World of Coins

Research and reference => Numismatics => Topic started by: <k> on December 05, 2012, 08:10:31 PM

Title: Currency names: last man standing
Post by: <k> on December 05, 2012, 08:10:31 PM
Some currency names (of both units and sub-units) are well known and have been used by several countries: the dollar, the cent, the rupee, etc. No doubt some well known names are no longer used anywhere in the world. However, I want to find out which names used by existing currencies are the last man standing. This naturally excludes names that have only ever been used by one country, e.g. the kwanza of Angola.
Title: Re: Currency names: last man standing
Post by: <k> on December 05, 2012, 08:12:25 PM
Exhibit number one: the florin, once world renowned, but now found only in tiny Aruba. Please give generously to help save this endangered currency name from extinction.
Title: Re: Currency names: last man standing
Post by: <k> on December 05, 2012, 08:30:29 PM
The only guilder still extant is the Netherlands Antilles guilder - and the Netherlands Antilles no longer even exists! It was dissolved into its constituent parts on 10 October 2010, some of which opted to become Dutch municipalities. Curaçao and Sint Maarten became constituent countries within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and they still use the Netherlands Antilles guilder. This will eventually be replaced by the Caribbean guilder, at a rate of one to one, but the creation of that new currency and coinage has been put on hold for the time being.
Title: Re: Currency names: last man standing
Post by: <k> on December 05, 2012, 08:30:47 PM
Can anybody think of any more?
Title: Re: Currency names: last man standing
Post by: andyg on December 05, 2012, 08:36:21 PM
Lira ?
Title: Re: Currency names: last man standing
Post by: <k> on December 05, 2012, 08:43:48 PM
The lira is problematic, because it can also be translated as pound. So do we refer to the Syrian lira, livre, pound - or what? Wikipedia says it is currently used in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.
Title: Re: Currency names: last man standing
Post by: <k> on December 05, 2012, 08:45:48 PM
The escudo, historically used in Spain, Portugal and in their colonies around the world, is now found only in little Cape Verde. Apparently that country would like to use the euro, can you believe, so who knows, perhaps the escudo will become extinct within the next few years.
Title: Re: Currency names: last man standing
Post by: chrisild on December 05, 2012, 08:55:27 PM
Bosnia & Herzegovina. They use a currency named "Konvertibilna Marka"; the small unit is called "Fening". Sounds familiar? ;)

Christian
Title: Re: Currency names: last man standing
Post by: <k> on December 05, 2012, 08:58:37 PM
Bosnia & Herzegovina. They use a currency named "Konvertibilna Marka"; the small unit is called "Fening". Sounds familiar? ;)

Christian

Both sound familiar. The German Mark and the Estonian and Finnish Marka/Markka are now defunct. The Fening sounds like Pfennig, but etymologically both are related to the penny, and plenty of those still exist. So, yes, the Marka is the last man standing.  8)
Title: Re: Currency names: last man standing
Post by: Figleaf on December 05, 2012, 09:15:52 PM
I would argue that the Hungarian Forint is a Florin too. Is Andorra a peseta user or is it now a euro country?

The last surviving lira may be Turkish, unless you consider pound as the British way to pronounce lira.

If you would argue that guilder is the same as gulden, Surinam still has a gulden as well as plans for a dollar.

Is anyone still using öre, øre, ortchen or oorden?

The Armenian Dram may be the last of the drachmes. Bosnia keeps the Mark/markkaa alive.

I thought the Cambodian riel was the last real until I remembered the Yemeni, Qatari, Omani and Iranian rial. The Israeli shekel, then?

Do Georgians realise they are the last users of the lari, once a silver Persian coin?

I can't think of any other users of the Dobra (once a Portuguese gold coin) than Sao Tomé & Principe. Cap Verde still uses the escudo.

Peter
Title: Re: Currency names: last man standing
Post by: chrisild on December 05, 2012, 11:56:41 PM
Andorra basically uses what its neighbors use. That was the French franc and the Spanish peseta - and once those were replaced by the euro, Andorra switched over too. (First by simply using the money, now with a monetary agreement.) For collectors only, they also have diner/s and centim/s ("diner" is Catalan and means "money").

As for öre/øre, as far as I know, only Denmark still has such a coin (the 50 øre piece, worth about 7 cent). The others have done away with them.

Christian
Title: Re: Currency names: last man standing
Post by: FosseWay on December 06, 2012, 09:19:49 AM
As to öre (at least in the Swedish context; I imagine the same is true in Denmark, Norway and the Faeroes, but not Iceland), it depends on how you define 'use'. The öre is alive and well in Sweden, it's just that there are no coins carrying öre denominations any more. Prices are given to the nearest öre when you buy by weight or volume (e.g. fruit and veg in a shop, or petrol etc.) and you pay the precise amount if you pay by card or electronic bank transfer. Electricity prices are generally quoted in öre/kWh. Crucially, perhaps, people refer to the fractions of kronor on bills as öre, not as a decimal fraction of a krona. So 10,75 kr would be spoken as 'tio kronor och sjuttiofem öre' not 'tio comma sjuttiofem kronor'.

The Nordic exception is Iceland, where the króna is worth significantly less than its mainland cousins. There by law all invoices must be presented in whole krónur, and there are no aurar in use electronically or otherwise.
Title: Re: Currency names: last man standing
Post by: chrisild on December 06, 2012, 11:35:41 AM
Yes, I did think about the öre/øre in terms of coins. While I know that non-cash payments still deal with such amounts, the little round thingies are "almost dead" ... and it will be interesting to see how long the last man minted ;) , the Danish 50 øre, will stay around. Interesting that in SE the word öre is so common - when it comes to amounts, in Germany 10,75 for example would be "zehn Euro fünfundsiebzig" or simply "zehn fünfundsiebzig", but hardly ever "zehn Euro und fünfundsiebzig Cent".

The (e)scudo is still around in Europa, to an extremely limited extent though: Both San Marino and the Order of Malta (SMOM) issue scudo (pl. scudi) pieces ...and sell them to collectors. That is about their only purpose these days.

Christian
Title: Re: Currency names: last man standing
Post by: FosseWay on December 06, 2012, 12:53:04 PM
Yes, in common speech where the context is clear, you'd leave out the units (kronor as well) and in practice such an amount would never be said e.g. at a checkout. IME if the total is 10,75 kr the kassörska will say "elva kronor". You would, as a difference from English or German, always use the "och" (and) between the two numbers. The same is true with (numerical) times, as printed on timetables: in English we say "the train goes at thirteen fifteen" but in Swedish it is always "tåget går klockan tretton och femton".

The other common use of öre is in prices per minute or per SMS on phone adverts.
Title: Re: Currency names: last man standing
Post by: <k> on December 06, 2012, 01:35:33 PM
Is Andorra a peseta user or is it now a euro country?

According to Wikipedia, the Sahrawi Peseta is the de facto currency of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. I think that is a misuse of "de facto", because it is only their currency in theory, since Morocco is the real power in that territory, and I don't see this ever changing.
Title: Re: Currency names: last man standing
Post by: dheer on December 06, 2012, 01:46:12 PM
Very interesting post ... are there any books / reference material that trace the movements and origins of  currency names ...
Title: Re: Currency names: last man standing
Post by: Figleaf on December 06, 2012, 01:57:45 PM
Dictionary of coin names (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dictionary-Coin-Names-Adrian-Room/dp/0710206461) by Adrian Room, ISBN 0710206461

Peter
Title: Re: Currency names: last man standing
Post by: chrisild on December 06, 2012, 02:47:11 PM
Maybe we should add the grosz? The small unit in Poland is a descendant of the grossus, originally short for denarius grossus (ie. big or heavy penny). Many countries in the Holy Roman Empire used the groschen; and Prussia, Saxony and a few other countries minted groschen coins until the Deutsches Reich and the Mark/Pfennig system were established in 1871. Austria introduced the Groschen again in 1925 and used it until 2001. So as far as I know, the Polish grosz is the last one ...

Christian
Title: Re: Currency names: last man standing
Post by: FosseWay on December 06, 2012, 03:36:59 PM
The English groat was also in the grosz family.

I think that announcing the demise of subunits whose main unit is still used is somewhat premature (this applies to all the öre/øre/aurar) because there is at least a possibility that at some point a revaluation will take place. If that happens, it is highly likely that the old name for the subunit will be brought back, as happened in Iceland in 1981, Russia in the 1990s and France in 1960. In these cases before the reform there were no aurar/kopeiki/centimes in general use but they returned when needed. AIUI Iceland is actively considering both joining the EU and using the euro (whether as a genuine member of the eurozone or in the sense that Montenegro and Macedonia use the euro). But if it decides against the latter, I could well see that they might revalue the currency, which would see the return of the eyrir.

The penny has been all but wiped out: now AFAIK only sterling and the island currencies that exist at a par with sterling have pennies, either actually or theoretically. Australia, NZ, South Africa and various other countries lost their pennies on decimalisation in the 1960s and the Irish lost theirs when they adopted the euro. I'm not sure I accept the Bosnian fenig as a variant of the penny. It is consciously modelled on the pre-euro German Pfennig, yes, but the words Pfennig and penny, and the currencies they describe, have been separate for over 1,000 years. If they are to be combined so we must also combine all the Latin-based cent-words and all the Slavic ones, so Bulgarian and (old) Slovenian stotinki/stotinov are basically the same as centimes, cents etc.

Is the Czech Republic the only country still to use a variant of heller?
Title: Re: Currency names: last man standing
Post by: Abhay on December 06, 2012, 04:01:17 PM
The one name that comes to my mind is the Old Indian Anna (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_anna).

Used till 50s in India and Pakistan, I don't think it is in use now anywhere. (Although people in India still call 25 paisa as 4 Annas and 50 Paisa as 8 Annas even today).

Abhay
Title: Re: Currency names: last man standing
Post by: chrisild on December 06, 2012, 04:07:46 PM
AIUI Iceland is actively considering both joining the EU and using the euro
Don't think so. The negotiations have not actually been canceled yet, but neither the EU nor Iceland is actually interested, I think. So a new Icelandic krona may well come some day. But what you wrote about the sub-units (that they may return after a currency reform) may well apply to the main units too. In South America that has happened a few times ...

Quote
but the words Pfennig and penny, and the currencies they describe, have been separate for over 1,000 years
True, but the pre-decimal British penny kept the connection to the system that Charlemagne introduced in the 9th century, both in terms of "setup" (1-12-240) and unit names or abbreviations. So for me, Pfennig and Penny are close enough to count as one in a context like this one. But words such denier or dinar (which refer to the old denarius as well) I would keep separate. Just my view. :)

Quote
Is the Czech Republic the only country still to use a variant of heller?

Good catch! (Schwäbisch Hall uses the euro these days. ;) )

Christian
Title: Re: Currency names: last man standing
Post by: translateltd on December 06, 2012, 08:06:38 PM
While we're talking about cognate names, I'm not sure if anyone has mentioned the Austrian Heller and Hungarian fillér, which I only recently "clicked" were the same thing.

Title: Re: Currency names: last man standing
Post by: chrisild on December 06, 2012, 11:59:37 PM
Right, but Hungary does not use fillér coins any more (1 euro is about 280 forint). Now what we could say is that the forint itself is etymologically related to the florin ...

Christian
Title: Re: Currency names: last man standing
Post by: <k> on December 07, 2012, 06:41:58 PM
According to Wikipedia:

"Today, one-hundredth of a Swiss franc is still officially called a Rappen in German and Swiss German."

But no other country uses that name nowadays. The modern coin carries no sub-unit indicator, incidentally, just the denominational numeral.
Title: Re: Currency names: last man standing
Post by: chrisild on December 08, 2012, 12:00:22 AM
Right, and right. :)  Interesting, by the way, that in German the word "Rappen" is the plural of Rappe which refers to a black horse. Where does that come from? The horse is black like a raven ... and that (Rabe) is also where the Swiss denomination (probably) is derived from. Seems that the eagle on certain coins was colloquially called, or considered to be, a raven.

And yes, the word is not used on Swiss coins. If they wanted to put the unit name (plural) on the pieces, it would have to be "Rappen - Centimes - Centesimi - Raps". Too long for those poor little pieces. ;)

Christian
Title: Re: Currency names: last man standing
Post by: translateltd on December 08, 2012, 02:26:53 AM
Or they could find a Latin equivalent, to match the country name on the obverse.
Title: Re: Currency names: last man standing
Post by: Ellencarroll on January 29, 2013, 06:58:27 AM
According to Wikipedia, the word fillér originates from the German word Vierer that was 1/100 part of the Austro-Hungarian and Hungarian Korona. Moreover, the last filler coin was removed from circulation in 1999. However, it is still used in calculations, for example in the price of petrol or in the prices of telephone calls. 
Title: Re: Currency names: last man standing
Post by: chrisild on January 29, 2013, 09:05:58 AM
Welcome to the World of Coins! :) As for the origin of that word, there are (at least) two theories - even in the same language version of Wikipedia. See here for example:

* "The name fillér (...) comes from the German word Heller." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hungarian_forint (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hungarian_forint)
* "The name derives from the German word Vierer that means 'number four' in English." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fillér (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fillér)

Apart from the strange translation of Vierer (that word means something like of "piece of four", similarly to the English colloquial term "fiver" = five dollar/euro/pound note), the "Vierer" theory sounds a little less plausible to me. The German words for the Austrian-Hungarian currency units were "Krone" and "Heller"; the corresponding Hungarian terms were "korona" and "fillér". Hmm ...

Christian
Title: Re: Currency names: last man standing
Post by: FosseWay on January 29, 2013, 09:57:12 AM
My knowledge of Hungarian is very limited. Does anyone know whether there is a regular link between /h/ and /f/ in linguistic imports into Hungarian from Indo-European languages? If so, it would lend weight to the heller derivation.

(Compare the h-f relationship (in the opposite direction) between Latin and its descendant Spanish: filium > hijo etc.)
Title: Re: Currency names: last man standing
Post by: translateltd on January 29, 2013, 10:08:53 AM
I suspect Hungarian has a bit of an aversion to words starting hel- (as opposed to hely-, ly being a digraph), as my dictionary contains no 'native' words beginning with this sequence at all, just the borrowings helikopter, heliocentrikus, hélium, hellén (Hellenic) and helsinki.  What this proves, if anything, I don't know ...

Title: Re: Currency names: last man standing
Post by: Chinasmith on February 14, 2013, 08:47:55 PM
"Right, and right.   Interesting, by the way, that in German the word "Rappen" is the plural of Rappe which refers to a black horse. Where does that come from? The horse is black like a raven ... and that (Rabe) is also where the Swiss denomination (probably) is derived from. Seems that the eagle on certain coins was colloquially called, or considered to be, a raven."

The Rappe or Rappen is derived from "rabe" meaning raven. The coin was first issued in th 14th century, struck at Freiburg in Breisgau, with the image of a raven. Later the term was applied to any small coin with the image of a bird. In Switzerland, the Rappen was originally the tenth part of the Batzen, but when the Latin Monetary Union was set up in the 19th century, the Rappen was changed to centime, to follow the systems adopted by other European countries in the Union.

As for Filler, this is not an old name, having been created only in 1892 to correspond to the Heller of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The origin of the word is uncertain.
Title: Re: Currency names: last man standing
Post by: Chinasmith on February 14, 2013, 09:07:28 PM
The primary source of information on coin denominations, their origins and history, is:  Dictionary of Numismatic Names  by Albert R. Frey. This book, over 300 pages, was originally published in 1917 by the American Numismatic Society of New York. It was reprinted in 1947, and reprinted again in 1974 with a 94 page glossary of numismatic terms in English, French, German, Italian and Swedish, compiled by Mark M. Salton. However, having been compiled nearly 100 years ago, many coin denominations are missing --- all those created in the past hundred years. In addition, Frey didn't consider paper money denominations. There are quite a few denominations used today on paper money which never existed as a coin. Another useful though older source is Hazlitt's Coinage of the European Continent.  And as mentioned above, there is Adrian Room's "Dictionary of Coin Names" published in 1987. The focus of this work is the etymology or origin of the word rather than a history of the coin. The book runs 250 pages and includes an appendix of coin families -- that is, denominations which are related, usually in their origin. An example of this woud be the "Crown" family, which includes Corona, Coronato, Couronne, Korona, Koruna, Krona, Krone and Kroon. These all derive from the Latin for "crown".  Another would be the "shield" family -- Ecu, Escudo, Escudillo, Scudino and Scudo. Or the "lion" group -- Leeuw, Leone, Leopard, Leu and Lev.  An interesting origin is the Lek denomination of Albania. This comes from the Albanian name for Alexander the Great.