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Collecting Currencies

The history of currencies follows the history of money closely. Although any form of representational money can be considered currency, the term is typically applied to standardized coinage, and the systems that developed from it.

A two euro Spanish coinPrior to the introduction of standard coinage, calculating the value of a metal-based money required several steps. First, the metal was tested on a touchstone to calculate the quality, then it was weighed, and then the two values were multiplied. Thus, if someone alloyed gold and lead (which was a common cheating process)the metal's weight was multiplied by the percentage of gold to get the weight of the gold alone.

Coinage was introduced to simplify this process. Coins were created of a set weight and gold quality, and then stamped to prove their worth. No measurement was needed, as long as the original values were known. Of course, one could use an alloy with the same stamp as the coin to cheat, but the stamps were complex and thus difficult to duplicate (at the time).

U.S. Federal Reserve notes - "Greenbacks" in the mid-1990s.In order to prevent forged currency, various technologies such as watermarks are inserted into most paper currencies. In the early 21st century, the use of RFID tags has been proposed to track bank notes which were illegally obtained. Such efforts have been criticized by privacy advocates.

Modern Currencies

To find out which currency is used in a particular country, start at the countries of the world or look at the table of historical exchange rates.Nowadays ISO have introduced a system, ISO 4217, using three-letter codes to define currency (as opposed to simple names or currency signs), in order to remove the confusion that there are dozens of currencies called the dollar and many called the franc. Even the pound is used in nearly a dozen different countries, all, of course, with wildly differing 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 instance) as the third letter. The International Monetary Fund uses a variant system when referring to national currencies.

Currency names of the world in alphabetic order by currency name:

Afghani - Afghanistan
Baht - Thailand
Balboa - Panama (U.S. dollar used for paper money)
Birr - Ethiopia
Bolívar - Venezuela
Boliviano - Bolivia
Cedi - Ghana
Colón - Costa Rica, El Salvador
Crown - Czech Republic (koruna), Denmark (krone), Estonia (kroon), Iceland (króna), Norway (krone), Sweden (krona). See also: British Crown (coin)
Dalasi - The Gambia
Denar - Macedonia
Dinar - Algeria, Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Tunisia, Serbia
Dollar - Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Brunei, Canada, Cayman Islands, Christmas Island, Cocos Islands, Cook Islands, Dominica, Fiji, Grenada, Guam, Guyana, Hong Kong, Jamaica, Kiribati, New Zealand, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Suriname, Republic of China (Taiwan), United States, Zimbabwe
Dong - Vietnam
Drachma - (Greece now uses euro)
Dram - Armenia
Escudo - Cape Verde, (Portugal now uses euro)
European Union (as an organisation; the euro is not legal tender in every EU country.)
EU members: Austria, Belgium, Finland, France (except pacific territories using CFP franc), Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain.
Countries that have made legal agreements with the EU to use the euro: Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, Vatican City.
Territories that unilaterally use the euro: Montenegro and Kosovo.
Currencies pegged to the euro: Cape Verdian escudo,CFA, franc, CFP franc, Comoran francs, Bulgarian lev, Estonian kroon, Lithuanian litas, the convertible marka of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Forint - Hungary
Swiss franc - Switzerland, Liechtenstein.
CFA franc - Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Togo
CFP franc - France's Pacific territories of New Caledonia, French Polynesia, and Wallis and Futuna.
Comoran franc - Comoros (pegged to the French franc, then the euro).
Congolese franc - Democratic Republic of Congo (suppressed in 1967 by Mobutu, re-established in 1998 by Laurent Kabila)
Burundi franc - Burundi
Rwandan franc - Rwanda
Djiboutian franc - Djibouti (pegged to the US dollar since 1973)
Guinean franc - Guinea (suppressed in 1972 by dictator Sékou Touré, re-established in 1986 by his successor Lansana Conté)
Malagasy franc - Madagascar (the Malagasy franc is scheduled to disappear by the end of 2004, replaced by the more national sounding Ariary; this controversial decision was taken by the new president of Madagascar Marc Ravalomanana)
Formerly using French franc: Andorra, Monaco (the French mint was also minting some Monaco Franc coins with the head of the prince of Monaco on them; no Monaco franc banknotes), France (including French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Réunion, Saint-Pierre and Miquelon and Mayotte).
Formerly using Belgian franc: Belgium, Luxembourg.
Formerly using Luxembourg franc: Luxembourg (1 Luxembourg franc was equal to 1 Belgian franc; Belgian francs were legal tender inside Luxembourg, but Luxembourg francs were not legal tender in Belgium).
Gourde - Haiti
Guilder - Aruba, Netherlands Antilles (Netherlands now uses euro)
Kina - Papua New Guinea
Kip - Laos
Koruna - Czech Republic, Slovakia
Kroon - Estonia
Krona - Iceland, Sweden
Krone - Denmark, Faroe Islands, Greenland, Norway
Kuna - Croatia
Kwacha - Malawi, Zambia
Kwanza - Angola
Kyat - Myanmar
Lari - Georgia
Lek - Albania
Lempira - Honduras
Leu - Romania, Moldova
Lev - Bulgaria
Lira - Cyprus, Malta and Turkey; (Italy, San Marino, Vatican City now use euro)
Manat - Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan
Mark - (Germany now uses euro)
Marka - Bosnia and Herzegovina
Markka - (Finland now uses euro)
Nafka - Eritrea
Ngultrum - Bhutan
Pataca - Macau
Peseta - (Andorra, Spain now use euro)
Peso - Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Philippines, Uruguay
Pound - Cyprus, Malta, Egypt, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey, United Kingdom (Ireland now uses euro)
Pula - Botswana
Quetzal - Guatemala
Rand - South Africa
Real - Brazil
Renminbi - People's Republic of China
Rial - Iran
Riel - Cambodia
Ringgit - Malaysia
Riyal - Qatar, Saudi Arabia
Ruble - Belarus, Russia
Rufiyah - Maldives
Rupee - India, Mauritius, Nepal, Pakistan, Seychelles, Sri Lanka
Rupiah - Indonesia
Schilling - (Austria now uses euro)
Shekel - Israel, Gaza Strip, West Bank
Shilling - Kenya
Sol - Peru
Som - Kyrgyzstan
Sucre - Ecuador
Taka - Bangladesh
Tenge - Kazakhstan
Tugrik - Mongolia
Tolar - Slovenia
Won - North Korea, South Korea
Yen - Japan
Yuan - People's Republic of China
Zloty - Poland

Currency symbols

Currency symbols are rendered obsolete by ISO 4217.
¤ - generic currency sign
$ - dollar sign
¢ - cent sign
? - mill sign - USA (1/10 cent)
£ - pound sign
¥ - yen sign - Japan
? - rupee mark - Bengal
? - rupee sign - Bengal
? - baht sign - Thailand
? - riel sign - Khmer
? - euro-currency sign - intended for ECU, but not widely used. Historical character, this is NOT the euro!
€ - euro sign - currency sign for the Eurozone countries.
¢ - colon sign - Costa Rica, El Salvador
? - cruzeiro sign - Brazil
? - French franc sign - France
£ - lira sign - Italy, Turkey
? - naira sign - Nigeria
P - peseta sign - Spain
? - rupee sign - India
? - won sign - Korea
? - new sheqel sign - Israel
? - dong sign - Vietnam
? - kip sign - Laos
? - tugrik sign - Mongolia (also transliterated as tugrug, tugric, tugrog, togrog)
? - drachma sign - Greece