Every country; sometimes territory, has its own, different currency. The various colors, designs, portraits and symbols printed on bills and coins usually relate to the country´s history and culture but can sometimes relate to other subjects such as raising awareness to a particular cause or celebrating a particular event. However, there are some currencies out there that can portray some bizarre themes or even portray normal themes in a bizarre way. From Zaire´s punched-out bills to Mongolian talking coins, these crazy currencies have actually been used around the world. Can you imagine paying for your groceries with talking money?
Fiji´s Meteorite Silver Coins
In 2012, The Republic of Fiji issued a limited series 999 10-dollar coins made from Sterling silver containing a real piece of Neuschwanstein meteorite. The meteorite fell to Earth on 6 April 2002 near the Neuschwanstein Castle, at the Germany-Austria border.
Belarusian Animal Bills
While most countries design their bills with historically important people and symbols, Belarusian bills depict animals. a 50-kopeek bill shows a squirrel, 1-ruble bill is decorated with a hare, and on a 3-ruble bill you will find a pair of beavers. Higher bills contain pictures of wolves, lynxes, moose, bears and bison.
Concentration Camp Money
These bills were created by the Nazis for the infamous concentration camp at Theresienstadt in today Czech Republic. The camp served as a showpiece for the Nazis to demonstrate to the Red Cross and other agencies how Jewish prisoners were being well treated, took part in cultural events and had schools for their children. These 10 Kronen bills were part of the propaganda; in fact they were simply papers with no value and were never used.
Thai 100-Baht Commemorative Bill
In 2004, Thai Queen Sirikit celebrated her 72nd birthday and for that occasion, the national bank issued a commemorative bill depicting her next to her husband, King Rama IX. The reverse side captures important scenes from the Queen´s life.
Benin´s 100-Franc Marijuana Coin
The world’s first Silver Legal Tender Marijuana Coin
was issued by the authority of the Government of the West African Republic of Benin. The reverse side features a bright green Cannabis Sativa leaf that, when rubbed, releases the distinct aroma of Marijuana coming from synthetic additives
Indonesia´s 20,000-Rupiah Bill
Due to high inflation, the denominations of Indonesian bills are very high. Currently, the largest Indonesian banknote is 100,000 rupiahs, the equivalent of approximately 2 USD. A 20,000 rupiah bill features an interesting combination of colors and imagery. The depicted person is Ki Hadjar Dewantara, the ex-Minister of Education and Culture, sporting weird and confused expressions.
Germany´s 50-Pfennig Bill
German emergency money was often illustrated by local artists. The images on the bills featured everything from romantic folklore to social satire, leaving behind a cultural record of this period in German history. Scary designs, such as this 50-Pfennig bill, were no exception.
Ivory Coast Coins With Mammoth´s Fossils
The Ivory Coast’s limited edition of 1000-Franc coins contained a little piece of mammoth remains.
Thai 60-Baht Square Bill
In 1987, Thailand´s bank issued a special series of 60-Baht banknotes celebrating the 60th birthday of their King Rama IX. The bill was square; measuring 6.3 by 6.3 inches, and one of the largest banknotes in the world.
Zimbabwe´s 100-Trillion-Dollar Bill
Hyperinflation in Zimbabwe began shortly after the confiscation of private farms from white landowners, towards the end of Zimbabwean involvement in the Second Congo War (1998 – 2003). The peak of the inflation is estimated at 79.6 billion percent in November 2008. At that time, the national bank were issuing bills with denominations as high as 100,000,000,000,000 dollars.
Mongolian Talking Coins
Mongolia’s 500-Tugrik coins issued in 2007 took the adage “money talks” quite literally. With the image of former U.S. President John F. Kennedy displayed on the back, the coins featured a little button, which once pressed, started to recite the president´s famous “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech. Almost immediately after the coins were released, they were snatched up by eagle-eyed collectors.
Germany´s Wooden Bills
Germany fell into a deep financial crisis after World War I which resulted into the Germans printing their own forms of unofficial currency, called “notgeld” (German word for “emergency money”). Towns printed currency on everything from wood and aluminum foil to playing cards in an attempt to circumvent the depreciating value of the German mark.
Cook Islands´10-Dollar Bill
The South Pacific country consisting of 15 little islands with a total land area of 93 square miles, has very imaginative and vivid banknotes relating to its Polynesian culture and folklore. Their 10-dollar bill, for example, features a beautiful topless woman riding a shark.
Republic of Palau´s Commemorative Coin
On the 150th anniversary of the first apparition witnessed by St. Bernadette at Lourdes in southern France in 2008, the Republic of Palau (Western Pacific) issued a commemorative coin. It has a pipette containing authentic Lourdes water in it.
Northern Ireland 5-Pound Bill
This £5 bill featuring Manchester United soccer star George Best was unique to Northern Ireland. Issued by the Ulster Bank in 2006 as a commemoration on the death of this great player, the bill was to celebrate him and create a unique bit of memorabilia since only one million of these bills were printed.
Zambia Silver Proof 5000 Kwacha
Containing approximately one troy ounce of silver, this bizarre looking coin was first issued to commemorate the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. It’s unusual shape is actually the combination of the Australia and Zambia maps which may be a bit hard to recognize since both countries are depicted to be the same size. The coin itself measures 1.9 by 1.6 inches.
Oldest Chinese Bill
Paper bills were first used by the Chinese, who started carrying folding money during the Tang Dynasty (A.D. 618-907) — mostly in the form of privately issued bills of credit or exchange notes. The paper notes were used for more than 500 years before the practice began to catch on in Europe around the 17th century. This Chinese Kuan note is the world’s oldest known banknote, dating back to around 1380.
Hungarian 100-Million-Billion-Pengo Bill
Hungary’s currency – the Pengo – suffered the highest rate of hyperinflation ever. Consequently, in 1946, the Hungarian bank issued a 100 Million Billion Pengo bill. (That’s: 100,000,000,000,000,000.) In spite of the ridiculously high number, this bill was only worth about 20 American cents. In July 1946, the country replaced the Pengo with the Forint.
Easter Islands Pop-Up Head Coin
The most prominent landmark of the Easter Islands is depicted in this coin in an original and entertaining way. The silver coin was designed so that the miniature statues can be inserted vertically into a slot on the coin, creating a three-dimensional version of the famous Easter Island monuments.
Zaire´s Mobutu Bills
In 1997, the African country of Zaire, (today Democratic Republic of the Congo), overthrew the totalitarian regime of president Joseph Mobutu. But since the new government did not have enough new currency, they decided to use the old 20,000-Zaire bills with Mobutu´s portrait punched out.
Republic of Palau´s Freshwater Pearl Coin
Another original and intricate coin design from Palau; these coins have green freshwater pearls – a local lucky symbol that is supposed to bring you happiness – embedded in them. The coins, decorated with various types of sea shells, are part of a limited series which was also supposed to raise awareness of marine wildlife protection.
Yugoslavian 500,000,000,000-Dinara Bill
Yugoslavia experienced rampant hyperinflation from 1989 until currency reforms took place in 1994. The highest denomination in 1988 was 50,000 Dinara, but this had changed to 500,000,000,000 Dinara by 1994.
Tristan da Cunha´s Coin With Piece of Concorde Heat Shield
Tristan da Cunha, a territory occupying remote volcanic islands in the south Atlantic Ocean, issued a special series of coins to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Concorde in 2009. The coin is gold plated and each coin contains a tiny piece of the Concorde’s titanium alloy heat shield.
Alaskan Parchment Money
Issued by a Russian-American fur trading company in the colony of Russian America, this currency was in circulation from 1816 to 1867. The money was also known as seal or walrus skin notes because it was printed on parchment made from seals and walruses. The denominations were 10, 25, 50 kopecks and 1, 5, 10, and 25 rubles.
Philippines´ 100,000-Peso Bill
The bill was issued by the Central Bank of The Philippines to commemorate the Philippine Centennial Celebration in 1998. Measuring 8.5 inches wide and 14 inches long, the Guinness Book of World Records recognized the bill as the world’s largest banknote of legal tender.