The best way to expand your piggy bank is by falling in love with beautiful currency notes. Thanks to some innovative nations, the currency printed is so adorned that you wouldn’t feel like spending it. So if you haven’t traveled enough to know about the most beautiful and unique currencies, here’s a list to widen your horizons:
1. Niue Coins
Taking the lead is Niue, a tiny island nation in South Pacific, 1500 miles from New Zealand, with a population of about 1400. In 2011, Niue started with its own legal tender coins bearing Star Wars characters on it! 10 silver plated base metal coins and 1 ounce silver coins depicting Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, Chewbacca, C-3PO, etc. have come into being.
2. Kazakhstani Tenge
Tenge is downright opposite of what you’d perceive of the desert nation. As opposed to the barren and brown landscapes depicted by Borat, the currency is uniquely vibrant, colorful and wonderfully abstract. The paper note boasts their national flag, lyrics of their national anthem, signature and handprint of President Nursultan Nazarbayev and a traditional coat of arms. On the opposite side are mountains, national landmarks and canyon maps.
3. Australian Dollar
Aussies have found the most abiding way to create pretty paper notes. They tweak polymer-based bills to create a long-lasting currency that is also tough to counterfeit. The printing is in embossed form, thus enabling even the blind to differentiate between denominations.
4. Zimbabwe Dollar
If you wish to be a gazillionaire overnight, go Zimbabwe! The economy was hit by such tremendous inflation, that the Government was forced to produce 100-trillion Dollar Bills. Ironically, this note could hardly cover for a bus ride or a bread bill. Although no more operational, it is widely in demand by currency collectors.
5. Swiss Franc
Looks like Swiss values the actual builders of the nation instead of rewarding the standard politicians and aristocrats. The currency honors architect, composer, sculptor, painter, writer and historian. Even the currency denominations are distinguished in a unique fashion. The size of notes goes on expanding from 10 Franc to 1,000. Wait, that’s not all! The printing is done vertically, as against the old-school horizontal notes. Could they GET any more creative!
6. Cuban Convertible Peso
Cuba is totally unmatched in its mode of uniqueness. It is one of the very few nations to maintain two different and ghastly unequal national currencies. Local Cubans use the Cuban Peso (CUP) while there’s Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC) for the foreign visitors. Surprisingly, 1 CUC= 25 CUP, you heard it right! This weird arrangement keeps the best of Cuban produce out of reach of its own citizens, as the economy promotes the export of goods and services by making it out of reach for the locals.
7. North Korean Won
If Hitler was a megalomaniac, there’s no phrase for North Korean dictator Kim Jong-II, who made the nation’s entire currency his personal vanity project. The denominations are designed to ‘pay tribute’ to the various aspects of his life such as the house in Mount Paektu where he was born. Fables say that the night he was born, the weather suddenly changed from winter to spring, with the sky turning vibrant with rainbows and stars. He went off limits once, by setting Won’s exchange rate against USD at 2.16, an ironic tribute to his 16th February Birthday!
Post in your inputs if you have come across such interestingly designed currencies on your sojourn. If not, try collecting these! Happy travels!