Is the quarter coin unique to the US and Canada?

Most of the currencies I can think of that are divided into cents / pence / whatever (British pound, Euro, Mexican dollar, Australian dollar, New Zealand dollar, South African rand, Latvian lat, Cypriot pound) have coins in the denominations 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50.

All except US and Canadian cents, which are in the denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50.

Are these the only two countries in the world that use 25? Is there any particular reason why they use 25 instead of 20?

Are there any other "unusual’ denominations out there? Perhaps a 2 1/2 dollar bill? Or a 33 1/3 yen coin?

Because the US Dollar used to be based on the Spanish Real de a Ocho, aka the Spanish Dollar or ‘Piece of Eight’.

Hence also the nick ‘two bits’ (as in ‘Shave and a Haircut, two bits’) for a quarter, it coming from two bits of the piece of eight.

The Netherlands used to have a 2½ guilder coin, until it adopted the euro. It also had 1c, 5c, 10c, and 25c coins, and 1 and 5 guilder coins, and it used to have ½c and 2½c coins too.

Suriname switched over to the Suriname dollar (from the Suriname guilder) in 2004, but “quarter” coins are still valid (now as a quarter of a dollar rather than a quarter of a guilder), according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surinamese_dollar

Portugal also used to use 2½ escudo coins, although they had been demonetised before the euro came in.

Edit: the Aruban florin also has 25c coins (and 25 florin notes). It used to have a 2½ florin coin, too.

And the Burmese kyat used to have 15, 25, 35 and 75 kyat notes!

Wiki sez:

But I do not know which of the above currencies, if any, have a quarter-value coin. Could lookitup, I suppose.

One other European coin that’s a bit odd is the Swiss 50 rappen, which isn’t denominated “50” but “½”, as in half a franc.

Oh, and if we’re talking about obsolete currencies, the old British coinage used to have a farthing coin that was one-quarter of a penny, and a “crown” or five-shilling coin that was one-quarter of a pound.

I’m not saying you’re wrong, but if you are correct, then wouldn’t there have been quarters in Mexico? I can’t find any reference to them, but maybe I’m just not looking it up correctly.

According to Wikipedia there were, orginally.

South Korea has the 500 Won coin. It’s not 25 of anything, but has the same size and approximate buying power as a quarter. It’s also the most useful coin for vending machines, like the quarter.

They used to have 25 centavo pieces in Mexico until sometime in the 20th century. They got phased out.

Here’s a picture of a 25 centavo piece from 1953.

Considering the dollar to won exchange rate is 1:1100, that seems a bit off. It’s worth closer to 50 US cents.

Ditto the 50 yen coin. It’s about quarter sized, but it’s worth about 50 cents.

Panama uses the US dollar for paper currency, but mints its own coins, which are identical in size and shape to corresponding US ones but with different images. The currency is called the balboa, after Vasco Nunez de Balboa, the early conquistador, who appears on most coins. Panama recently started producing a 1-Balboa coinas well.

A couple of the coins are called by their English names, but pronounced as in Spanish. The names for the coins are:

1 cent = centavo
5 centavos = real
10 centavos = dime, pronounced in Spanish as DEE-may
25 centavos = quarter, pronounced in Panamanian Spanish (which drops "r"s) as cuah-uh

Thanks! This information allowed my to search Wikipedia for the phrase “25 centavo”, and it got several hits! To answer the OP, there is currently a 25 centavo coin in the Philippines and in Nicaragua, and elsewhere, though they’re not labelled “quarter” the way the American coin is denominated.

Basically all US coins were originally something, half something or quarter something. We think of our money as being dollars and cents, but actually its

mill 1/1000 dollar
cent 1/100 dollar
dime 1/10 dollar
dollar
eagle 10 dollars.

If you’ll look at a dime, you’ll see it’s labeled “dime” and nowhere does it say “ten cents”. Similarly the quarter and half dollar are labeled “quarter dollar” and “half dollar” and not 25 and 50 cents. When the 5 cent pieces were first issued they were labeled “half disme” (Disme was the original spelling for dime.) They were originally made of silver, like dimes, but later were made of nickel which gave them their new, unofficial, name. Similarly gold coins (back when we had those) were issued as eagles ($10), double eagles, half eagles, and quarter eagles, and half cent and two cent coins were also issued for a time.

I think the only exception to the “powers of two” coin denominations was the three cent piece

I was afraid I’d stumbled into a zombie thread. Is there anything still for sale in vending machines that takes fewer than eight quarters? I know this isn’t the thread for the dollar-coin debate, but I think the utility of the quarter for vending machines is that’s it the highest-value coin in circulation, not that it is inherently useful.

That’s very interesting! I’ve heard of mills but never of eagles. And it solves the mystery of why dimes don’t say “ten cents”. (I could never remember whether a dime was 5 or 10 cents, until I realized that it was related to the French word “dix”)

In Thailand, one baht is comprised of 100 satang, and there is a 25-satang coin. However, 25 satang is worth about 3/4 of one US cent, not a lot.

The largest baht coin, in both size and denomination, is the 10-baht coin, and it’s not too different in size from an American quarter.

Trinidad&Tobago has a quarter coin.

Looks like this is the likely reason. I’ve looked up the currencies of Central- and South American countries, and several of them do have 25-cent coins:-

Brazil
Argentina
Ecuador
Venezuela
Guyana
Guatemala
Belize
El Salvador
Nicaragua
Suriname

Venezuela also has a 12.5 cent coin, which I guess is a direct descendant of the real.

Link doesn’t work, but does have one of the better 403 error messages:

The exchange rate isn’t necessary a true reflection of buying power, though. I don’t know about South Korea, but if it has a high cost of living then it is quite possible that something that costs a quarter in the US would cost ₩500 (or about 46c) in Korea.

The pound sterling is “worth” $1.65 on the currency markets, but many consumer items cost pretty much the same number of pounds over here as they do in dollars in America.