01 April 2010

Bring out your Francs, Markkas, Pesetas and Liras.

BBC News - Eurosceptic French town rejects euro:
"French town rejects euro"

I ran across this BBC article on the French Franc still being used in the town of Le Blanc.  It seems not everyone feels that the euro is a magic chariot that sprinkles economic prosperity on all who adopt it. But it got me thinking about the EU currency.

Economics aside, I am not a fan of what the euro represents. It promotes the stripping of identities. To me, a bank note is a visual representation of a country. It contains so much information regarding its people, culture, ideals and aspirations. It's really quite amazing. Is there another widely exchanged mass commodity which provides more education on a daily basis? From Egypt’s display of ancient pharaohs to Kazakhstan’s exotic electric-blue design each note tells a unique story.

Here are some of the most beautiful bank notes and their stories

Swiss Franc

In 1995, the current and eighth series of Swiss banknote designs were slowly released into circulation. Each denomination features a portrait of a famous Swiss artist atop a bold color scheme—further demonstrating Switzerland’s ever-chic artistic reputation and forward-thinking ways. The front of this bill features composer Arthur Honegger, while the back depicts elements (including a locomotive wheel and a piano keyboard) that evoke his famous composition “Pacific 231.” Estimated Exchange Rate: 1 U.S.dollar = 1.08492 Swiss francs

Egyptian Pound
Above is one of seven denominations of Egyptian banknotes that were introduced into circulation by the Central Bank of Egypt in 1961. The side written in Arabic has a picture of the Sultan Qayetbay mosque and the side written in English displays a carving from one of the temples at Abu Simbel, which features four identical statues of Pharaoh Ramses II, who ruled Egypt for 67 years. Estimated Exchange Rate: 1 U.S. dollar = 5.55575 Egyptian pounds

Hong Kong Dollar

In July 2007, Hong Kong became the 25th country to gradually introduce a $10 polymer banknote—both more durable and secure than the standard paper banknote. Both $10 bill version are considered legal tender and bear the same design—the beautiful abstract arrangement of geometric shapes in shades of mauve, purple, blue and yellow shown above. The design makes impressionistic references to modern architecture as well as to festive and cultural activities in Hong Kong. Estimated Exchange Rate: 1 U.S. dollar = 7.74997 Hong Kong dollars

Aruban Florin
In 1986, Aruba’s new governing power created a unique currency called the florin to replace the Antilles guilder. Starting in 1990, the bills were redesigned by Evelino Fingal, Aruban graphic artist and director of the Archaeological Museum, who found his inspiration for the eccentric designs in Native American tribal paintings, archeological pottery shards and native wildlife. On each denomination, the images are layered to create a modernistic collage of cool geometric shapes. Estimated Exchange Rate: 1 U.S. dollar = 1.77000 Aruban florins

Antarctican “Dollar”

This is collector’s item is nonlegal tender. Created by the Antarctica Overseas Exchange Office, the bill designs are based on regional geography and wildlife. The one displayed above features Peterman Island on the front and the picturesque image of penguins jumping into the nearly freezing waters off the Ross Ice Shelf on the reverse.

Dutch Guilder

This former currency of The Netherlands was replaced by the euro on January 1, 2002. Among the bills, whose loss the Dutch surely mourned, was this bright yellow sunflower-clad 50-guilder banknote, which was designed by Jaap Drupsteen in the 1990s. The series, which portrayed an intricate pattern of geometric designs, including radio schema and resistors, boasted a colorful array of sunflowers, lighthouses and birds were said to encapsulate classic Dutch artistry.

Australian Dollar

Introduced in 1966 to replace the pound when Australia adopted decimal-based currency, the Australian dollar bears a portrait of two prominent Australian figures on each side and reflects the artistic and cultural values of the era in which they lived. In the 1980s, polymer notes were introduced into circulation—boasting security updates which included a transparent window with an optically variable image of British explorer, navigator and cartographer Captain James Cook. Estimated Exchange Rate: 1 U.S. dollar = 1.25521 Australian dollars

CFP Franc

The currency of French Polynesia, New Caledonia, and Wallis and Futuna is the CFP Franc, which was introduced in 1945. Typically, one side of the banknote shows landscapes or historical figures of New Caledonia, while the other side features those of French Polynesia. The front of the bill pictured above depicts a coastal landscape of Huahiné and a French Polynesian Tahitian woman; the back shows coral and fish of New Caledonia, and a New Caledonian Melanesian woman wearing hibiscus flowers. Estimated Exchange Rate: 1 U.S. dollar = 84.42800 CFP francs

Cook Islands Dollar

Cook Islands, the 15 small islands that make up the self-governing parliamentary democracy in free association with New Zealand has a currency that is slowly falling out of favor (though still remains legal tender). Introduced in 1987 (and revamped in 1992) the banknotes depict various aspects of South Pacific life and have an exchange rate similar to the New Zealand dollar. The 1987 currency note above shows a nude Ina (a Polynesian mythological figure) riding a shark on one side and a traditional canoe alongside the god Te-Rongo on the other. Estimated Exchange Rate: 1 U.S. dollar = 1.57208 New Zealand dollars

Kazakhstan Tenge

The Kazakhstan tenge, was introduced in 1993—replacing the Soviet ruble as the national currency. The most current design of the banknote features a geographical outline of the country on one side and overlapping national treasures on the other, which include the Astana-Baiterek Monument, the Kazakhstan flag, the signature of President Nazarbayev and lyrics from the Kazakh national anthem. Estimated Exchange Rate: 1 U.S. dollar = 148.330 Kazakhstan tenge

As for the Euro
The currency of the Eurozone has been in circulation since 2002. The European Central Bank designs and issues all currency and follows strict design specs/elements. The end result:
"was for all the structures represented on the banknotes to be entirely fictional syntheses of the relevant architectural styles, merely designed to evoke the landmarks within the EU"- wiki  

For more banknotes, here is great website which has pictures of all the paper currencies of the world (in french)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very informative post. Keep it up!

Love you,

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