Interesting Facts About Money

We exchange money for goods and services. In the past, people bartered (exchanged) goods of equal worth, but it’s not very convenient to swap a chicken and two bags of corn for that DVD you want. That’s why we use money – either cash (notes and coins), or a virtual payment using a debit or credit card.

More: When Was Money First Used?

Money around the world

A currency is the form of money used in a particular country. Here are some examples:

£UKPound100 pence
$USADollar100 cents
LAlbaniaLek100 qindarka
TkBangladeshTaka100 paisa
¥ChinaYuan100 jiao
DGambiaDalasi100 bubut
IndiaRupee100 paise
IsraelShekel100 agorot
RMMalaysiaRinggit100 sen
MongoliaTugrik100 mongos
PolandZloty100 groszy
py6RussiaRuble100 kopecks
Saudia ArabiaRiyal100 halalat
฿ThailandBaht100 stang
Лв.BulgariaLeva100 stotinki

Money – In numbers

The number of sacks of grain it took to barter for a pig in Ancient Egypt.

The number of sides on an Australian 50-cent piece (more than any other coin).

1 billion
The value in US dollars of the amount of Iraqi dinar currency that was stolen from the Central Bank of Iraq in Baghdad the day before the US bombings in 2001. US$650 million was later found hidden in the walls of Saddam Hussein’s palace.

12 billion
The number of coins made by the US mint every year.

56 billion
The net worth in US dollars of Microsoft founder Bill Gates – the richest man in the world.

The Euro is used by 320 million Europeans in 20 countries.

What’s in a name of ‘salary’?

The word “salary” comes from the Latin word sal, meaning salt. Roman soldiers used to be paid a salarium – an allowance to buy salt.


There was a time when British householders had to pay a window TAX if they had more than a certain number of windows in their house. To avoid paying, people simply bricked some of their windows up – no wonder they called it daylight robbery!

Plastic fantastic – credit and debit cards

Debit cards can be used to purchase goods instead of money. A simple swipe or input of numbers, and money is debited direct from a bank account.

The first credit card (plastic card used to purchase goods and services on credit, to be paid off at a later date) was introduced in 1949 in New York City. Called the “Diners Club”, it was accepted in restaurants.

There are more than 670 million credit cards in circulation in the USA.


The largest denomination banknote ever issued was a note for 100,000,000,000,000,000,000 pengo. It was issued by the Hungarian National Bank in 1946, when inflation was so high that prices were doubling every 15 hours.

The world’s first ATM (Automated Teller Machine, or cashpoint) was installed in London in June 1967.

Funny money

Before money, a variety of things were used as payment instead:

Cattle. Photo credit: pixabay
Cowrie shells as payment
Cowrie shells as payment. Photo credit: Flickr
Iron nails as payment
Iron nails as payment. Photo credit: pixabay
Metal armlets as payment
Metal armlets as payment. Photo credit: National Museum of African Art
Wampum belt
Wampum belt. Photo credit: Flickr
Whales' teeth as payment in ancient time
Whales’ teeth as payment in ancient time
Tea leaves
Tea leaves. Photo credit: pixabay

How to: play the stock market

how to play the stock market
How to play the stock market. Photo credit: New York Times

Select stock to buy. Companies issue stock (shares in the company) to raise money to enable them to grow.

Owning stock in a company means you own part of that company. Congratulations! Don’t worry, you won’t be expected to work at the company, but you will get a vote on important issues.

If the company makes a profit, you get a share of the money and the value of the stock goes up.

Decide whether to hold on to your stock or sell it. If the value of the stock rises, you can sell to another investor for a profit. But if the value of the stock falls, you could end up losing money.

Key stock exchanges

CountryCityIndex (shows the price of selected sharers being traded)
JapanTokyoNikkei Average
USANew YorkDow-Jones

A bear market is when stock prices are falling.

A bull market is when stock prices are rising.

Note worthy

Over the ages and around the world, famous faces have adorned banknotes and coins. Many in this list are now out of circulation.

Name of personCountry issuedCoin or Note
George Washington, US presidentUSA1 dollar
William Shakespeare, playwrightUnited Kingdom20 pounds
Nelson Mandela, statesmanSouth Africa5 rand
Napoleon Bonaparte, emperorFrance5 francs
Albert Einstein, scientistIsrael5 lirot
Marie Curie, scientistPoland20,000 zloty
Galilio Galilei, scientistItaly2,000 lire
Karen Blixen, writerDenmark50 kroner
Mahatma Gandhi, political leaderIndia5,10,20,50,100 rupee