Canadian Currency | Paper Money from Canada

During the depths of the Great Depression, the Bank of Canada was founded in 1934. Charged with the mighty task of promoting “the economic and financial welfare of Canada," the new institution was also entrusted to produce Canadian Bank Notes. In March of 1935, the bank released its first series. Since that time it has issued seven, all featuring portraits of Canadian prime ministers or members of the royal family. The reverse of each note depicts an object of Canadian culture, and they are colloquially referred to as “bills.”
In 1937, only two years after releasing its original series, the Bank of Canada issued a second. The hasty development of a new series was prompted by Canadian legislation mandating the production of bilingual (French and English) bank notes. The bust of King George VI was used on nearly all denominations, along with a beautiful range of color variations. Even today, when holding a bill in one’s hand, thick, raised ink can be felt--meant as a security feature--along with detailed line patterns and planchettes scattered throughout.

In later years, the Bank of Canada issued several new designs, including 1954’s controversial “Devil’s Head.” Nicknamed for its portrait of Queen Elizabeth I and the widespread opinion there was a grinning devil in her hair, the bill was modified to fix the problem in 1956. Also integrated into the note’s design was Canada’s Coat of Arms, delicately placed in the background.

Prior to 1934 and the Bank of Canada’s jurisdiction over paper money, the country released a 25-Cent Bill, referred to by many as a Shinplaster. First issued in 1870 to defer the convergence of lesser-valued American currency, the Bills were intended for temporary use. They were nonetheless reissued in 1900 and 1923, but the Bank of Canada recalled all 25-Cent-Bills in 1935, rendering them obsolete.

In the interest of Foreign Currency, not to be outdone is the Irish Pound (Punt Éireannach). In 1971, Ireland’s Central Bank announced it would issue a new series of banknotes and, in the spirit of patriotism, its chosen theme was the history of Ireland. The green 1977-1989 Ireland One-Pound contains the beautiful portrait of Queen Medb (or Maeve) of Connacht, a legendary figure in ancient Celtic folklore. Pre-Christian geometric designs can be seen on the reverse, along with an excerpt from Lebor na hUidre, the most ancient-surviving Irish text. The Irish One-Pound Note was removed from circulation in 1990 and, with the ascension of the Euro in 2002, the melancholy fate of the pound was resolved.

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