pounds, dollars, and euros

pounds, dollars, and euros

For me, one of the best parts of going abroad is the chance to look at foreign money. Whether it be stove-pipe hatted presidents in the US, or cousins of the humble mallard in Canada, it provides a great opportunity to see what different currencies say about a country’s culture. With that in mind, I thought I’d put together a post illustrating some of the coolest facts about foreign currencies. Having read this, you’ll hopefully arrive in your foreign destination excited not only to visit strange museums (or lie on the beach for a fortnight), but see what that nation’s currency can tell you about the place you’re in. Have fun!

1. There is a bird on the $1 Canadian dollar coin. This is the loon, a common bird found both in Canada and Europe. In fact, so famed has the Canadian dollar become for its featuring this bird, it is commonly called the loonie. There is a giant commemorative statue of the coin called The Big Loonie standing in Ontario.

2. The New Zealand dollar is often called the kiwi in foreign exchange circles. This doesn’t have something to do with the citrus fruit. Instead, it’s because of the kiwi bird found in New Zealand, endemic to the country and (what’s more) absolutely flightless. Like the loon, the kiwi is something of a symbol to New Zealand, explaining the connection (although obviously there is some sort of bird-currencies obsession in the world of finance.)

3. The Australian dollar is widely known as the emu on the foreign exchange market. Why not complete the hat-trick? These giant birds (endemic to Australia, and also flightless) have come to be associated with the Australian dollar as a symbol of the currency. This isn’t to say you can go into a bureau de change and ask, “I’d like to change 100 US dollars into emus, please.” If you were to do that, the best you could hope for is a polite, “Pardon?” from the teller. Nonetheless, hang around foreign exchange websites for long enough, and talk of the emu will pop up.

4. Different denominations of the US dollar have different lifespans. Yep, that’s right. US bills are designed to last different lengths of time, depending on their printed value. While the humble $1 bill has an estimated lifespan of just 22 months, you can expect a $100 bill to last up to 89 months unscathed. Coins of course last much longer, and typically have an estimated lifespan of a quarter century. So treat your dollar bills with care!

5. Credit cards are poisonous. Okay, this isn’t strictly related to currency, but it’s too entertaining not to include. Credit cards are made up of a combination of plastics, inks and metal oxides that, if ingested, are in fact poisonous. If you ate enough, not only would you have trouble paying for your shopping, you’d almost certainly need to consult a doctor – fast.

Thinking about emigrating? Then for industry-beating personal guidance about how to transfer your savings abroad, visit us at foreign exchange specialist Pure FX. We’d be delighted to help with your enquiry.

Author: Peter Lavelle at foreign exchange specialist Pure FX