14 Coolest Currencies From Around the World

14 Coolest Currencies From Around the World

It’s so funky you wouldn’t want to spend them!

Before bank cards render currencies obsolete (this shouldn’t come as a shock judging by the fact that we are shifting towards a cashless economy), let’s take a look at some of the coolest currencies from around the world. (We can’t help but admire its often quirky and out-of-the-ordinary designs.) They say money talks but let these currencies catch your eye!

 1.Samoan tālā

Image credit: Pinterest

The bright and vibrant colours of the banknote make it conspicuous and pleasing to look at. The portrayal of the country’s national bird, Manumea, and impressive waterfall in Samoa breaks away from the stereotypical depiction of prominent figures on currencies. It pays tribute to the beautiful Treasured Islands of the South Pacific.

2. Norwegian Krone

Image credit: Dezeen

Less is more may sound cliche but there is more to the minimalist design of the Norwegian banknote than meets the eyes.The pixelated pattern which differs for each banknote makes reference to the Beaufort scale – an empirical measure for describing wind intensity based on observed sea conditions – while reflecting Norwegian’s exquisite coastlines.

3. Australian Dollar

Australia was the first country to issue a plastic polymer note in 1988, during its bicentennial celebration. David Unaipon, who appears on the AUD50 banknote, is a Ngarrindjeri man who made noteworthy improvements in the lives of Aboriginal people (that certainly adds to the cool factor). The complex design of the currency also makes it difficult to counterfeit. 

4. Bhutan Ngultrum

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

The prominent image on the front of this bill is the government’s crest flanked by two dragons with encrusted jewels on its claw. It signifies the traditional name of Bhutan, i.e. land of the thunder dragon (Druk Yul), while the jewels symbolise wealth and perfection of the kingdom.

5. Uzbekistan, soʻm

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

“Som” means “Pure” in Kyrgyz, Uyghur, and Uzbek, three languages commonly spoken in Uzbekistan. The effortless design of the 25 so’m can be easily discerned as there are no over-elaborate elements. It is unostentatious yet sophisticated at the same time.

6. Egyptian Pound

Image credit: Leftover Currency 

The Egyptian £1 coin features the mask of Pharaoh Tutankhamun. For the uninitiated, Pharaoh Tutankhamun, often referred to as King Tut, was the 12th Pharaoh of the 18th Egyptian Dynasty. He was renowned for his grandiose tomb which was discovered intact in 1922. This coin sure looks like a relic from the past. 

7. South African Rand

Image credit: Pxfuel

South African currency celebrates the country’s unwavering love for nature and pledge towards sustainability. The banknotes give prominence to Africa’s Big Five: the rhinoceros, elephant, lion, buffalo and leopard.

8. French Pacific, Franc

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

There is something striking about this banknote. The myriad of colours and distinct characters make it dramatic. It is a legal tender in French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna and New Caledonia.

9. Brazil, Cruzeiro

Image credit: Adam Dusseau

While the Brazillian Cruzeiro has been replaced with the Real as of 1994, this currency deserves a spot in our list. The representation of two girls with distinct tattoos on their faces pay homage to the many indigenous people inhabiting Brazil, many of whom live in the Amazon without destroying it.

10. England, Pound

Image credit: Pxhere

The Pound is the world’s oldest currency still in use since its inception. It is 1200 years old, dating back to the time of the Anglo-Saxon. The 1990 notes shown above depict a mature Queen Elizabeth II who was 64 when it was issued. It glorifies the reigning monarch of England. 

11. Cook Islands, Dollar

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

The legend of Ina and the shark is beautifully depicted on the three dollars banknote above. It was said that Ina crossed the dangerous ocean with the help of the shark to be reunited with her lover. While the official currency in Cook Islands is the New Zealand Dollar (NZD), some of these notes are still in circulation. 

12. São Tomé and Príncipe, Dobras

Image credit: Gypsy Spirit

A stark illustration of a purposeful-looking Rei Amador – a historical leader believed to have spearheaded a famous slave rebellion in 1500 – is a powerful imagery. He is an emblem of freedom for the people of São Tomé and Príncipe.

13. Canada, Dollar

Designed as a vertical note, an orientation that is uncommon among banknotes, steers Canada towards a ‘new direction’. It is also the first time a Canadian woman has appeared on the currency. The banknote was accorded the prestigious “Bank Note of the Year Award” in 2018. 

14. Bahamas, Dollar

This archipelago boasts colourful banknotes but there is something intriguing about their loose change. It features engravings of 3 starfishes on its 1 cent coin and a pineapple on its 5 cents coins. The coins certainly bring attention to the array of tropical islands in the Bahamas.

It is almost unbelievable that these notes and coins were simply created to be a medium of exchange to facilitate transactions. The impressive designs make them worthy of being displayed at an art exhibition. 

Which one’s your favourite?


About Author

Ifah Sakinah
Ifah Sakinah

Sakinah has a discerning palate and an innate desire to satisfy her inner curiosity. While she hasn't been everywhere, it's definitely on her list.


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