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  #1  
Old 06-01-2003, 04:26 PM
Shalmanese Shalmanese is offline
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smallest unit of currency

I was just wondering which countries have the largest and smallest smallest unit of currency respectively.

For example, the smallest unit of currency in Australia is the 5 cent coin which corresponds to roughly 3.4 US cents. The smallest unit in the US is obviously 1 US cent.

What about for other countries?
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  #2  
Old 06-01-2003, 06:17 PM
GaryM GaryM is offline
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What's the conversion rate of Italian Lire to U.S. dollars? The rate is 1 USD to 1652.42 Lire. But Lire are listed as obsolete.

The current rate is 1936.27 Lire to a Euro.

Check this site: http://www.xe.com/ucc/ and run the list.

On rereading the OP, perhaps you are asking which country has the smallest denomination unit?
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  #3  
Old 06-01-2003, 06:32 PM
MC Master of Ceremonies MC Master of Ceremonies is offline
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Well, the exchange rate for Turkish Lira to the pound last time I went was about 2.7 million TL to £1 (I'm not up on the $ exchange rate but a rough estimate would be 2 million TL to $1), the 10,000 TL notes are still legal tender there, so they work out to be about 0.4p or half a cent.

I belive there are other countries that have smaller currency units than Turkey (IIRC it was Papua New Guinea or one of the nearby countries that has the lowest).
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Old 06-01-2003, 07:09 PM
Qadgop the Mercotan Qadgop the Mercotan is offline
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Just to be difficult, I must point out that the smallest unit of Official US currency is the mill. It is worth one tenth of a cent. None were ever minted. The smallest US currency that was actually minted was the half-cent, or five mill piece.
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  #5  
Old 06-01-2003, 09:19 PM
Polycarp Polycarp is offline
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If I'm not mistaken, the one centisimo piece of Mexico was never officially demonetized, and being worth 0.01 of a peso, which is worth $0.097078, it would be an actual coin legally entitled to circulate that is worth marginally less than a U.S. mill.
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  #6  
Old 06-01-2003, 09:56 PM
woolly woolly is offline
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Re: smallest unit of currency

Quote:
Originally posted by Shalmanese
the smallest unit of currency in Australia is the 5 cent coin
As a nitpick the smallest unit of currency in Australia remains the 1 cent coin. According to Reserve Bank figures, of the 10.3 billion Australian coins still on issue, 35% are 1 & 2 cent coins.

1 & 2 cent coins are no longer minted and they could only be used to settle debts of less than 20c, have been withdrawn from circulation, but are still legal tender and can still be deposited.

http://www.rba.gov.au/CurrencyNotes/...al_tender.html
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  #7  
Old 06-01-2003, 10:34 PM
Bookkeeper Bookkeeper is offline
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Quote:
Just to be difficult, I must point out that the smallest unit of Official US currency is the mill. It is worth one tenth of a cent. None were ever minted.
The mill in the U.S. (and Canada) is used mainly for setting tax rates, and is an example of what is known as a "currency of account" used only for bookkeeping entries and never actually existing as a minted coin, and may therefore be outside the OP's reference.

Other examples of currencies of acount include the English Mark, worth 2/3 of a Pound, which was a medieval currency of account which continued to be used for certain traditional purposes into the 20th century, and the British Guinea, which was originally a real coin, and continued as a currency of account after the coins ceased to be minted in 1813 (mostly for upper class or wanna-be activities such as auction houses or expensive shops).
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  #8  
Old 06-01-2003, 11:24 PM
desdinova desdinova is offline
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An interesting tidbit on "currencies of account": a number of U.S. states produced "tax tokens" in denominations of less than one penny, for use in sales taxes. A google search for "tax tokens" ought to turn up plenty of info on these little plastic or wooden oddities. These probably don't qualify as "currency" in the strictest sense of the word.

Also, Polycarp, I presume you slipped a decimal place, because "$0.097078" is slightly less than a dime, not a penny. If the actual number is "$0.0097078", then it would still lose out to the half penny, which IIRC was minted up through the very early 1800's.

This leads to an interesting question... we're talking about exchange rates for foreign countries and whatnot, what role should the "actual purchasing power" of the currency play? A half a penny in 1800 surely buys a lot more in 1800 than a penny does in 2003. Should we maybe limit ourselves to currently minted currency? If so, it seems our best bet might be countries currently in the midst of hyperinflation (I don't know off-hand if there are any at the moment).
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  #9  
Old 06-02-2003, 12:07 AM
gazpacho gazpacho is offline
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When last I was in Mexico it was about 10 pesos to the US dollar so Polycorp slipped two digits. The centisimo is worth about 1/10 of a US cent.
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  #10  
Old 06-02-2003, 12:33 AM
desdinova desdinova is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by gazpacho
When last I was in Mexico it was about 10 pesos to the US dollar so Polycorp slipped two digits. The centisimo is worth about 1/10 of a US cent.
Of course, now that I read his post again, I realize he stated that a centisimo is worth 1/100 of .09...

I dunno though, was there ever any point at which a centisimo was ever minted? I've got a few 50 centisimos in my collection of knick-knacks, but no 1 centisimos.

It might help if we set an effective date for "smallest unit of currency" and then compared international exchange rates as of that date. Then, look for high numerical exchange rates against the U.S. Dollar and check out what that country's smallest unit of currency is. Another good measure, apart from posted exchange rates, might be the ol' "Big Mac Index."
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  #11  
Old 06-02-2003, 12:50 AM
jovan jovan is offline
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In China, one fen bank notes are in circulation. They are worth 0.0012 $, that is, 0.12 cents. The notes look like monopoly money and are utterly useless but you still get them when exchanging foreign currency.
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  #12  
Old 06-02-2003, 01:12 AM
Shalmanese Shalmanese is offline
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Just to put some limits on it, it has to be money that is still being produced by governments in significant amounts and conversion is worked out at todays prices.
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  #13  
Old 06-02-2003, 05:49 AM
ShibbOleth ShibbOleth is offline
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Thailand has a 1/4 satang coin that you will get as change, occasionally, whether you like it or not. The satang is 1/100 of a baht. A baht is, roughly 1/42 of a US Dollar. Which gives you $0.00006 (rounded up slightly).

FWIW they are also very small coins.
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  #14  
Old 06-02-2003, 06:29 AM
Colophon Colophon is offline
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Ha, I can beat the lot of you. Languishing in my foreign small change drawer is a 1 kurus coin from Turkey. Yep, the Turkish lira is divided into 100 kurus, and so this coin is worth (deep breath) US$0.00000000701508, according to The Universal Currency Converter.

This site has photos of coins down to 5 kurus, which were still being minted in the 1970s, and also interestingly claims that the kurus is divided into 40 para! So 1 para, if such a thing exists, is worth US$0.000000000175377 at today's rates.

Also don't forget about the hyperinflation in Hungary during the 1940s. They issued a nbote for 100,000,000,000,000,000,000 pengos, and printed (but did not issue) a 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 pengo note. See pics here.
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  #15  
Old 06-02-2003, 06:40 AM
Colophon Colophon is offline
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Hmm, sorry Shalmanese, didn't see your later post.

So, I will just add one thing - the most worthless [i]banknote[/b] I've come across is the 50 riel note from Cambodia, which is wortth about 1.3 US cents. Interestingly, the smallest denomination was 100 riel until last year, when the government decided that a smaller note was needed! (They don't issue coins.)

So there are lots of nice crisp 50 riel notes doing the rounds at the moment (or were in November last year, anyway).
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  #16  
Old 06-02-2003, 07:33 AM
jovan jovan is offline
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Actually, r_k, my fen is worth 1/10 of your riel, so, nah!

I'm curious, though, what's the smallest coin being minted in Turkey, today?
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  #17  
Old 06-02-2003, 07:52 AM
MC Master of Ceremonies MC Master of Ceremonies is offline
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Jovan, the Turkish government has just changed the currency, IIRC the smallest coin still being produced is the 25,000 TL coin (to tell the truth coins aren't really used that much in Turkey anymore, if you go to a shop you can usually expect to get your change to the nearest 100,000 TL).
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  #18  
Old 06-02-2003, 07:54 AM
Colophon Colophon is offline
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OK, you beat me... anyway, this page claims that 1,000 lira coins are still in use, but the smallest coins I saw when I was there a year ago were 10,000 lira (inscribed "10 bin").

Well, I've just had a look at the Turkish Mint website and apparently the 10,000 lira coin was withdrawn at the end of 2002.

The smallest currently minted is the comparatively whopping 25,000 lira, which is worth about 1.75 cents in what the Americans like to call "real money"...
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  #19  
Old 06-02-2003, 08:35 AM
China Guy China Guy is offline
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well, still in circulation but becoming an endangered specie(s)* is the Chinese fen or 1/100th of a yuan. If RMB1 = USD0.12, then fen1=USD0.0012. Compared to that, the mighty Yen1 = USD0.008.

You can't buy anything with a fen any more, although 25 years ago it was good for a pencil or a youtiao (donut)


*ha I just slay myself sometime with the currency jokes.
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