Monthly Archives: November 2014

History of the Indonesian Rupiah

While the Rupiah is the official currency of Indonesia today, the origins of this country’s currency dates back to the early colonial period in history. The first coin like currency used by the natives appeared around the ninth century formed from beads. Gold and silver coins wouldn’t appear until the arrival of Europeans in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.

 A brief history of Indonesia

The island chain of Indonesia has been ruled by several different nations from the colonial period all the way up until Post-WWII. The first form of bank note currency that existed in Indonesia wasn’t the Rupiah, it was actually the Duit, which was the currency of the Dutch East Indies Trading Company, the quasi business nation that ruled over Indonesia before becoming nationalized by the Dutch in the 1800′s who then introduced their own currency the Gulden.

During WWII when the islands were occupied by the Japanese, they issued their own form of the Gulden, after liquidating the Dutch national banks on the island chains, which lead to the economy becoming destabilized from the Japanese over-printing the money. However, as the war continued, the Japanese shifted tactics and began encouraging Indonesian nationalism and independence. They issued a second printing of their money, this time in the native language, and it was called the Netherland Indies Roepiah. Which can be seen as the pre-cursor to the Rupiah today.

Japanese Occupation Gulden

A Gulden Note from the Japanese Occupation

Post WWII and the Indonesian Rupiah Today

Republic of Indonesia Rupiah 1945

Indonesian Rupiah from 1945

After WWII, the Indonesians rebelled against the Allied re-occupation, and refused to used the Allied issued Gulden and continued to use the Japanese bank notes along with locally printed money. This is the first appearance of the Rupiah, which was produced in Java, one of the larger islands in the chain. After a long and drawn out struggle with the Dutch and the Allies, Indonesia’s independence was finally recognized, and the Rupiah was born. Afterwards, the Rupiah has experienced varying levels of instability from the mid to late-20th century. Today, the currency has lost most of its value due to the country still having not recovered from the Asian financial crisis in ’98-’99.

Today, the country plans on redenominating the currency to strike several zeroes from the currency to streamline ease of use, since most transactions with the Rupiah today is in the several thousands. While some are concerned that this will further devalue the currency, the head of the national bank stated that this is simply to make day-to-day transactions easier. So, from what we can tell, the currency in it’s current form is becoming closer to a collectible each day.

Indonesian Rupiah Today

Indonesian Rupiah Today







If you’re curious about the currency, or are looking to include another artistic bank note to your collection, we carry a wide variety of Rupiahs, and, like we’ve stated with our other foreign bank notes. Great American Coins is a purveyor of numismatic collectibles, we do not sell any currency on a speculation basis, it is for collection only.

Gary Dyner is the owner of Great American Coin Company. Connect with him on Google+.


History of the Vietnamese Dong

The second piece in our exotic currency series, comes from Indochina! This bright and colorful currency is a fantastic show piece for any foreign currency collector. Of course, I’m speaking of the Vietnamese Dong. When the currency was first created there were actually two different forms of the Dong; the North Vietnamese Dong, which was a replacement of the French colonial currency of the Piastre and the Southern Dong came after South Vietnam was given its independence and was no longer a French Territory.

The Northern Vietnamese Dong

North Vietnamese Dong

In 1946, the North Vietnamese government issued the Dong as the replacement for the French Indochinese Piastre. This had both coin denominations and bank notes. The coins were on a cent scale with the xu being 1/100 of a dong and the hao being one tenth. In 1946, the coins were made of aluminum and brass, but changed to all aluminum when the dong was re-issued in 1959. This currency would stay as the currency of North Vietnam until the reunification of Vietnam in the 1970′s.

The Southern Vietnamese Dong

South Vietnamese Dong

The Southern Vietnamese Dong was issued by the French state commission for indochinese states and was issued in parallel with the piastre. In 1955, once the country had truly become independent of French rule, the country reissued the Dong and was produced by the country’s national bank. Like the North, the South’s Dong was also on a cent scale but only had one denomination for coins known as xu. There were different coin and bank note denominations for the xu and dong. These coins were made of different metals, usually aluminum or nickel plated steel.

Unification and the Vietnamese Dong

After South Vietnam’s governement fell in 1975 the southern Vietnamese Dong was converted into the northern counterpart to unify the currency. Today, the currency still stands as a collectible currency and is a fantastic exotic currency for any foreign currency collector. However, like the dinar it has also become the vehicle for snake oil “currency exchanges,” and has been used as a scam. Like the Dinar, Great American Coin DOES NOT sell the Dong on a speculation basis, we continue to sell numismatic collectibles for enjoyment and does not condone any use of this currency on a speculation basis.



Past and Present: The Iraqi Dinar

25000 Iraqi Dinar NoteWhile not as old as other collectible notes or currency, this foreign bank note is an exotic collectible in contemporary bank notes. It’s colored past and present have made it the subject of scrutiny and the latest fad for snake-oil salesmen, but it’s beautiful artistry and colorful inks still make it a highly collectible item to include in any bank note collection. Of course, I’m speaking of the Iraqi Dinar. Today, we’ll dive into its past and explore a little bit of its present news.

History of the Dinar

The Dinar first came into creation in 1932 and replaced the Indian Rupee, which had become the country’s currency after the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire and British Occupation after World War I. At creation the Dinar was pegged at par with the British Pound (GBP) until 1959 where it was then tied to the USD. The Dinar had a very strong historical value even after the devaluation of the USD in 1971 and ’73. However, this changed after the Gulf War in 1991. Where, due to UN sanctions, the Iraqi Government no longer had access to the swiss printing that they had used in the past. This is where the currency split between the Iraqi Dinar that was produced by the National Bank of Iraq and the “Swiss Dinar.”

During this time, the Swiss Dinar continued to be circulated in the Kurdish region of Iraq, due to their refusal to use the lesser quality bank note that was being issued from the Bank of Iraq. This created an interesting disparity in the value of the two notes in Iraq. While the Iraqi Dinar quickly devalued due to sanctions and excessive printing. The Swiss Dinar actually appreciated against the Iraqi Dinar and was considered a stable currency.

Following the second Gulf War in 2003, the Coalition Provisional Authority determined that Iraq needed a new, unified currency, but because of the two notes, establishing a proper exchange rate was extremely difficult. Once the exchange rate was established, they went about distributing the new currency in exchange for the Iraqi Dinar and the Swiss Dinar.

 The Iraqi Dinar Now

Today, the Iraqi Dinar holds a very low status in the US. Since the main export of Iraq is oil, which is sold in USD, the Iraqi Dinar still maintains its “exotic” status. Which has lead to the creation of a multi-million dollar industry based on speculation of the Iraqi Dinar. These snake-oil salesmen disguised as foreign exchange companies would sell the Dinar at an inflated price to speculators and push the idea that there would be a revaluation at a favorable price and the speculators would get rich off of the better exchange rate. This “speculation” has been included on the US’s Better Business Bureau’s list of top 10 scams and has lead to several state securities commissions warning investors of this scam. However, as a collectible, the time hasn’t been better to get a beautiful piece of art as a bank note collector to include with a collection of exotic currency, past and present.

We would like to reiterate, Great American Coin is a purveyor of numismatic collectibles both past and present, we DO NOT CONDONE selling Iraqi Dinars on a speculative basis, these are a collectible, and sell them as such. If you would like to include this exotic piece of money art in your collection, check out the Iraqi Dinars we have available. We also have some more information on the Iraqi Dinar if you’re interested.

Gary Dyner is the owner of Great American Coin Company. Connect with him on Google+.


Quick Guide to Collecting Spanish Coins

Spanish Coins - Gold DoubloonsReales, Doubloons, Escudos. The names of these Spanish coins evoke images of pirates on the high seas after plundering a ship, or digging up buried treasure. But, believe it or not, these are some of the names of some of the most sought after historical coins in existence. Spanish silver and gold coins are stories of Spain’s rich history. With them showing the different kings, queens, and other historical figures that were pertinent throughout Spain’s past. If you plan on collecting Spanish coins you should also learn about the various materials used, the age, and how to determine their condition. Spanish coins can be worth millions or pennies depending on the type, condition, and metals used.

Spanish Coins storied past

Spain’s coinage dates back over two thousand years, to ancient Greece and Rome. Spain has been occupied by numerous groups, including the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks, Celts, Romans, and many many more. Each time one of these group took over their own country’s coins became Spain’s. One of the oldest Spanish coins is the Maravedi. This coin was the gold standard for 750 years along with its sister coin the silver Reale. Currently, Spain is part of the EU and uses the euro as its standard currency.

Valuing Spanish Coins

Professional coin graders can determine the state of preservation and wear of a specific coin. Additionally, the worth of the coins can range dramatically depending on the type of coin, age, material, and condition. Gold coins, such as escudos and doubloons, will hold the highest value undoubtedly due to their composition. Centimos will generally not be worth much, but reales and pesetas in good condition might sell for a handsome sum depending in how good of condition they’re in. Also, the older and rarer a Spanish coin is, the higher its value will be.

If you are planning on starting a Spanish coin collection, you should remember that most gold coins will be in uncirculated condition, while bronze, copper, and silver coins will often be in fine to circulated conditions. Also, ALWAYS REMEMBER TO ASK FOR A CERTIFICATE OF AUTHENTICITY! Especially when buying an expensive coin.

How to Buy Spanish Coins

Buying Spanish coins can be as simple as visiting your local coin dealer and looking at their selection if they carry them. However, for numismatists outside of Spain, you might only find local coins. You can also search for them online, particularly through internet shops for collectors as well as auction sites. When buying online, don’t be afraid to ask the seller for a certificate of authenticity or about the history of the coin and its condition. Always do your homework and when in doubt, ask a professional coin dealer for help.

Gary Dyner is the owner of Great American Coin Company. Connect with him on Google+.