Money may not buy you love, said The Beatles, but it can surely change anything and everything. It is not a god, but it certainly is beautiful to own it. And since it would be nice to have heaps of it, would it not be nice as well if these heaps are as pretty as works of art.
Be it the catchy colors, unique designs or beautiful portraits, having pretty currency notes make them nicer to collect, and who knows, make them harder to spend and part with. Here then are the top ten most beautiful currencies in the world.
1. Franc of the French Pacific Territories
Bora Bora, Hiva Oa, Moorea, Nuku Hiva and Tahiti are the islands that make up the French Polynesia, and these territories can be described as nothing short of paradise. With its wondrous beaches and year long sunshine, these islands are as pretty as a postcard. Writers have run out of words describing its beauty, and artists have never tire of depicting scenes from these paradises on earth. The works of Jimmy Buffett, Paul Gauguin, Somerset Maugham, Herman Melville, and Robert Louis Stevenson have all praised the charm of the place. Everything about these islands is beautiful, including its currency notes. The colors, the underwater scenes, the locals and their art are all depicted in the French Polynesian francs.
2. Rufiyaa of the Republic of Maldives
The Republic of Maldives is a chain of more than 1,300 islands and cays in the Indian Ocean located around 500 miles from the southwest portion of India. The country has pretty beaches, but a significant part of its population remains desperately poor. We are not really sure how many of them have taken the time to appreciate the beauty of their currency notes, what with all the other basic needs that they have to focus on. The bill features a fishing boat and some coconuts, which are the two main forms of livelihood in the islands. Cowrie shells are depicted at the bottom of the bill. These shells constituted the first form of international currency or commodity, and the Maldives were its main source.
3. Dobra of Sao Tome & Principe
Another paradise on earth with its amazing beaches and sceneries, Sao Tome & Principe is a small country made up of volcanic islands and located off the coast of western equatorial Africa in the Gulf of Guiana. The country features unique wildlife that could only be seen in the area, including the Alcedo Thomensis. More popularly known as the Sao Tome kingfisher, this endemic animal is featured in the country’s currency note.
4. Franc of Switzerland
They are known to be stiff, staid and serious, but let us not forget that the Swiss are also known for its banks. So it should not come as a surprise that their currency notes are some of the most beautiful in the world. One of the country’s bills pays tribute to the noted Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti, who lived from 1901 to 1966. Some of his most famous works are featured in the Swiss franc.
5. Franc of Comoros
A colony of the French for more than a century, Comoros achieved independence in 1975. Located in the eastern coast of Africa just above the country of Madagascar, Comoros has suffered from constant conflict brought about by an unending series of coup de etats and power grabs. Amazingly, its currency does not reflect the country’s struggles, instead featuring an incredibly tranquil scene of a lone tree bereft of leaves standing near the sea.
6. Dollar of New Zealand
When one of your country’s citizens was the first to reach the peak of the highest mountain in the world in Mt. Everest in 1953, that person surely deserves to be honored with a portrait in one of your bill notes. If that same person was also the first to cross Antarctica through the South Pole in 1958 and the first reach the source of the Ganges River in the Himalayas in 1977, that person deserves nothing less than an outstanding portrait in one of the most beautiful currencies in the world. Sir Edmund Hillary of New Zealand was the man, and the man certainly had gone a long way from being a beekeeper to legendary outdoorsman.
7. Dollar of Cook Islands
Cook Islands is located in the middle of Hawaii and New Zealand. It is far away from the rest of the world, and it does not have the infrastructure to attract a great number of tourists. This means that only a few people from outside the country have seen its wonderful currency notes. One features a unique design of a woman confidently riding on a shark. It is a scene from out of nowhere, which pretty much sums up the island nation.
8. Dollar of Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of the premier business centers in the world. It has long disproved the notion that its return from being a British colony to the hands of the Chinese in 1997 would put a halt to the freewheeling economy of the small state. It has maintained its own currency, and knowing its popularity to criminal elements, the country has taken a lot of measures to ensure that it would be almost impossible to counterfeit it. Hong Kong dollar bills may be futuristic, yet sublimely practical.
9. Kronur of Iceland
In a quiet corner of Scandinavia, an Icelandic seamstress who lived from 1646 to 1715 once had the distinction of being the wife to two successive bishops of her country. Her name was Ragnheiour Jonsdottir, and the celebrated woman is depicted in one of the country’s currency notes wearing a tall hat and teaching two of her students.
10. Kronur of Faroe Islands
Located in the North Atlantic between Norway and Iceland, Faroe Islands is a windswept country with tremendous people. Its currency notes feature unique asymmetrical designs and a crab with prominent claws. Not that layout should be enough to get anyone’s attention.
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