Salvadoran colón

Salvadoran colón
colón salvadoreño (in Spanish)
ISO 4217
Code SVC
.mw-parser-output .nobold{font-weight:normal}
Plural colones
Banknotes 1, 2, 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, 200 colones
Coins 1, 2, 3, 5, 10, 25, 50 centavos, 1, 5 colón
User(s)  El Salvador
Central bank Central Reserve Bank of El Salvador
Pegged with United States dollar = 8.75 colones
This infobox shows the latest status before this currency was rendered obsolete.

The colón was the currency of El Salvador between 1892 and 2001, until it was replaced by the U.S. Dollar. It was subdivided into 100 centavos and its ISO 4217 code was SVC. The plural is colones in Spanish and was named after Christopher Columbus, known as Cristóbal Colón in Spanish.


  • 1 Currency symbol
  • 2 History

    • 2.1 Post colonial currency
  • 3 Coins
  • 4 Banknotes
  • 5 References

Currency symbol

The symbol for the colón is a c with two slashes. The symbol “₡” has Unicode code point U+20A1,[1] and the decimal representation is 8353. In HTML it can be entered as ₡. The colón sign is not to be confused with the cent sign (¢), which has a code point U+00A2 in Unicode (or 162 in decimal), or with the cedi sign ₵, which has a code point U+20B5 in Unicode (or 8373 in decimal).
Nonetheless, the commonly available cent symbol ‘¢’ is frequently used locally to designate the colón in price markings and advertisements.

Costa Rican colon symbol.svg


On October 1, 1892, the government of President Carlos Ezeta, decided that the Salvadoran peso be called ‘Colon’, in homage to the “discoverer” of America. The colón replaced the peso at par in 1919. It was initially pegged to the U.S. dollar at a rate of 2 colones = 1 dollar. El Salvador left the gold standard in 1931 and its value floated.

On June 19, 1934 the Central Bank was created as the government body responsible for monetary policy and the sole body authorized to issue currency in the nation. On January 1, 2001 under the government of President Francisco Flores, the Law of Monetary Integration went into effect and allowed the free circulation of U.S. dollar in the country (see dollarization), with a fixed exchange rate of 8.75 colones. The colon has not officially ceased to be legal tender.

Post colonial currency

In the mid-19th century, farms produced tin sheets (property sheets) with the farm’s name and were used as payment to employees, the sheets only had value in the farm store that issued it, so it created a kind of monopoly.[2] During the existence of the Central American Federation, the monetary system did not change with respect to the colonial system and continued using silver by weight as the main currency with circulation of macaques and property sheets. Once the federation dissolved, the Salvadoran government decreed the issuance of the first national currency, “Reales”, gold coins engraved with an “R” and the “Escudos (Shields)” were silver coins with an “E” engraved.[3]

In 1883, under the presidency of Dr. Rafael Zaldívar, the First Monetary Law was adopted using “Peso (weight)” as a monetary unit, discarding the Spanish system of division into 8 reales. The new law served as a basis for the metric system, where the peso was equivalent to 10 reales. At the end of the 19th century, new paper money began to play an important role as an instrument of change as a unit of measure of the value of goods and as an element of savings. The job of issuing bank notes was decreed to private banks licensed by the government.

The first bank to issue banknotes was the Banco International (International Bank), founded in 1880, this bank was granted exclusive issuing, but then lost exclusivity to Banco Occidental and Banco Agricola Comercial. Under the presidency of Carloz Ezeta, the Mint was inaugurated on August 28 of 1892. On October 1 of that year as a tribute to Christopher Columbus in the Discovery of America, the Legislature reformed the monetary law and changed the name to “Colón”. The exchange rate from US dollar at that time was 2 colones for a dollar.

In 1919 Currency laws were amended stipulating that the coins with daily wear would be withdrawn from circulation and coins with cuts or punched out parts would not be accepted as legal tender. The amendment also prohibited the using of cards, vouchers or counterparts to replace the official currency. Furthermore, it gave the Ministry of Finance the power to control the circulation of the currency.

Despite the relative economic prosperity of the 1920s, the worldwide depression of 1929, the global drop in coffee prices and the government deregulation of the monetary system caused a national economic crisis. The main problem was the lack of a specialized institution dedicated to ensuring that currency retained its value by controlling banking activity. In response, the government of General Maximiliano Hernández Martínez hired an Englishman named Frederick Francis Joseph Powell to analyze and structure the Salvadoran banking body. In its final report, it was recommended that the banking system should be organized around a central bank to protect the currency and its value, and issue the currency and credit control.

Thus through the presidential initiative on June 19, 1934, the Legislature approved the creation of the Central Bank of El Salvador, an institution whose objectives are set to control the volume of credit and demand of currency, and was also conferred the exclusive power to issue monetary kind.


Because the colón replaced the peso at par, 1 and 5 centavos coins issued before 1919 continued to be issued without design change after the colón’s introduction. In 1921, cupro-nickel 10 centavos were introduced, followed by silver 25 centavos in 1943. In 1953, silver 50 centavos were introduced alongside smaller silver 25 centavos. Both were replaced by nickel coins in 1970. In 1974, nickel-brass 2 and 3 centavos coins were introduced, followed by 1 colón coins in 1984.


On August 31, 1934, the new banking institution put into circulation the first family of banknotes in Salvadoran history. Until 1934, paper money was issued by private banks. Three banks issued notes, the Banco Agricola Comercial, the Banco Occidental and the Banco Salvadoreño. They were issued in one, five, ten, twenty-five and one hundred colones, adding two and fifty colones banknotes in 1955. The last 2 colones notes were dated 1976 and the last 1 colón note was issued in 1982. 200 colones banknotes were introduced in 1997.

El Salvador 10 Colones banknote of 1959.

Colón banknotes[4]
Image Value Main Color Description
Obverse Reverse Obverse Reverse
ES1-1982 b.jpgES1-1982 f.jpg ₡ 1 Red Christopher Columbus Presa 5 de Noviembre
ES2-1976 b.jpgES2-1976 f.jpg ₡ 2 Magenta Christopher Columbus Colonial church in Panchimalco
ES5-1999 f.jpg ₡ 5 Green Christopher Columbus Palacio Nacional
ES10-1999 b.jpgES10-1999 f.jpg ₡ 10 Blue Christopher Columbus Volcán de Izalco (Izalco volcano)
ES25-1999 f.jpgES25-1999 b.jpg ₡ 25 Cyan Christopher Columbus Pirámide de San Andres
ES50-1999 b.jpgES50-1999 f.jpg ₡ 50 Purple Christopher Columbus Lago de Coatepeque
ES100-1999 b.jpgES100-1999 f.jpg ₡ 100 Olive Green Christopher Columbus Pirámide del Tazumal
ES200-1999 b.jpgES200-1999 f.jpg ₡ 200 Orange Christopher Columbus Monumento al Divino Salvador del Mundo (Monument to the Divine Savior of the World)
For table standards, see the banknote specification table.


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  • Krause, Chester L.; Clifford Mishler (1991). Standard Catalog of World Coins: 1801–1991 (18th ed.). Krause Publications. ISBN cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:”””””””‘””‘”}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-free a{background:url(“//”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url(“//”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url(“//”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background:url(“//”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:none;color:#33aa33;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}
  • Pick, Albert (1994). Standard Catalog of World Paper Money: General Issues. Colin R. Bruce II and Neil Shafer (editors) (7th ed.). Krause Publications. ISBN 0-87341-207-9.
  • Pick, Albert (1990). Standard Catalog of World Paper Money: Specialized Issues. Colin R. Bruce II and Neil Shafer (editors) (6th ed.). Krause Publications. ISBN 0-87341-149-8.
  1. ^ Currency Symbols
  2. ^ Martínez, Néstor. Las venas abiertas de los indígenas en El Salvador Archived 2007-10-11 at
  3. ^ Banco Central de Reserva de El Salvador. ¿Qué es el Dinero? Archived 2007-06-13 at the Wayback Machine 2000
  4. ^ Banknotes of Salvadoran colón. “Archived copy”. Archived from the original on June 28, 2011. Retrieved 2012-05-03.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
Salvadoran colón
Preceded by:
Salvadoran peso
Ratio: at par
Currency of El Salvador
1919 – 31 December 2000
Note: currency still legal tender but no longer in circulation
Succeeded by:
United States dollar
Reason: dollarised by presidential decree
Ratio: 1 U.S. dollar = 8.75 colones

French livre

French 1793 24-Livre gold coin

The livre (English: pound) was the currency of Kingdom of France and its predecessor state of West Francia from 781 to 1794. Several different livres existed, some concurrently. The livre was the name of both units of account and coins.


  • 1 History

    • 1.1 Origin and etymology
    • 1.2 Late medieval and early modern period
    • 1.3 Seventeenth century
    • 1.4 Eighteenth century
    • 1.5 Later history
  • 2 References


Origin and etymology

The livre was established by Charlemagne as a unit of account equal to one pound of silver. It was subdivided into 20 sous (also sols), each of 12 deniers. The word livre came from the Latin word libra, a Roman unit of weight. This system and the denier itself served as the model for many of Europe’s currencies, including the British pound, Italian lira, Spanish dinero and the Portuguese dinheiro.

This first livre is known as the livre carolingienne. Only deniers were initially minted, but debasement led to larger denominations being issued. Different mints in different regions used different weights for the denier, leading to several distinct livres of different values.

“Livre” is a homonym of the French word for “book” (from the Latin word liber), the distinction being that the two have a different gender. The monetary unit is feminine, la/une livre, while “book” is masculine, le/un livre.

Late medieval and early modern period

For much of the Middle Ages, different duchies of France were semi-autonomous if not practically independent from the weak Capetian kings, and thus each minted their own currency. Charters would need to specify which region or mint was being used: “money of Paris” or “money of Troyes”. The first steps towards standardization came under the first strong Capetian monarch, Philip II Augustus (1165–1223). Philip II conquered much of the continental Angevin Empire from King John of England, including Normandy, Anjou, and Touraine.

The currency minted at the city of Tours in Touraine was considered very stable, and Philip II decided to adopt the livre tournois as the standard currency of his lands, gradually replacing even the livre of Paris, and ultimately the currencies of all French-speaking areas he controlled. This was a slow process lasting many decades and not completed within Philip II’s lifetime.

The result was that from 1200 onwards, following the beginning of King Philip II’s campaigns against King John, the currency used within French speaking lands was in a state of flux, as the livre tournois was gradually introduced into other areas.

Until the thirteenth century and onwards, only deniers were actually minted as coin money. Both livres and sous did not actually exist as coins but were used only for accounting purposes.

Upon his return from the crusades in the 1250s, Louis IX instigated a royal monopoly on the minting of coinage in France and minted the first gold écu d’or and silver gros d’argent, whose weights (and thus monetary divisions) were roughly equivalent to the livre tournois and the denier.

Between 1360 and 1641, coins worth 1 livre tournois were minted known as francs. This name persisted in common parlance for 1 livre tournois but was not used on coins or paper money.

The official use of the livre tournois accounting unit in all contracts in France was legislated in 1549. However, in 1577, the livre tournois accounting unit was officially abolished and replaced by the écu, which was at that time the major French gold coin in actual circulation. In 1602, the livre tournois accounting unit was brought back.

Seventeenth century

Louis XIII of France stopped minting the franc in 1641, replacing it with coins based on the silver écu and gold Louis d’or. The écu and louis d’or fluctuated in value, with the écu varying between three and six livres tournois until 1726 when it was fixed at six livres. The louis was initially (1640) worth ten livres, and fluctuated too, until its value was fixed at twenty-four livres in 1726.

In 1667, the livre parisis was officially abolished. However, the sole remaining livre was still frequently referred to as the livre tournois until its demise.

Eighteenth century

10 livres tournois note issued by La Banque Royale (1720)

The first French paper money was issued in 1701 and was denominated in livres tournois. However, the notes did not hold their value relative to silver due to massive over–production. The Banque Royale (the last issuer of these early notes) crashed in 1720, rendering the banknotes worthless (see John Law for more on this system).

In 1726, under Louis XV’s minister Cardinal Fleury, a system of monetary stability was put in place. Eight ounces (a mark) of gold was worth 740 livres, 9 sols (so, one ounce of gold was worth ~4 Louis or ~93 livres); 8 ounces of silver was worth 51 livres, 2 sols, 3 deniers. This led to a strict conversion rate between gold and silver (14.4867 to 1) and established the values of the coins in circulation in France at:

  • the Louis d’or (gold coin) of 24 livres
  • the double Louis d’or (gold coin) of 48 livres
  • the demi-Louis d’or or half-Louis (gold coin) of 12 livres
  • the écu (silver coin) of 6 livres or 120 sols, along with ​12, ​14 and ​18 écu denominations valued at 60, 30 and 15 sols
  • the sol (copper coin) denominated in 1 and 2 sol units valued at 1/20th of a livre (or 12 deniers) per sol
  • the denier (copper coin) denominated in 3 and 6 denier units valued at 1/4 and 1/2 a sol respectively (the three denier coin was also called a liard).

A coin of value 1 livre was not, however, minted. Yet in 1720 a special coin minted in pure silver was produced and assigned an over-value of 1 livre. Additionally, France took 20 Sols de Navarre coins minted in 1719 and 1720, re-struck them as Sixth Ecu de France (between the years of 1720 and 1723) essentially creating a coin worth 1 livre. These re-struck coins, however, eventually were assigned the value of 18 Sols.[1]

Assignat for 125 livres (1793)

A kind of paper money was reintroduced by the Caisse d’Escompte in 1776 as actions au porteur, denominated in livres. These were issued until 1793, alongside assignats from 1789. Assignats were backed (in theory) by government-held land. Like the issues of the Banque Royale, their value plummeted.

The last coins and notes of the livre currency system were issued in Year II of the Republic (1794). In 1795, the franc was introduced, worth 1 livre 3 deniers (​1 180 livres), and the first one-franc coin was struck in 1803. Still the word livre survived; until the middle of the 19th century it was indifferently used alongside the word franc, especially to express large amounts and transactions linked with property (real estate, property incomes or “rentes”, cattle, etc…).

Later history

The livre had also been used as the legal currency of the Channel Islands. The Jersey livre remained legal currency in Jersey until 1834 when dwindling supplies of no-longer minted coins obliged the adoption of the pound as legal tender.

Today, France uses the Euro as its currency.


  1. ^ W.K. Cross, ed. (2012). CANADIAN COINS: A Charlton Standard Catalogue (66th ed.). Toronto, Ontario / Palm Harbor, Florida: The Charlton Press. p. 6. ISBN cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:”””””””‘””‘”}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-free a{background:url(“//”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url(“//”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url(“//”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background:url(“//”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:none;color:#33aa33;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}

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