June 29, 2022

Private Clients

Every currency has a story

Every currency has a story

There are 180 currencies across the globe that circulate in 197 countries. While notes and coins are the traditional forms of currency used, there have been some weird iterations of this trade of exchange. 

We all know about the first iterations of currencies being seashells, salt, cocoa beans and jewellery, but there are some more interesting tales about currency that tells us what was happening in the world at that time.  

The British Pound, European Euro, Chinese Yuan, Japanese Yen, and the American Dollar all have their own idiosyncrasies.

  • The Euro, used by 19 of the 27 countries in the region are all identical. According to Banque de France, “Euro banknotes are identical in all euro area countries”.
  • The British Pound is not indestructible. According to shortlist.com, despite local lore, the five pound note is not indestructible and if (and when) the Queen does pass on, the face of the new monarch, presumably Prince Charles, will have to face the other way – it will now be to the left. 
  • The US one-dollar bill, according to Best Life, has not changed in design for over 50 years and costs 5.5cents to produce each bill. The famous bill is not made of paper but rather 75% cotton and 25% linen. So not “paper money” as we always refer to it as. 
  • The Japanese Yen, that shares the symbol ¥ with the Chinese Yuan, is known to be one of the most difficult notes in the world to counterfeit. The bills use a variety of anticounterfeit measures including holograms, intaglio ink (it raises the print of the bills when touched), watermarks and luminescent ink. 
  • The Chinese Yuan turned to paper from coins in the 9th century and when Marco Polo arrived in the middle kingdom in the 13th century – he found this impressive. According to his travel journal, “All these pieces of paper are issued with as much solemnity and authority as if they were of pure gold or silver”.
  • The South African Rand has been in existence since 1961 – replacing the British pound. According to Buzzfeed, from 1961 – 1982 it held a higher value than the US dollar and has been trying to catch up ever since. 

While the historical trends are certainly of great interest, tales of the world are still told in currencies. 

The world’s currencies are used to trade, purchase property across the globe, to invest in offshore opportunities or used for international travel (especially now that borders are starting to open – albeit with caution). 

As salt is no longer used as the currency of choice and currency’s values fluctuate against each other daily, a trusted currency partner can come in handy. 

At Currency Partners, we understand that behind each and every currency transfer there is a story that matters to you, which is why you are our most valuable currency. 

To speak to an expert, please contact us at enquiries@currencypartners.co.za or +27 21 203 0081. We look forward to hearing from you and saving you money on the exchange rates.


We look forward to partnering with you and saving you time and money.