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Funny Money: 7 Strange Currencies from Around the Globe

ABBA had it right when they sang: “Money, money, money; must be funny; in a rich man’s world”.

However, you don’t need to be wealthy to appreciate the strangeness of these seven currencies. The following are just seven of the weirdest and most fascinating types of money still in circulation today.

Norway’s pixilated notes

Norway revealed in 2014 what their new and improved bank notes will look like in 2017, and the results are… interesting, to say the least.

While the front is a seemingly normal Kroner note, with pictures and images fully realised, the back looks like abstract art and looks like a half-rendered digital image.

The artist responsible for the notes explained his goal was to combine Norway’s history with a modern flair.

The Rai stone

The Rai stone, which is traded on the island of Yap in Micronesia, is possibly the world’s heaviest legal tender.

Rather than the kind of coins you can put in your pocket, the Rai Stone is a large (between 1.5 metres to six metres in diameter), round limestone with a hole carved in the centre.

At least you won’t have to worry about losing these coins down the back of the couch!

Zambia’s 2000 Summer Olympics coin

Issued to celebrate the Sydney Summer Olympics in 2000, Zambia created an odd-looking coin to mark the occasion.

Despite not winning any medals at the event, Zambia released a coin vaguely in the shape of Australia. This limited edition piece is legal tender but is hard to come by, with only 500 in circulation.

Zimbabwe’s trillion dollar currency

Due to inflation woes, the Zimbabwe government had to keep creating notes at higher and higher denominations throughout the early 2000s.

Dollars became next to worthless, sparking the creation and circulation of $100 trillion notes. In 2009, the infamous hundred-trillion-dollar bill couldn’t even buy a bus ticket.

Of course, most transactions in Zimbabwe are now conducted in foreign money, after the Zimbabwe dollar was officially abandoned as the country’s legal currency. However, the $100 trillion notes can still be found floating around the marketplace, usually as a gimmick for tourists.

The Canadian $1 million coin

Worth roughly twice its face value, the $1 million coin weighs around 100 kg and is mostly comprised of pure gold bullion.

Issued in 2007, only a limited number of coins have been created, with just five purchased by collectors from Canada and abroad.

The Australian $1 million coin

Not to be outdone, Australia has also produced a single coin with a face value of $1 million. The coin is 99.9 per cent pure gold, 80 cm in diameter, 13 cm thick and weighs one tonne.

Overall, the gold that the coin is made of is worth around $40 million, so it wouldn’t be worth carting it into your local shopping mall and trying to use it as $1 million of legal tender.


Scientists from the University of Leicester and the National Space Centre in the UK have designed the QUID, short for Quasi Universal Intergalactic Denomination.

This money is designed for use in space, when travelling beyond the reaches of a typical online banking transfer. While not helpful for those stuck down on Earth, the researchers hope the currency will be in high demand once the human race begins colonising other plants.

What’s the strangest money you’ve ever seen?


This blog post is for general information purposes only and is not intended as financial or professional advice. It has not been prepared with reference to the financial circumstances of any particular person or business and should not be relied on as such. You should seek your own independent financial, legal and taxation advice before making any decision about any action in relation to the material in this article.


2 comments on “Funny Money: 7 Strange Currencies from Around the Globe”

  1. JB says:

    No photo proof?

    1. Lauren O'Connor says:

      Hi JB, we’ve updated the blog since with external links to some of the different types of currencies we have listed here, where you can see plenty of photo evidence! 🙂

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