Unusual Currencies

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When we say unusual currencies, that means to us in the UK of course. The general population of Angola for example, would think there is nothing unusual about the Kwanza but may be laughing their socks off at “pound sterling”!

On Compare Holiday Money we list around 65 currencies for sale in the UK and it pretty much covers the ground for UK travellers. However, there are 180 currencies in the world recognised by the United Nations and we take a brief look at a few of them that you may not have heard of.

Albanian Lek  code: ALL

Albania is a small country nestled between Greece and Kosovo. It is home to around 3m people and the capital is Tirana. Albania was without a currency until 1926 when the Lek was introduced and is divided into 100 Quindarka.

Current rate £1 = L142.00 *

Armenia Dram  AMD

Nothing to do with whisky, the dram is the official currency of Armenia, bordered by Turkey and Georgia. Pop. 3m, capital Yerevan the Dram is divided into  100 luma.

Current rate £1 = ֏631.00

Aruba Florin   AWG

Where? This is what Wikipeadia says: “Aruba is an island and a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the southern Caribbean Sea, located about 1,600 kilometres (990 mi) west of the main part of the Lesser Antilles and 29 kilometres (18 mi) north of the coast of Venezuela”

So now you know.

Current rate £1 = ƒ2.33

Brunei Darussalam Dollar BND

Brunei, tucked away on the north coast of Borneo and officially known as “Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace” and it’s capital is Bendar Seri Begawan. The Brunei Dollar is divided into 100 sen (cents) and is interchangeable on par with the Singapore dollar.

Current rate £1 = $1.80

Bosnia and Herzegovina convertible mark BAM

Bosnia and Herzegovina is to the south of Croatia and a great place to visit for it’s culture and history. The Bosnia and Herzegovina convertible mark has been the currency of the country since 1995 and replaced 3 currencies in the country at that time including the Croatian kuna. It is divided into 100 fenings.

Current rate £1 =- KM2.24

Bolivia Boliviano BOB

Not many countries have a currency the same name as the Country! Although, I suppose you could make an argument for the European Euro. The new BOB has been the currency of South American country Bolivia since 1987 when it replaced the Bolivian Peso. It is divided into 100 centavos.

Current rate £1 = Bs.9.07

Bhutanese Ngultrum BTN

The Kingdom of Bhutan is located in the eastern Himalayas. It is a small country with a population of around 800,000 and the capital is Thimpu. However, it enjoys it’s own currency the Ngultrum which is divided into 100 Chretum and is pegged one to one with the Indian Rupee.

Current rate £1 = Nu.95.00

Botswana Pula BWP

The Republic of Botswana in Southern Africa is very dry and home to the Kalahari desert and has very little rainfall. However, the currency name “Pula” actually means rain and it is so named because it it seen as valuable. The word is also a National motto so there is more to this currency name than meets the eye. It is divided into 100 Thebe. The Pula replaced the south African Rand in 1976.

Current rate £1 = P13.96

Ethiopia Birr ETB

The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in east Africa (aka Abyssinia), capital Addis Ababa is home to over 100 million people and can trace it’s history back to the begininng of civilisation. The Birr has not been around quite that long and the first Birr were introduced in 1855. After a period of the Italian lira from 1936 and the East Africa shilling during WW II the second Birr was introduced in 1944. It is divided into 100 Santim.

Current rate £1 = Br36.50

*All rates were taken at the time of writing for informational purposes and are the live mid-market rates from XE.com. For current live retail rates of popular currencies visit the website.


Posted by Graham Morley

Graham Morley

Graham is the Business Development Manager for Compare Holiday Money.

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