G) is a common term for the amount of $1,000, though the thousand-dollar note is no longer in general use. The suffix K or k (from kilo) is also commonly used to denote this amount (e.g. $10k = $10,000). Likewise, a large or stack usually references to a multiple of 1,000 (e.g. "fifty large" = $50,000).

Dollar sign[edit]

Main article: Dollar sign

The symbol $, usually written before the numerical amount, is used for the U.S. dollar (as well as for many other currencies). The sign was the result of a late 18th-century evolution of the scribal abbreviationps for the peso, the common name for the Spanish dollars that were in wide circulation in the New World from the 16th to the 19th centuries. The p and the s eventually came to be written over each other giving rise to $.[34][35][36][37]

Another popular explanation is that it is derived from the Pillars of Hercules on the Spanish Coat of arms of the Spanish dollar. These Pillars of Hercules on the silver Spanish dollar coins take the form of two vertical bars (||) and a swinging cloth band in the shape of an S.

Yet another explanation suggests that the dollar sign was formed from the capital letters U and S written or printed one on top of the other. This theory, popularized by novelist Ayn Rand in Atlas Shrugged,[38] does not consider the fact that the symbol was already in use before the formation of the United States.[39]


See also: History of the United States dollar

Origins: the Spanish dollar[edit]

The US dollar was introduced at par with the Spanish-American silver dollar (or Spanish peso, Spanish milled dollar, eight-real coin, piece-of-eight). The latter was produced from the rich silver mine output of Spanish America; minted in Mexico City, Potosí (Bolivia), Lima (Peru) and elsewhere; and was in wide circulation throughout the Americas, Asia and Europe from the 16th to 19th centuries.

After improvements of the Spanish dollar's minting in the 1720s, it has displaced the use of other coins in the American colonies, most notably the lion dollar (occasionally called "dog dollars" for well-worn samples when the design is indistinguishable)[40] which was used in the Dutch New Netherland Colony (New York) and the other English colonies from the 17th to early 18th century.

Even after the United States Mint commenced issuing coins in 1792, locally minted dollars and cents were less abundant in circulation than Spanish Americanpesos and reales; hence Spanish, Mexican and American dollars all remained legal tender in the United States until the Coinage Act of 1857. In particular, Colonists' familiarity with the Spanish two-real quarter peso was the reason for issuing a quasi-decimal 25-cent quarter dollar coin rather than a 20-cent coin.

For the relationship between the Spanish dollar and the individual state colonial currencies, see Connecticut pound, Delaware pound, Georgia pound, Maryland pound, Massachusetts pound, New Hampshire pound, New Jersey pound, New York pound, North Carolina pound, Pennsylvania pound, Rhode Island pound, South Carolina pound, and Virginia pound.

Coinage Act of 1792[edit]

See also: Coinage Act of 1792

Alexander Hamiltonfinalized the details of the 1792 Coinage Act and the establishment of the US Mint.

On the 6th of July 1785, the Continental Congress resolved that the money unit of the United States, the dollar, would contain 375.64 grains of fine silver; on the 8th of August 1786, the Continental Congress continued that definition and further resolved that the money of account, corresponding with the division of coins, would proceed in a decimal ratio, with the sub-units being mills at 0.001 of a dollar, cents at 0.010 of a dollar, and dimes at 0.100 of a dollar.[17]

After the adoption of the United States Constitution, the U.S. dollar was defined by the Coinage Act of 1792. It specified a "dollar" based on the Spanish milled dollar to contain 3714⁄16grains of fine silver, or 416.0 grains (26.96 g) of "standard silver" of fineness 371.25/416 = 89.24%; as well as an "eagle" to contain 2474⁄8 grains of fine gold, or 270.0 grains (17.50 g) of 22 karat or 91.67% fine gold.[41]Alexander Hamilton arrived at these numbers based on a treasury assay of the average fine silver content of a selection of worn Spanish dollars, which came out to be 371 grains. Combined with the prevailing gold-silver ratio of 15, the standard for gold was calculated at 371/15 = 24.73 grains fine gold or 26.98 grains 22K gold. Rounding the latter to 27.0 grains finalized the dollar's standard to 24.75 grains of fine gold or 24.75*15 = 371.25 grains fine silver.

The same coinage act also set the value of an eagle at 10 dollars, and the dollar at 1⁄10 eagle. It called for silver coins in denominations of 1, 1⁄2, 1⁄4, 1⁄10, and 1⁄20 dollar, as well as gold coins in denominations of 1, 1⁄2 and 1⁄4 eagle. The value of gold or silver contained in the dollar was then converted into relative value in the economy for the buying and selling of goods. This allowed the value of things to remain fairly constant over time, except for the influx and outflux of gold and silver in the nation's economy.[42]

Though a Spanish dollar freshly minted after 1772 theoretically contained 417.7 grains of silver of fineness 130/144 (or 377.1 grains fine silver), reliable assays of the period in fact confirmed a fine silver content of 370.95 grains (24.037 g) for the average Spanish dollar in circulation. [43] The new US silver dollar of 371.25 grains (24.057 g) therefore compared favorably and was received at par with the Spanish dollar for foreign payments, and after 1803 the United States Mint had to suspend making this coin out of its limited resources since it failed to stay in domestic circulation. It was only after Mexican independence in 1821 when their peso's fine silver content of 377.1 grains was firmly upheld, which the US later had to compete with using a heavier 378.0 grains (24.49 g) Trade dollar coin.


The early currency of the United States did not exhibit faces of presidents, as is the custom now;[44] although today, by law, only the portrait of a deceased individual may appear on United States currency.[45] In fact, the newly formed government was against having portraits of leaders on the currency, a practice compared to the policies of European monarchs.[46] The currency as we know it today did not get the faces they currently have until after the early 20th century; before that "heads" side of coinage used profile faces and striding, seated, and standing figures from Greek and Roman mythology and composite Native Americans. The last coins to be converted to profiles of historic Americans were the dime (1946) and the Dollar (1971).

Continental currency[edit]

See also: Continental currency

Continental one third dollar bill (obverse)

After the American Revolution, the thirteen colonies became independent. Freed from British monetary regulations, they each issued £sd paper money to pay for military expenses. The Continental Congress also began issuing "Continental Currency" denominated in Spanish dollars. For its value relative to states' currencies, see Early American currency#Continental currency.

Continental currency depreciated badly during the war, giving rise to the famous phrase "not worth a continental".[47] A primary problem was that monetary policy was not coordinated between Congress and the states, which continued to issue bills of credit. Additionally, neither Congress nor the governments of the several states had the will or the means to retire the bills from circulation through taxation or the sale of bonds.[48] The currency was ultimately replaced by the silver dollar at the rate of 1 silver dollar to 1000 continental dollars. It gave rise to the phrase "not worth a continental", and was responsible for the clause in article 1, section 10 of the United States Constitution which reads: "No state shall... make anything but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts".

Silver and gold standards, 19th century[edit]

From implementation of the 1792 Mint Act to the 1900 implementation of the gold standard the dollar was on a bimetallic silver-and-gold standard, defined as either 371.25 grains (24.056 g) of fine silver or 24.75 grains of fine gold (gold-silver ratio 15).

Subsequent to the Coinage Act of 1834 the dollar's fine gold equivalent was revised to 23.2 grains; it was slightly adjusted to 23.22 grains (1.505 g) in 1837 (gold-silver ratio ~16). The same act also resolved the difficulty in minting the "standard silver" of 89.24% fineness by revising the dollar's alloy to 412.5 grains, 90% silver, still containing 371.25 grains fine silver. Gold was also revised to 90% fineness: 25.8 grains gross, 23.22 grains fine gold.

Summary and links to coins issued in the 19th century:

  • In base metal: 1/2 cent, 1 cent, 5 cents.
  • In silver: half dime, dime, quarter dollar, half dollar, silver dollar.
  • In gold: gold $1, $2.50 quarter eagle, $5 half eagle, $10 eagle, $20 double eagle
  • Less common denominations: bronze 2 cents, nickel 3 cents, silver 3 cents, silver 20 cents, gold $3.

Note issues, 19th century[edit]

In order to finance the War of 1812, Congress authorized the issuance of Treasury Notes, interest-bearing short-term debt that could be used to pay public dues. While they were intended to serve as debt, they did function "to a limited extent" as money. Treasury Notes were again printed to help resolve the reduction in public revenues resulting from the Panic of 1837 and the Panic of 1857, as well as to help finance the Mexican–American War and the Civil War.

Paper money was issued again in 1862 without the backing of precious metals due to the Civil War. In addition to Treasury Notes, Congress in 1861 authorized the Treasury to borrow $50 million in the form of Demand Notes, which did not bear interest but could be redeemed on demand for precious metals. However, by December 1861, the Union government's supply of species was outstripped by demand for redemption and they were forced to suspend redemption temporarily. In February 1862 Congress passed the Legal Tender Act of 1862, issuing United States Notes, which were not redeemable on demand and bore no interest, but were legal tender, meaning that creditors had to accept them at face value for any payment except for public debts and import tariffs. However, silver and gold coins continued to be issued, resulting in the depreciation of the newly printed notes through Gresham's Law. In 1869, Supreme Court ruled in Hepburn v. Griswold that Congress could not require creditors to accept United States Notes, but overturned that ruling the next year in the Legal Tender Cases. In 1875, Congress passed the Specie Payment Resumption Act, requiring the Treasury to allow US Notes to be redeemed for gold after January 1, 1879.

Gold standard, 20th century[edit]

Though the dollar came under the gold standardde jure only after 1900, the bimetallic era was ended de facto by the Coinage Act of 1873, which repealed the free silver right of individuals to convert their silver into fully legal tender silver dollars, and right at the onset of the silver rush from the Comstock Lode in the 1870s. This was the so-called "Crime of '73".

The Gold Standard Act of 1900 repealed the U.S. dollar's historic link to silver and defined it solely as 23.22 grains (1.505 g) of fine gold (or $20.67 per troy ounce of 480 grains). In 1933, gold coins were confiscated by Executive Order 6102 under Franklin D. Roosevelt, and in 1934 the standard was changed to $35 per troy ounce fine gold, or 13.71 grains (0.888 g) per dollar.

After 1968 a series of revisions to the gold peg was implemented, culminating in the Nixon Shock of August 15, 1971, which suddenly ended the convertibility of dollars to gold. The U.S. dollar has since floated freely on the foreign exchange markets.

Federal Reserve Notes, 20th century to present[edit]

See also: Federal Reserve Note

Obverse of a rare 1934 $500 Federal Reserve Note, featuring a portrait of President William McKinley

Reverse of a $500 Federal Reserve Note

Congress continued to issue paper money after the Civil War, the latest of which is the Federal Reserve Note that was authorized by the Federal Reserve Act of 1913. Since the discontinuation of all other types of notes (Gold Certificates in 1933, Silver Certificates in 1963, and United States Notes in 1971), US dollar notes have since been issued exclusively as Federal Reserve Notes.

Emergence as reserve currency[edit]

Main article: International use of the U.S. dollar

The U.S. dollar first emerged as an important international reserve currency in the 1920s, displacing the British pound sterling as it emerged from the First World War relatively unscathed and since the United States was a significant recipient of wartime gold inflows. After the United States emerged as an even stronger global superpower during the Second World War, the Bretton Woods Agreement of 1944 established the U.S. dollar as the world's primary reserve currency and the only post-war currency linked to gold. Despite all links to gold being severed in 1971, the dollar continues to be the world's foremost reserve currency for international trade to this day.

The Bretton Woods Agreement of 1944 also defined the post-World War II monetary order and relations among modern-day independent states, by setting up a system of rules, institutions, and procedures to regulate the international monetary system. The agreement founded the International Monetary Fund and other institutions of the modern-day World Bank Group, establishing the infrastructure for conducting international payments and accessing the global capital markets using the U.S. dollar.

The monetary policy of the United States is conducted by the Federal Reserve System, which acts as the nation's central bank. It was founded in 1913 under the Federal Reserve Act in order to furnish an elastic currency for the United States and to supervise its banking system, particularly in the aftermath of the Panic of 1907.

For most of the post-war period, the U.S. government has financed its own spending by borrowing heavily from the dollar-lubricated global capital markets, in debts denominated in its own currency and at minimal interest rates. This ability to borrow heavily without facing a significant balance of payments crisis has been described as the United States's exorbitant privilege.


Main article: Coins of the United States dollar

The United States Mint has issued legal tender coins every year from 1792 to the present. From 1934 to the present, the only denominations produced for circulation have been the familiar penny, nickel, dime, quarter, half dollar, and dollar.

Gold and silver coins have been previously minted for general circulation from the 18th to the 20th centuries. The last gold coins were minted in 1933. The last 90% silver coins were minted in 1964, and the last 40% silver half dollar was minted in 1970.

The nickel is the only coin whose size and composition (5 grams, 75% copper, and 25% nickel) is still in use from 1865 to today, except for wartime 1942-1945 Jefferson nickels which contained silver.

Due to the penny's low value, some efforts have been made to eliminate the penny as circulating coinage. [49][50]

For a discussion of other discontinued and canceled denominations, see Obsolete denominations of United States currency#Coinage and Canceled denominations of United States currency#Coinage.

Collector coins[edit]

Collector coins for which everyday transactions are non-existent:

  • American Eagles originally were not available from the Mint for individuals but had to be purchased from authorized dealers. In 2006, the Mint began direct sales to individuals of uncirculated bullion coins with a special finish, and bearing a "W" mintmark.
  • United States commemorative coins—special issue coins

Technically, all these coins are still legal tender at face value, though some are far more valuable today for their numismatic value, and for gold and silver coins, their precious metal value. No silver coin has been issued since 1970; however, since 1992, the U.S. Mint has produced special Silver Proof Sets in addition to the regular yearly proof sets with silver dimes, quarters, and half dollars in place of the standard copper-nickel versions. In addition, an experimental $4.00 (Stella) coin was also minted in 1879, but never placed into circulation, and is properly considered to be a pattern rather than an actual coin denomination.

The $50 coin mentioned was only produced in 1915 for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition (1915) celebrating the opening of the Panama Canal. Only 1,128 were made, 645 of which were octagonal; this remains the only U.S. coin that was not round as well as the largest and heaviest U.S. coin ever produced. A $100 gold coin was produced in High relief during 2015, although it was primarily produced for collectors, not for general circulation.[51]

Proof Sets: The United States Mint produces Proof Sets specifically for collectors and speculators. Silver Proofs tend to be the standard designs but with the dime, quarter, and half dollar containing 90% silver. Starting in 1983 and ending in 1997, the Mint also produced proof sets containing the year's commemorative coins alongside the regular coins. Another type of proof set is the Presidential Dollar Proof Set where the four special $1 coins are minted each year featuring a president. Because of budget constraints and increasing stockpiles of these relatively unpopular coins, the production of new presidential dollar coins for circulation was suspended on December 13, 2011, by U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner. Presidential dollars (along with all other dollar coin series) minted from 2012 onward were made solely for collectors.[52] See link Presidential dollar coins for the sequence in which past presidents appeared in the series.

Dollar coins[edit]

The standard silver dollar coin has been minted from 1794 to 1935 with a diameter of 1.50 inches (38 mm) and contained 371.25 grains (24.057 g) fine silver. This coin has never been popular in circulation for various reasons:

  • From 1792 to 1803 the $1 coin compared favorably with the Spanish dollar and was accepted at par for overseas purchases. Its coinage was suspended in 1803 since it did not remain long in domestic circulation.
  • In the mid-1850s the price of gold dropped during the California gold rush, and the silver dollar was exported to places where it could fetch over $1 in gold.
  • While substantial numbers of silver Morgan dollars were minted from 1878 pursuant to the Bland-Allison Act, there also existed an option to hold silver certificates fully backed by silver dollars kept in reserves. The majority of citizens, therefore, opted to use silver certificates while silver dollars languished inside vaults.

Succeeding non-precious metal $1 coins from 1971 onwards did not circulate widely as well, the most important reason being the continued circulation of the $1 bill. [53]

  • From 1971 to 1978 the large-size copper-nickel Eisenhower dollar was minted. It was not popular due to its large size relative to its gradually diminishing value; further discussed under Eisenhower dollar.
  • In 1979 the smaller-sized Susan B. Anthonydollar coin was introduced; it was highly unpopular because they were often mistaken for quarters, due to their nearly equal size, their milled edge, and their similar color. For details about its subsequent issuance see Susan B. Anthony dollar.
  • In 2000 the Sacagawea dollar coin was introduced, correcting the various problems of the Anthony dollar by having a smooth edge, a gold color, same weight, and same electromagnetic signature that would avoid requiring changes to vending machines that accept the Anthony dollar. Again, it was rarely used since the $1 bill still widely circulates and continues to be popular; more details in link Sacagawea dollar[54]
  • For the same reason, $1 coins issued under the Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005 from 2007 to present rarely circulate; details of coins issued under this program contained in link Presidential dollar coins.

Mint marks[edit]


Main article: Federal Reserve Note

The U.S. Constitution provides that Congress shall have the power to "borrow money on the credit of the United States."[57] Congress has exercised that power by authorizing Federal Reserve Banks to issue Federal Reserve Notes. Those notes are "obligations of the United States" and "shall be redeemed in lawful money on demand at the Treasury Department of the United States, in the city of Washington, District of Columbia, or at any Federal Reserve bank".[58] Federal Reserve Notes are designated by law as "legal tender" for the payment of debts.[59] Congress has also authorized the issuance of more than 10 other types of banknotes, including the United States Note[60] and the Federal Reserve Bank Note. The Federal Reserve Note is the only type that remains in circulation since the 1970s.

Federal Reserve Notes are printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and are made from cotton fiber paper (as opposed to wood fiber used to make common paper). The "large-sized notes" issued before 1928 measured 7.42 in × 3.125 in (188.5 mm × 79.4 mm), while small-sized notes introduced that year measure 6.14 in × 2.61 in × 0.0043 in (155.96 mm × 66.29 mm × 0.11 mm).[61] The dimensions of the modern (small-size) U.S. currency is identical to the size of Philippine peso banknotes issued under United States administration after 1903, which had proven highly successful.[62]

Currently printed denominations are $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100. Notes above the $100 denomination stopped being printed in 1946 and were officially withdrawn from circulation in 1969. These notes were used primarily in inter-bank transactions or by organized crime; it was the latter usage that prompted President Richard Nixon to issue an executive order in 1969 halting their use. With the advent of electronic banking, they became less necessary. Notes in denominations of $500, $1,000, $5,000, $10,000, and $100,000 were all produced at one time; see large denomination bills in U.S. currency for details. With the exception of the $100,000 bill (which was only issued as a Series 1934 Gold Certificate and was never publicly circulated; thus it is illegal to own), these notes are now collectors' items and are worth more than their face value to collectors.

Though still predominantly green, the post-2004 series incorporate other colors to better distinguish different denominations. As a result of a 2008 decision in an accessibility lawsuit filed by the American Council of the Blind, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing is planning to implement a raised tactile feature in the next redesign of each note, except the $1 and the current version of the $100 bill. It also plans larger, higher-contrast numerals, more color differences, and distribution of currency readers to assist the visually impaired during the transition period.[63]

Monetary policy[edit]

See also: Federal Reserve System, Monetary policy, Monetary policy of the United States, and money supply

The Federal Reserve Act created the Federal Reserve System in 1913 as the central bank of the United States. Its primary task is to conduct the nation's monetary policy to promote maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates in the U.S. economy. It is also tasked to promote the stability of the financial system and regulate financial institutions, and to act as lender of last resort. [64][65]

The Monetary policy of the United States is conducted by the Federal Open Market Committee, which is composed of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and 5 out of the 12 Federal Reserve Bank presidents, and is implemented by all twelve regional Federal Reserve Banks.

Monetary policy refers to actions made by central banks that determine the size and growth rate of the money supply available in the economy, and which would result in desired objectives like low inflation, low unemployment, and stable financial systems. The economy's aggregate money supply is the total of

  • M0 money, or Monetary Base - "dollars" in currency and bank money balances credited to the central bank's depositors, which are backed by the central bank's assets,
  • plus M1, M2, M3 money - "dollars" in the form of bank money balances credited to banks' depositors, which are backed by the bank's assets and investments.

The FOMC influences the level of money available to the economy by the following means:

  • Reserve requirements - specifies a required minimum percentage of deposits in a commercial bank that should be held as a reserve (i.e. as deposits with the Federal Reserve), with the rest available to loan or invest. Higher requirements mean less money loaned or invested, helping keep inflation in check. Raising the federal funds rate earned on those reserves also helps achieve this objective.
  • Open market operations - the Federal Reserve buys or sells US Treasury bonds and other securities held by banks in exchange for reserves; more reserves increase a bank's capacity to loan or invest elsewhere.
  • Discount window lending - banks can borrow from the Federal Reserve.

Monetary policy directly affects interest rates; it indirectly affects stock prices, wealth, and currency exchange rates. Through these channels, monetary policy influences spending, investment, production, employment, and inflation in the United States. Effective monetary policy complements fiscal policy to support economic growth.

The adjusted monetary base has increased from approximately $400 billion in 1994, to $800 billion in 2005, and to over $3,000 billion in 2013.[66]

When the Federal Reserve makes a purchase, it credits the seller's reserve account (with the Federal Reserve). This money is not transferred from any existing funds—it is at this point that the Federal Reserve has created new high-powered money. Commercial banks then decide how much money to keep in deposit with the Federal Reserve and how much to hold as physical currency. In the latter case, the Federal Reserve places an order for printed money from the U.S. Treasury Department.[67] The Treasury Department, in turn, sends these requests to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (to print new dollar bills) and the Bureau of the Mint (to stamp the coins).

The Federal Reserve's monetary policy objectives to keep prices stable and unemployment low is often called the dual mandate. This replaces past practices under a gold standard where the main concern is the gold equivalent of the local currency, or under a gold exchange standard where the concern is fixing the exchange rate versus another gold-convertible currency (previously practiced worldwide under the Bretton Woods Agreement of 1944 via fixed exchange rates to the U.S. dollar).

International use as reserve currency[edit]

Worldwide use of the U.S. dollar:

  United States

  External adopters of the US dollar

  Currencies pegged to the US dollar

  Currencies pegged to the US dollar w/ narrow band

Worldwide use of the euro:


  External adopters of the euro

  Currencies pegged to the euro

  Currencies pegged to the euro w/ narrow band

Main article: International use of the U.S. dollar

See also: Reserve currency, International monetary system, Eurodollar, Exorbitant privilege, Strong dollar policy, and Dollarization


The primary currency used for global trade between Europe, Asia, and the Americas has historically been the Spanish-American silver dollar, which created a global silver standard system from the 16th to 19th centuries, due to abundant silver supplies in Spanish America.[68] The U.S. dollar itself was derived from this coin. The Spanish dollar was later displaced by the British pound sterling in the advent of the international gold standard in the last quarter of the 19th century.

The U.S. dollar began to displace the pound sterling as international reserve currency from the 1920s since it emerged from the First World War relatively unscathed and since the United States was a significant recipient of wartime gold inflows.[69] After the U.S. emerged as an even stronger global superpower during the Second World War, the Bretton Woods Agreement of 1944 established the post-war international monetary system, with the U.S. dollar ascending to become the world's primary reserve currency for international trade, and the only post-war currency linked to gold at $35 per troy ounce.[70] Despite all links to gold being severed in 1971, the dollar continues to play this role to this day.

As international reserve currency[edit]

The U.S. dollar is joined by the world's other major currencies - the euro, pound sterling, Japanese yen and Chinese renminbi - in the currency basket of the special drawing rights of the International Monetary Fund. Central banks worldwide have huge reserves of U.S. dollars in their holdings and are significant buyers of U.S. treasury bills and notes.[71]

Foreign companies, entities, and private individuals hold U.S. dollars in foreign deposit accounts called eurodollars (not to be confused with the euro), which are outside the jurisdiction of the Federal Reserve System. Private individuals also hold dollars outside the banking system mostly in the form of US$100 bills, of which 80% of its supply is held overseas.

The United States Department of the Treasury exercises considerable oversight over the SWIFT financial transfers network,[72] and consequently has a huge sway on the global financial transactions systems, with the ability to impose sanctions on foreign entities and individuals.[73]

In the global markets[edit]

The U.S. dollar is predominantly the standard currency unit in which goods are quoted and traded, and with which payments are settled in, in the global commodity markets.[74] The U.S. Dollar Index is an important indicator of the dollar's strength or weakness versus a basket of six foreign currencies.

The United States Government is capable of borrowing trillions of dollars from the global capital markets in U.S. dollars issued by the Federal Reserve, which is itself under US government purview, at minimal interest rates, and with virtually zero default risk. In contrast, foreign governments and corporations incapable of raising money in their own local currencies are forced to issue debt denominated in U.S. dollars, along with its consequent higher interest rates and risks of default.[75] The United States's ability to borrow in its own currency without facing a significant balance of payments crisis has been frequently described as its exorbitant privilege.[76]

A frequent topic of debate is whether the strong dollar policy of the United States is indeed in America's own best interests, as well as in the best interest of the international community.[77]

Currencies fixed to the U.S. dollar[edit]

For a more exhaustive discussion of countries using the U.S. dollar as official or customary currency, or using currencies which are pegged to the U.S. dollar, see International use of the U.S. dollar#Dollarization and fixed exchange rates and Currency substitution#US dollar.

Countries using the U.S. dollar as its official currency include:

Among the countries using the U.S. dollar together with other foreign currencies and its local currency are Cambodia and Zimbabwe.

Currencies pegged to the U.S. dollar include:

  • In the Caribbean: the Bahamian dollar, Barbadian dollar, Belize dollar, Bermudan dollar, Cayman Islands dollar, East Caribbean dollar, Netherlands Antillean guilder and the Aruban florin.
  • The currencies of the oil-producing Arab countries: the Saudi riyal, United Arab Emirates dirham, Omani rial, Qatari riyal and the Bahraini dinar.
  • Others: the Hong Kong dollar and the Macanese pataca.


 Year   Equivalent  buying power
1775 $1.00
1780 $0.59
1790 $0.89
1800 $0.64
1810 $0.66
1820 $0.69
1830 $0.88
1840 $0.94
1850 $1.03
1860 $0.97
 Year   Equivalent  buying power
1870 $0.62
1880 $0.79
1890 $0.89
1900 $0.96
1910 $0.85
1920 $0.39
1930 $0.47
1940 $0.56
1950 $0.33
1960 $0.26
 Year   Equivalent  buying power
1970 $0.20
1980 $0.10
1990 $0.06
2000 $0.05
2007 $0.04
2008 $0.04
2009 $0.04
2010 $0.035
2011 $0.034
2012 $0.03
U.S. Consumer Price Index, starting from 1913

The 6th paragraph of Section 8 of Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution provides that the U.S. Congress shall have the power to "coin money" and to "regulate the value" of domestic and foreign coins. Congress exercised those powers when it enacted the Coinage Act of 1792. That Act provided for the minting of the first U.S. dollar and it declared that the U.S. dollar shall have "the value of a Spanish milled dollar as the same is now current".[78]

The table above shows the equivalent amount of goods that, in a particular year, could be purchased with $1. The table shows that from 1774 through 2012 the U.S. dollar has lost about 97.0% of its buying power.[79]

The decline in the value of the U.S. dollar corresponds to price inflation, which is a rise in the general level of prices of goods and services in an economy over a period of time.[80] A consumer price index (CPI) is a measure estimating the average price of consumer goods and services purchased by households. The United States Consumer Price Index, published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is a measure estimating the average price of consumer goods and services in the United States.[81] It reflects inflation as experienced by consumers in their day-to-day living expenses.[82] A graph showing the U.S. CPI relative to 1982–1984 and the annual year-over-year change in CPI is shown at right.

The value of the U.S. dollar declined significantly during wartime, especially during the American Civil War, World War I, and World War II.[83] The Federal Reserve, which was established in 1913, was designed to furnish an "elastic" currency subject to "substantial changes of quantity over short periods", which differed significantly from previous forms of high-powered money such as gold, national banknotes, and silver coins.[84] Over the very long run, the prior gold standard kept prices stable—for instance, the price level and the value of the U.S. dollar in 1914 were not very different from the price level in the 1880s. The Federal Reserve initially succeeded in maintaining the value of the U.S. dollar and price stability, reversing the inflation caused by the First World War and stabilizing the value of the dollar during the 1920s, before presiding over a 30% deflation in U.S. prices in the 1930s.[85]

Under the Bretton Woods system established after World War II, the value of gold was fixed to $35 per ounce, and the value of the U.S. dollar was thus anchored to the value of gold. Rising government spending in the 1960s, however, led to doubts about the ability of the United States to maintain this convertibility, gold stocks dwindled as banks and international investors began to convert dollars to gold, and as a result, the value of the dollar began to decline. Facing an emerging currency crisis and the imminent danger that the United States would no longer be able to redeem dollars for gold, gold convertibility was finally terminated in 1971 by President Nixon, resulting in the "Nixon shock".[86]

The value of the U.S. dollar was therefore no longer anchored to gold, and it fell upon the Federal Reserve to maintain the value of the U.S. currency. The Federal Reserve, however, continued to increase the money supply, resulting in stagflation and a rapidly declining value of the U.S. dollar in the 1970s. This was largely due to the prevailing economic view at the time that inflation and real economic growth were linked (the Phillips curve), and so inflation was regarded as relatively benign.[86] Between 1965 and 1981, the U.S. dollar lost two thirds of its value.[79]

In 1979, President Carter appointed Paul VolckerChairman of the Federal Reserve


Wikipedia paper money


Generally accepted medium of exchange for goods or services

For other uses, see Currency (disambiguation).

Look up currency in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

A currency[a] in the most specific sense is money in any form when in use or circulation as a medium of exchange, especially circulating banknotes and coins.[1][2] A more general definition is that a currency is a system of money (monetary units) in common use, especially for people in a nation.[3] Under this definition, U.S. dollars (US$), euros (€), Indian rupee (₹), Japanese yen (¥), and pounds sterling (£) are examples of currencies. Currencies may act as stores of value and be traded between nations in foreign exchange markets, which determine the relative values of the different currencies.[4] Currencies in this sense are defined by governments, and each type has limited boundaries of acceptance.

Other definitions of the term "currency" appear in the respective synonymous articles: banknote, coin, and money. This article uses the definition which focuses on the currency systems of countries.

One can classify currencies into three monetary systems: fiat money, commodity money, and representative money, depending on what guarantees a currency's value (the economy at large vs. the government's physical metal reserves). Some currencies function as legal tender in certain political jurisdictions. Others simply get traded for their economic value.

Digital currency has arisen with the popularity of computers and the Internet. Whether digital notes and coins will be successfully developed remains dubious.[5] Decentralized digital currencies, such as cryptocurrencies are not legal currency, strictly speaking, since they are not issued by a government monetary authority (although one of them, Bitcoin, has become legal tender in El Salvador). Many warnings issued by various countries note the opportunities that cryptocurrencies create for illegal activities, such as money laundering and terrorism.[6] In 2014 the United States IRS issued a statement explaining that virtual currency is treated as property for Federal income-tax purposes and providing examples of how longstanding tax principles applicable to transactions involving property apply to virtual currency.[7]


Early currency[edit]

Cowry shells being used as money by an Arab trader.

Originally money was a form of receipt, representing grain stored in temple granaries in Sumer in ancient Mesopotamia and in Ancient Egypt.

In this first stage of currency, metals were used as symbols to represent value stored in the form of commodities. This formed the basis of trade in the Fertile Crescent for over 1500 years. However, the collapse of the Near Eastern trading system pointed to a flaw: in an era where there was no place that was safe to store value, the value of a circulating medium could only be as sound as the forces that defended that store. A trade could only reach as far as the credibility of that military. By the late Bronze Age, however, a series of treaties had established safe passage for merchants around the Eastern Mediterranean, spreading from MinoanCrete and Mycenae in the northwest to Elam and Bahrain in the southeast. It is not known what was used as a currency for these exchanges, but it is thought that ox-hide shaped ingots of copper, produced in Cyprus, may have functioned as a currency.

It is thought that the increase in piracy and raiding associated with the Bronze Age collapse, possibly produced by the Peoples of the Sea, brought the trading system of oxhide ingots to an end. It was only the recovery of Phoenician trade in the 10th and 9th centuries BC that led to a return to prosperity, and the appearance of real coinage, possibly first in Anatolia with Croesus of Lydia and subsequently with the Greeks and Persians. In Africa, many forms of value store have been used, including beads, ingots, ivory, various forms of weapons, livestock, the manilla currency, and ochre and other earth oxides. The manilla rings of West Africa were one of the currencies used from the 15th century onwards to sell slaves. African currency is still notable for its variety, and in many places, various forms of barter still apply.


Main article: Coin

The prevalance of metal coins possibly led to the metal itself being the store of value: first copper, then both silver and gold, and at one point also bronze. Now other non-precious metals are used for coins. Metals were mined, weighed, and stamped into coins. This was to assure the individual accepting the coin that he was getting a certain known weight of precious metal. Coins could be counterfeited, but the existence of standard coins also created a new unit of account, which helped lead to banking. Archimedes' principle provided the next link: coins could now be easily tested for their fine weight of the metal, and thus the value of a coin could be determined, even if it had been shaved, debased or otherwise tampered with (see Numismatics).

The world's oldest coin, created in the ancient Kingdom of Lydia.

Most major economies using coinage had several tiers of coins of different values, made of copper, silver, and gold. Gold coins were the most valuable and were used for large purchases, payment of the military, and backing of state activities. Units of account were often defined as the value of a particular type of gold coin. Silver coins were used for midsized transactions, and sometimes also defined a unit of account, while coins of copper or silver, or some mixture of them (see debasement), might be used for everyday transactions. This system had been used in ancient India since the time of the Mahajanapadas. The exact ratios between the values of the three metals varied greatly between different eras and places; for example, the opening of silver mines in the Harz mountains of central Europe made silver relatively less valuable, as did the flood of New World silver after the Spanish conquests. However, the rarity of gold consistently made it more valuable than silver, and likewise silver was consistently worth more than copper.

Paper money[edit]

Main article: Banknote

In premodernChina, the need for credit and for a medium of exchange that was less physically cumbersome than large numbers of copper coins led to the introduction of paper money, i.e. banknotes. Their introduction was a gradual process that lasted from the late Tang dynasty (618–907) into the Song dynasty (960–1279). It began as a means for merchants to exchange heavy coinage for receipts of deposit issued as promissory notes by wholesalers' shops. These notes were valid for temporary use in a small regional territory. In the 10th century, the Song dynasty government began to circulate these notes amongst the traders in its monopolized salt industry. The Song government granted several shops the right to issue banknotes, and in the early 12th century the government finally took over these shops to produce state-issued currency. Yet the banknotes issued were still only locally and temporarily valid: it was not until the mid 13th century that a standard and uniform government issue of paper money became an acceptable nationwide currency. The already widespread methods of woodblock printing and then Bi Sheng's movable typeprinting by the 11th century were the impetus for the mass production of paper money in premodern China.

Song dynasty Jiaozi,the world's earliest paper money

At around the same time in the medieval Islamic world, a vigorous monetary economy was created during the 7th–12th centuries on the basis of the expanding levels of circulation of a stable high-value currency (the dinar). Innovations introduced by Muslim economists, traders and merchants include the earliest uses of credit,[8]cheques, promissory notes,[9]savings accounts, transaction accounts, loaning, trusts, exchange rates, the transfer of credit and debt,[10] and banking institutions for loans and deposits.[10]

In Europe, paper money was first introduced on a regular basis in Sweden in 1661 (although Washington Irving records an earlier emergency use of it, by the Spanish in a siege during the Conquest of Granada). As Sweden was rich in copper, many copper coins were in circulation, but its relatively low value necessitated extraordinarily big coins, often weighing several kilograms.

The advantages of paper currency were numerous: it reduced the need to transport gold and silver, which was risky; it facilitated loans of gold or silver at interest, since the underlying specie (money in the form of gold or silver coins rather than notes) never left the possession of the lender until someone else redeemed the note; and it allowed a division of currency into credit- and specie-backed forms. It enabled the sale of stock in joint-stock companies and the redemption of those shares in a paper.

But there were also disadvantages. First, since a note has no intrinsic value, there was nothing to stop issuing authorities from printing more notes than they had specie to back them with. Second, because it increased the money supply, it increased inflationary pressures, a fact observed by David Hume in the 18th century. Thus paper money would often lead to an inflationary bubble, which could collapse if people began demanding hard money, causing the demand for paper notes to fall to zero. The printing of paper money was also associated with wars, and financing of wars, and therefore regarded as part of maintaining a standing army. For these reasons, paper currency was held in suspicion and hostility in Europe and America. It was also addictive since the speculative profits of trade and capital creation were quite large. Major nations established mints to print money and mint coins, and branches of their treasury to collect taxes and hold gold and silver stock.

At that time, both silver and gold were considered a legal tender and accepted by governments for taxes. However, the instability in the exchange rate between the two grew over the course of the 19th century, with the increases both in the supply of these metals, particularly silver, and in trade. The parallel use of both metals is called bimetallism, and the attempt to create a bimetallic standard where both gold and silver backed currency remained in circulation occupied the efforts of inflationists. Governments at this point could use currency as an instrument of policy, printing paper currency such as the United States greenback, to pay for military expenditures. They could also set the terms at which they would redeem notes for specie, by limiting the amount of purchase, or the minimum amount that could be redeemed.

By 1900, most of the industrializing nations were on some form of gold standard, with paper notes and silver coins constituting the circulating medium. Private banks and governments across the world followed Gresham's law: keeping the gold and silver they received but paying out in notes. This did not happen all around the world at the same time, but occurred sporadically, generally in times of war or financial crisis, beginning in the early 20th century and continuing across the world until the late 20th century, when the regime of floating fiat currencies came into force. One of the last countries to break away from the gold standard was the United States in 1971, an action is known as the Nixon shock. No country has an enforceable gold standard or silver standard currency system.

Banknote era[edit]

Main articles: Banknote and Fiat currency

A banknote (more commonly known as a bill in the United States and Canada) is a type of currency and is commonly used as legal tender in many jurisdictions. Together with coins, banknotes make up the cash form of all money. Banknotes are mostly paper, but Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation developed a polymer currency in the 1980s; it went into circulation on the nation's bicentenary in 1988.[11] Polymer banknotes had already been introduced in the Isle of Man in 1983. As of 2016, polymer currency is used in over 20 countries (over 40 if counting commemorative issues),[12] and dramatically increases the life span of banknotes and reduces counterfeiting.

Modern currencies[edit]

Name of currency units by country

Further information: Tables of historical exchange rates to the United States dollar

For a list of which currency or currencies are used by present-day countries or regions, see List of circulating currencies.

The currency used is based on the concept of lex monetae; that a sovereign state decides which currency it shall use. The International Organization for Standardization has introduced a system of three-letter codes (ISO 4217) to denote currency (as opposed to simple names or currency signs), in order to remove the confusion arising because there are dozens of currencies called the dollar and several called the franc. Even the "pound" is used in nearly a dozen different countries; most of these are tied to the pound sterling, while the remainder has varying values. In general, the three-letter code uses the ISO 3166-1 country code for the first two letters and the first letter of the name of the currency (D for dollar, for example) as the third letter. United States currency, for instance, is globally referred to as USD. Currencies such as the pound sterling have different codes, as the first two letters denote not the exact country name but an alternative name also used to describe the country. The pound's code is GBP where GB denotes Great Britain instead of the United Kingdom.

The former currencies include the marks that were in circulation in Germany and Finland.[13]

The International Monetary Fund uses a different system when referring to national currencies.

Alternative currencies[edit]

Main article: Alternative currency

Distinct from centrally controlled government-issued currencies, private decentralized trust-less networks support alternative currencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Monero, Peercoin or Dogecoin, which are classified as cryptocurrency since the transfer of value is assured through cryptographic signatures validated by all users. There are also branded currencies, for example 'obligation' based stores of value, such as quasi-regulated BarterCard, Loyalty Points (Credit Cards, Airlines) or Game-Credits (MMO games) that are based on reputation of commercial products, or highly regulated 'asset-backed' 'alternative currencies' such as mobile-money schemes like MPESA (called E-Money Issuance).[14]

The currency may be Internet-based and digital, for instance, bitcoin[15] is not tied to any specific country, or the IMF's SDR that is based on a basket of currencies (and assets held).

Possession and sale of alternative forms of currencies is often outlawed by governments in order to preserve the legitimacy of the constitutional currency for the benefit of all citizens. For example, Article I, section 8, clause 5 of the United States Constitution delegates to Congress the power to coin money and to regulate the value thereof. This power was delegated to Congress in order to establish and preserve a uniform standard of value and to insure a singular monetary system for all purchases and debts in the United States, public and private. Along with the power to coin money, the United States Congress has the concurrent power to restrain the circulation of money which is not issued under its own authority in order to protect and preserve the constitutional currency. It is a violation of federal law for individuals, or organizations to create private coin or currency systems to compete with the official coinage and currency of the United States.[16]

Control and production[edit]

Strength of currencies relative to USD as of April 2016

In most cases, a central bank has the exclusive power to issue all forms of currency, including coins and banknotes (fiat money), and to restrain the circulation alternative currencies for its own area of circulation (a country or group of countries); it regulates the production of currency by banks (credit) through monetary policy.

An exchange rate is a price at which two currencies can be exchanged against each other. This is used for trade between the two currency zones. Exchange rates can be classified as either floating or fixed. In the former, day-to-day movements in exchange rates are determined by the market; in the latter, governments intervene in the market to buy or sell their currency to balance supply and demand at a static exchange rate.

In cases where a country has control of its own currency, that control is exercised either by a central bank or by a Ministry of Finance. The institution that has control of monetary policy is referred to as the monetary authority. Monetary authorities have varying degrees of autonomy from the governments that create them. A monetary authority is created and supported by its sponsoring government, so independence can be reduced by the legislative or executive authority that creates it.

Several countries can use the same name for their own separate currencies (for example, a dollar in Australia, Canada, and the United States). By contrast, several countries can also use the same currency (for example, the euro or the CFA franc), or one country can declare the currency of another country to be legal tender. For example, Panama and El Salvador have declared US currency to be legal tender, and from 1791 to 1857, Spanish dollars were legal tender in the United States. At various times countries have either re-stamped foreign coins or used currency boards, issuing one note of currency for each note of a foreign government held, as Ecuador currently does.

Each currency typically has a main currency unit (the dollar, for example, or the euro) and a fractional unit, often defined as 1⁄100 of the main unit: 100 cents = 1 dollar, 100 centimes = 1 franc, 100 pence = 1 pound, although units of 1⁄10 or 1⁄1000 occasionally also occur. Some currencies do not have any smaller units at all, such as the Icelandic króna.

Mauritania and Madagascar are the only remaining countries that have theoretical fractional units not based on the decimal system; instead, the Mauritanian ouguiya is in theory divided into 5 khoums, while the Malagasy ariary is theoretically divided into 5 iraimbilanja. In these countries, words like dollar or pound "were simply names for given weights of gold".[18] Due to inflation khoums and iraimbilanja have in practice fallen into disuse. (See non-decimal currencies for other historic currencies with non-decimal divisions.)

Currency convertibility[edit]

Subject to variation around the world, local currency can be converted to another currency or vice versa with or without central bank/government intervention. Such conversions take place in the foreign exchange market. Based on the above restrictions or free and readily conversion features, currencies are classified as:

Fully convertible
When there are no restrictions or limitations on the amount of currency that can be traded on the international market, and the government does not artificially impose a fixed value or minimum value on the currency in international trade. The US dollar is one of the main fully convertible currencies.
Partially convertible
Central banks control international investments flowing into and out of a country. While most domestic transactions are handled without any special requirements, there are significant restrictions on international investing, and special approval is often required in order to convert into other currencies. The Indian rupee and the renminbi are examples of partially convertible currencies.
A government neither participates in the international currency market nor allows the conversion of its currency by individuals or companies. These currencies are also known as blocked, e.g. the North Korean won and the Cuban peso.

Local currencies[edit]

Main article: Local currency

In economics, a local currency is a currency not backed by a national government and intended to trade only in a small area. Advocates such as Jane Jacobs argue that this enables an economically depressed region to pull itself up, by giving the people living there a medium of exchange that they can use to exchange services and locally produced goods (in a broader sense, this is the original purpose of all money). Opponents of this concept argue that local currency creates a barrier that can interfere with economies of scale and comparative advantage and that in some cases they can serve as a means of tax evasion.

Local currencies can also come into being when there is economic turmoil involving the national currency. An example of this is the Argentinian economic crisis of 2002 in which IOUs issued by local governments quickly took on some of the characteristics of local currencies.

One of the best examples of a local currency is the original LETS currency, founded on Vancouver Island in the early 1980s. In 1982, the Canadian Central Bank’s lending rates ran up to 14% which drove chartered bank lending rates as high as 19%. The resulting currency and credit scarcity left island residents with few options other than to create a local currency.[20]

List of major world payment currencies[edit]

The following table are estimates of the 15 most frequently used currencies in world payments from January 2018 and August 2019 by SWIFT.[21][22][23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^The total sum is 200% because each currency trade always involves a currency pair; one currency is sold (e.g. US$) and another bought (€). Therefore each trade is counted twice, once under the sold currency ($) and once under the bought currency (€). The percentages above are the percent of trades involving that currency regardless of whether it is bought or sold, e.g. the U.S. Dollar is bought or sold in 88% of all trades, whereas the Euro is bought or sold 32% of the time.


  1. ^"Currency". The Free Dictionary.
  2. ^Bernstein, Peter (2008) [1965]. "4–5". A Primer on Money, Banking and Gold (3rd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. ISBN . OCLC 233484849.
  3. ^"Currency". Investopedia.
  4. ^"Guide to the Financial Markets"(PDF). The Economist. p. 14.
  5. ^"Electronic finance: a new perspective and challenges"(PDF). Bank for International Settlements. November 2001. Retrieved May 11, 2020.
  6. ^"Regulation of Cryptocurrency Around the World". August 16, 2019. p. 1.
  7. ^"Frequently Asked Questions on Virtual Currency Transactions". December 31, 2019.
  8. ^Banaji, Jairus (2007). "Islam, the Mediterranean and the Rise of Capitalism". Historical Materialism. 15 (1): 47–74. doi:10.1163/156920607X171591. ISSN 1465-4466. OCLC 440360743. Archived from the original on May 23, 2009. Retrieved August 28, 2010.
  9. ^Lopez, Robert Sabatino; Raymond, Irving Woodworth; Constable, Olivia Remie (2001) [1955]. Medieval trade in the Mediterranean world: Illustrative documents. Records of Western civilization.; Records of civilization, sources and studies, no. 52. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN . OCLC 466877309. Archived from the original on March 9, 2012.
  10. ^ abLabib, Subhi Y. (March 1969). "Capitalism in Medieval Islam". The Journal of Economic History. 29 (1): 79–86. doi:10.1017/S0022050700097837. ISSN 0022-0507. JSTOR 2115499. OCLC 478662641.
  11. ^"History of Banknotes". Reserve Bank of Australia. Retrieved December 9, 2019.
  12. ^"The Future Is Plastic - Currency Notes - Finance & Development, June 2016". Retrieved December 8, 2019.
  13. ^ This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Mark". Encyclopædia Britannica. 17 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 728.
  14. ^TED Video:Kemp-Robertson, Paul (June 2013). "Bitcoin. Sweat. Tide. Meet the future of branded currency". TED (conference).Corresponding written article:"10 alternative currencies, from Bitcoin to BerkShares to sweat to laundry detergent". TED (conference). July 25, 2013. Archived from the original on July 25, 2013.
  15. ^Hough, Jack. "The Currency That's Up 200,000 Percent". SmartMoney (The Wall Street Journal). Archived from the original on October 24, 2012. Retrieved December 14, 2012.
  16. ^"Defendant Convicted of Minting His Own Currency". FBI. March 18, 2011.
  17. ^"Triennial Central Bank Survey Foreign exchange turnover in April 2019"(PDF). Bank for International Settlements. September 16, 2019. p. 10. Retrieved September 16, 2019.
  18. ^Turk, James; Rubino, John (2007) [2004]. The collapse of the dollar and how to profit from it: Make a fortune by investing in gold and other hard assets (Paperback ed.). New York: Doubleday. pp. 43 of 252. ISBN . OCLC 192055959.
  19. ^Linton, Michael; Bober, Jordan (November 7, 2012). "Opening Money". The Extraenvironmentalist (Interview). Interviewed by Seth Moser-Katz; Justin Ritchie. Retrieved December 29, 2016.
  20. ^"Opening Money"(MP3). The Extraenvironmentalist (Podcast). Retrieved December 29, 2016.[19]
  21. ^RMB Tracker Monthly reporting and statistics on renminbi(RMB) progress towards becoming an international currencyArchived April 22, 2019, at the Wayback Machine (PDF)
  22. ^[1]Archived April 22, 2019, at the Wayback MachineRMB Tracker February 2019Archived April 22, 2019, at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^RMB Tracker August 2019

External links[edit]

Joshua Moon and Nicky Rackets Write Ethan Ralph's Wikipedia - Rekieta Law

Jiaozi (currency)

One of the first forms of paper money

For other uses, see Jiaozi (disambiguation).

Reproduction of a Song note, possibly a Jiaozi, redeemable for 770 .

Jiaozi (Chinese: 交子) was a form of promissory note which appeared around the 11th century in the Sichuan capital of Chengdu, China. Numismatists regard it as the first paper money in history, a development of the Chinese Song Dynasty (960–1279 CE). Early Jiaozi notes did not have standard denominations but were denominated according to the needs of the purchaser and ranged from 500 wén to 5 guàn. The government office that issued these notes or the Jiaozi wu (Chinese: 交子務) demanded a payment or exchange fee (Chinese: 紙墨費) of 30 wén per guàn exchanged from coins to banknote. The Jiaozi were usually issued biannually.[1] In the region of Liang-Huai (Chinese: 兩淮) these banknotes were referred to as Huaijiao (淮交) and were introduced in 1136 but their circulation stopped quickly after their introduction. Generally the lower the denominations of the Jiaozi the more popular they became, and as the government initially wasn't able to properly regulate their production, their existence eventually lead to undesirably high rates of inflation.

To combat counterfeiting, jiaozi were stamped with multiple banknote seals.[2]


The Jiaozi was first used in present-day Sichuan by a private merchant enterprise. They were issued to replace the heavy coins (鐵錢) that circulated at the time. These early Jiaozi were issued in high denominations such as 1000 qiàn, which was equal to one thousand coins that weighed about twenty five kilograms at the time.

Privately issued Jiaozi notes contained the name of the issuing merchant company, serial numbers and seals marked with decorative patterns as a form of security. As denominations were not standard their nominal value was annually added by the issuing company. During the first 5 years of circulation there were no standard designs or limitations for the Jiaozi but after 5 years the sixteen largest Sichuanese merchant companies founded the Paper Note Bank (Jiaozi hu 交子戶, or Jiaozi bu 交子鋪) which standardised banknotes for them to eventually become a recognised form of currency by the local government with a standard exchange fee of 30 wén per string of cash in paper currency.

As bankruptcy plagued several merchant companies the government nationalised and managed the production of paper money and founded the Jiaozi wu (交子務) in 1023. The first series of standard government notes was issued in 1024 with denominations such as 1 guàn (貫, or 700 wén), 1 mín (緡, or 1000 wén), up to 10 guàn. In 1039 only banknotes of 5 and 10 guàn were issued, and in 1068 a denomination of 1 guàn was introduced which became 40% of all circulating Jiaozi banknotes.

As these notes caused inflation Emperor Huizong decided in 1105 to replace the Jiaozi with a new form of banknote called the Qianyin (錢引). Despite this inflation kept growing and a nominal mín was only exchanged for a handful of cash coins. The root cause of this inflation was attributed to the fact that the Song government didn't back their paper money up with a sufficient number of coins. The Song decided to raise the amount of stocked coins, yet in vain as it did not curb the inflation. Despite there only being around seven hundred thousand iron cash coins in circulation around 3.780.000 mín of banknotes were in circulation which rose to 4.140.000 mín, while an additional 5,300,000 mín in banknotes were issued in 1204 at which point between 400 and as low as 100 cash coins were accepted per 1 mín (of paper currency with a face value of 1000 coins cash). Local governments such as the Sichuanese government had to sell off tax exemption certificates, silver, gold and titles of its offices because of the inflationary policies around paper money. One of the causes of inflation was the outflow of currency to the neighbouring Jin dynasty to the north, which is why iron cash coins were introduced in border regions.[3][dead link][4] In 1192 the exchange rate between iron cash coins and Jiaozi banknotes was fixed at 770 wén per guàn by Emperor Guangzong, but inflation would still remain an issue despite these measures.

Despite the fact that all Jiaozi could be freely exchanged into cash coins their high denomination limited their use to large transactions. Rather than only being exchanged in coins, Jiaozi were often redeemed in Dudie certificates (度牒, a tax exemption certificate for Buddhist monks and nuns), silver, and gold. Eventually the Song government set an expiration date of 2 years for each Jiaozi, which in 1199 was raised to 3 years, after which they had to be either redeemed or replaced by newer series. The government officially restricted the amount of Jiaozi that could be in circulation to 1,255,340 mín, and were covered by only a fifth of that in copper cash coins. As these Jiaozi banknotes proved their usability private merchants began issuing their own notes in the north of the country and members of the military would receive their pay in paper money.

Long after being abolished the Jiaozi continued to circulate until in 1256 a currency reform replaced the leftover Jiaozi banknotes and remaining iron cash coins with the Huizi.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^"Paper Money in Premodern China.". - An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art. May 10, 2016. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
  2. ^"The first Chinese paper money, "jiaozi," was stamped with six different inks and multiple banknote seals". Brad Smithfield (The Vintage News). May 18, 2017. Retrieved February 14, 2018.
  3. ^.pdf Silver and the Transition to a Paper Money Standard in Song Dynasty (960-1276) China. Richard von Glahn (UCLA) (For presentation at the Von Gremp Workshop in Economic and Entrepreneurial History.) University of California, Los Angeles, 26 May 2010 Retrieved: 17 June 2017.
  4. ^Robert M. Hartwell, "The Imperial Treasuries: Finance and Power in Sung China," Bulletin of Sung-Yuan Studies 20 (1988).
  5. ^"jiaozi 交子 and qianyin 錢引, early paper money.". - An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art. May 10, 2016. Retrieved February 6, 2018.


  • Cai Maoshui (蔡茂水) (1997). "Jiaozi (交子)" in Men Kui (門巋), Zhang Yanqin (張燕瑾), ed. Zhonghua guocui da cidian (中華國粹大辭典) (Xianggang: Guoji wenhua chuban gongsi), 105. (in Mandarin Chinese)
  • Chen Jingliang 陳景良 (1998). "Jiaozi wu (交子務)", in Jiang Ping (江平), Wang Jiafu, ed. Minshang faxue da cishu (民商法學大辭書) (Nanjing: Nanjing daxue chubanshe), 397. (in Mandarin Chinese)
  • Huang Da (黃達), Liu Hongru (劉鴻儒), Zhang Xiao (張肖), ed. (1990). Zhongguo jinrong baike quanshu (中國金融百科全書) (Beijing: Jingji guanli chubanshe), Vol. 1, 89. (in Mandarin Chinese)
  • Li Ting 李埏 (1992). "Jiaozi, qianyin (交子、錢引)", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu (中國大百科全書), Zhongguo lishi (中國歷史) (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), Vol. 1, 444. (in Mandarin Chinese)
  • Sichuan baike quanshu bianzuan weiyuanhui 《四川百科全書》(編纂委員會), ed. (1997). Sichuan baike quanshu (四川百科全書)(Chengdu: Sichuan cishu chubanshe), 492. (in Mandarin Chinese)
  • Wang Songling (王松齡), ed. (1991). Shiyong Zhongguo lishi zhishi cidian (實用中國歷史知識辭典) (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 281. (in Mandarin Chinese)
  • Yao Enquan (姚恩權) (1993). "Jiaozi (交子)", in Shi Quanchang (石泉長), ed. Zhonghua baike yaolan (中華百科要覽) (Shenyang: Liaoning renmin chubanshe), 85. (in Mandarin Chinese)
  • Zhou Fazeng 周發增, Chen Longtao 陳隆濤, Qi Jixiang (齊吉祥), ed. (1998). Zhongguo gudai zhengzhi zhidu shi cidian (中國古代政治制度史辭典) (Beijing: Shoudu shifan daxue chubanshe), 366. (in Mandarin Chinese)

External links[edit]


You will also be interested:

Standard Catalog of World Paper Money

The Standard Catalog of World Paper Money was a well-known catalogue of banknotes that was published by Krause Publications in three volumes. These catalogues are commonly known in the numismatic trade as the Pick catalogues, as the numbering system was originally compiled by Albert Pick, but are also referred to as "Krause" or "SCWPM." Since the mid-1980s the titles have been owned by Krause Publications, and from 1994–2016 were under the editorship of George S. Cuhaj, and subsequently by Tracy L. Schmidt.

Numbering system[edit]

The numbering system uses an integer to identify a note. The sorting of notes is usually by issue series/date, then ascending by denomination. Some varieties also have an alphabetic prefix, with a capital letter or letters.

  • A prefix of "A" or "B" is used to insert older series which were not cataloged when the numbering system was established.
  • A prefix of "CS" is used for made-for-collector merchandise such as souvenir folders, uncut pairs/strips/sheets, special serial numbers, booklets, etc.; the numbers after "CS" are sometimes sequential (1, 2, 3, etc.) in which case these products are listed after all regular notes, and other times are the equivalent of the normal note, in which case these items are listed right after the regular version of each note.
  • A prefix of "FX" is used for Foreign Exchange Certificates.
  • A prefix of "M" designates military issues (often occupation issues, or military scrip); these have been moved to the "Specialized" catalog.
  • A prefix of "R" is used for certain regional notes, which have also been moved to the "Specialized" catalog.
  • A prefix of "S" is used to represent "Specialized" issues which are cataloged separately (often, though inconsistently, private banks, regional issues, emergency issues, local notes, etc.).

In common usage, but not in the catalog itself, it is a common practice to prefix "P" to the catalog number (and any prefixes or suffixes, to designate that this is a "Pick" number; however, this is not a practice of the catalog themselves. If there are prefixes, in this usage, they will follow the "P" (e.g. "P5," "PS101a," "PM3" or "PFX").

Inconsistently, if a note has signature or date or other variants, then a lower case letter follows (e.g. P120a, P120b, P120c, etc.); in some cases though, multiple dates are assigned to a single variant; e.g. "1936–1940; 1942; 1945." From edition to edition, these variety letters may change, as additional dates and signatures are found, and as the editors decide to add more granularity.

  • A suffix of "ct" is used for color trial proofs (sometimes listed as "tc")
  • A suffix of "r" is used for either a "remainder" (mostly 19th century incomplete printings) or a "replacement" note.
  • A suffix of "p" is used for "proof" notes.
  • A suffix of "s" is used for "specimen" notes.
  • A suffix of "tc" is used for "trial color proofs".
  • A suffix of "x" is used to denote certain varieties, such as counterfeits or errors.

Where there are multiple versions of proofs, remainders or specimens, and occasionally other variations, they are often cataloged with a number after the letter, e.g. "p1", "p2", "s1" or "s2".

If a number needs to be inserted between two numbers, then in some cases, the section is renumbered—which creates confusion, and some collectors will annotate this with the previous number in parentheses .. e.g. 6(5) would indicate the current Pick number is 6, but it was once 5. But in other cases, the entries are not renumbered, and then the format is to use a suffix capital letter (e.g. P120A).


Most recent editions, as of August 2019.

Standard Catalog of World Paper Money
  1. Standard Catalog of World Paper Money - General Issues, 1368–1960, 16th Edition, publication date 2016, Krause Publications, ISBN 978-1-4402-4707-1
    This is updated every two years or so.
  2. Standard Catalog of World Paper Money - Modern Issues, 1961–Present, 25th Edition, publication date 2019, Krause Publications, ISBN 978-1-4402-4898-6
    This is updated every year.
  3. Standard Catalog of World Paper Money - Specialized Issues, 12th Edition, publication date 2013, Krause Publications, ISBN 978-1-4402-3883-3
    This is updated every four years or so.
All with digital copy available separately.
Other related catalogs
  • Standard Catalog of United States Paper Money, 35th Edition, publication date 2016, Krause Publications, ISBN 978-1-4402-4708-8
    Digital copy available separately.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


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