Thursday, Sep 8, 2011
Where are the world's most beautiful banknotes to be found? Surely our dowdy pound notes or the equally boring US dollar bills won't make the top ten, let alone the top twenty. Even the euro notes, a brand new currency, hardly set the world on fire, despite coming with many different designs that vary from country to country.
No, to find more colourful banknotes you have to look further afield, to African and Asian countries and obscure island states. Here is Walletpop's selection of the best.
This slightly racy one comes from the Cook Islands.
This Polish 50 zloty note depicts the Polish pope John Paul II (or Jan Pawel II in his native language), who died in 2005.
Yemen unveiled this new 250 rials note last year, which also features a mosque.
Egyptian banknotes usually feature a mosque on one side and pharaos, sphinxes and temples on the other. This one pound note shows Qaitbay Mosque and the Abu Simpel temples.
A man holds up the new 10-yuan banknote in Wuhan of Hubei Province, China. To commemorate the Beijing Olympic Games, China's central bank issued a commemorative 10-yuan (95p) note in 2008, which features the National Stadium, or 'the Bird's Nest,' and the emblem of the Beijing Games.
A crab's claw graces Denmark's Faroe Islands' 500 kronur note, with the view from Hvannasundi on the reverse. A large cracked rock rests in an area just north of Hvannasund. According to an old legend, that rock broke the very moment that Jesus was born.
Canada proves that even a major economy can produce pretty banknotes, featuring early ice hockey players, and puts its bigger neighbour to shame.
Colourful birds and other animals are another popular motif in some parts of the world. This 2 1/2 gulden note from Suriname depicts a bird on one side and a lizard on the reverse.
Some of the best-looking banknotes feature beautiful women. This one is a case in point. It is from the French Pacific Territories including French Polynesia and New Caledonia.
A Portuguese-speaking island nation in the Gulf of Guinea, off the west coast of Africa. It is the second-smallest African country in terms of population, after the Seychelles. The two islands are just north of the equator. São Tomé, the southern island, was named in honour of Saint Thomas by Portuguese explorers who arrived at the island on his feast day. Both islands were uninhabited then.