You think our five centavo pendant, er, coin is cool? That’s nothing—we repeat, nothing—compared to some of the more outrageous currencies from all around the world—which we're about to show you. Some of them aren’t usable anymore, but their lack of monetary value definitely doesn’t detract from their entertainment value.
Read on to learn more about some of the most bizarre bills and coins the world of money has ever seen!
1) IVORY COAST'S MAMMOTH COINS
Archeology junkies will get a kick out of one particular coin from the the Ivory Coast, which contains a bit of mammoth fossil. Which is really weird, because as far as we know, Cote d’Ivoire is in Africa, and wooly mammoths probably weren’t able to survive in such warm climates. But hey, walang basagan ng trip!
2) EASTER ISLAND'S POP-UP COINGS
The Chilean territory of Easter Island showcased their best asset—their gigantic statues called moai (you learned something new today!)—by putting them in their currency. Remember those pop-up books you loved when you were a kid? Imagine that in coin form!
3) MONGOLIA'S TALKING COINS
Mongolia took the idiom "money talks" a little bit too seriously by issuing limited-edition coins that play a part of John F. Kennedy’s "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech. The coin’s value may only be 500 Tugrik (roughly equivalent to P12), but its collector’s item status clearly says a different thing.
4) PALAU'S HOLY COINS
We have our hole-y five centavos, while Palau has their holy coins, which contain a bit of holy water from Lourdes, France. #Blessed
5) FIJI'S METEORITE COINS
Hold a piece of the cosmos in your hand with Fiji’s silver meteorite coin, which contains bits of a meteor that fell in Germany back in 2002. We don’t understand what Fiji, a tiny island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, has to do with Germany, which is located 16,127 kilometers away, but hey, whatever floats their boat!
6) ZAIRE'S PUNCHED-OUT BILLS
The people from Zaire (the country we now know as the Democratic Republic of Congo) hated their former president Joseph Mobutu so much, they actually punched his face out from their bills when he was overthrown back in 1997. If only forgetting your ex was that easy, eh?
7) HUNGARY'S 100-MILLION BILLION PENGO BILL
Hungary’s currency, the Pengo, drastically inflated after World War II, prompting the Hungarian Bank to issue a 100 million billion bill. (We got dizzy just counting the zeros.) It sounds like a ridiculously huge amount, but it was only equal to around 20 US cents back then.
8) ZIMBABWE'S 100-TRILLION DOLLAR BILL
We love how it’s so easy to feel crazy rich in certain countries. You can, for example, get a million Vietnamese Dong for only around P2,000. Zimbabwe, however, took it a gazillion steps further with the Zimbabwean dollar, which used to have 100 trillion denominations. Pretty eye-popping, eh? Guess what: It’s only worth 40 US cents—around P20.
9) AFRICA'S KISSI MONEY
Around a century ago, several tribes in Western Africa used Kissi money, which are shaped iron rods that vary in length (the longer, the better!). Here’s the crazy part: if a rod breaks, you can’t use it anymore until you have it restored by a witch doctor to reincarnate the soul that escaped from the money. Wait, what?
10) MICRONESIA'S RAI STONES
In the tiny island of Yap, located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, people use huge limestone discs called Rai as money. And when we say huge, we really mean huge—some Rai stones are heavier than a car, and their value increases if, say, some dude dies while carrying one around (a highly plausible scenario, actually).
And since they’re so heavy, the stones sometimes don’t even physically change hands—you can just leave it in the middle of a forest or something and it’s still considered usable. And because they’re so huge and practically impossible to hide, theft isn’t a concern at all. If only we Pinoys could be this chill...
Images via Numiscollect.eu, News.nster.com, Theweek.com, Coinsboutique.com, Oddee.com, Wikipedia.com, Tri.org, Liberiapastandpresent.org, Tripfreakz.com