One good way to judge a currency is by looking at how it trades on the foreign exchange markets.
A less boring way is to just see how it looks in your hand, all crisp and money-like.
From epic 19th century leaders to blinding colour schemes, some of the globe’s currencies use style to make up for a dearth in purchasing power.
Sure, the U.S. dollar is great. But the boring colours and lack of diversity (Every face is of a white male) makes it the most boring currency in the world.
So, here you have it: the world’s coolest banknotes.
1. Icelandic krona
With a cartoonishly Nordic look, the krona is fun for the whole family.
2. Angolan kwanza
3. East Caribbean dollar
A young, smirking Queen Elizabeth gives this banknote an island chicness.
4. Israeli shekel
The colourful “new” shekel redesign borders on glow in the dark (unconfirmed).
5. Latvian lats
A direct, bearded figure on a soft red and white background. This currency says, “I’m not the Euro, buddy.”
6. Brunei dollar
A stunning currency. Blue and yellow pastels contrast with stoic, mustachioed generals of Brunei yore.
7. Liberian dollar
Liberia’s history is directly tied to the U.S., and you can actually see it in the banknote, albeit with a uniquely African colour scheme and gusto.
8. Comorian franc
The currency from Comoros looks like something out of an old painting.
9. Turkmenistan manat
The manat’s purples, maroons, and greens give it a 1980s electropunk feel, but with a certain austere importance to it. Well done.
10. Canadian dollar
For obvious reasons.
11. Samoan tala
Samoa’s currency doubles as a travel brochure. Check out that luxurious coastline!
12. Czech crown
An absolute classic, this currency screams, “Never again, USSR. Never again.”
13. Mongolian tugrik
This ancient Mongolian leader is not to be messed with.
14. Iranian rial
UN sanctions have sent the value plummeting, but the rial itself is a real classic. Staunch leader, big mountain. A simple and effective formula.
15. Bhutanese ngultrum
Stunning (plus honorable mention for best name).
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