Natalie: How Much of What? (currency)

United Kingdom



Queen Elizabeth II is on every pound bill and coin. When she dies, they will replace her face with Prince Charles. Elizabeth was born on April 21 1926. Right now she is ninety years old. She has been ruling for about 60 years. That is the longest ruling monarch in British history. She was about 26 years old when she was crowned queen.  She has been queen for 64 years. Queen Victoria was queen for 63 years.



by Lucy

The Netherlands

IMG_7327Queen Beatrix was queen of the Netherlands from 1980 until 2013 that’s almost 33 years. Now the king of the Netherlands is Willem-Alexander, her son. Beatrix was born on January 31, 1936.  She was on all of the Dutch euro coins made through 2013.  Now her son, the king, is on the newer ones.  Beatrix has one sister, Irene who is one year younger.




IMG_6518On the German one and two euro coins, there is an eagle. The eagle is the symbol German coat of arms. On the edge of the two euro coin, there are these words written:      Einigkeit und recht und freihiet.  That means unity and justice and freedom. The difference between the one and two euro coins is that the two euro coin has gold in the middle and silver on the outside, and the one euro has the reverse–silver in the middle and gold on the outside.   Also, the one euro doesn’t have the word on the edge. The two coin is bigger than the one euro.




Edelweiss is a kind of flower that is white. It prefers rocky areas like the tops of mountains in Europe.  Edelweiss is a national symbol of Austria, Switzerland, Bulgaria and Romania. In German, “edelweiss” means noble and white.

We went to Salzburg.  We saw dry edelweiss and some potted plants, but never the wild kind. The song Edelweiss was written just for the Sound of Music movie.  It was never an actual Austrian folk song.  Edelweiss is on the Austrian two cent euro coin.



IMG_3654The kuna is the currency in Croatia.  “Kuna” also means “marten.”  A marten is a furry animal that is like a ferret.  A long time ago, people used marten fur as currency and that is why every kuna coin has a marten shown.




Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 11.51.02 AMThe Greek one euro coin has been used since 2002. It has a image of an owl. The owl has an olive tree on its top left, because there was a contest between Athena and Poseidon.  They both wanted the city to be named after them. The contest was whoever could give the best gift would win.  Poseidon gave the people a spring, but since he was the god of the sea, it was a salt-water spring. When it was Athena’s turn, she gave them an olive tree.  She won and that is how Athens got its name. Since the owl was Athena’s pet, it was put on the Greek euro coins. The owl stand for wisdom. In Greece there are a lot of owl items. Owls were used on the Greek coins as early as the 2,000 years ago.






IMG_2611The Colosseum is on the 5 cent euro coin. The colosseum was commissioned in 72 AD by Emperor Vespasian. Vespasian’s son finished it in 80 AD.  When they finally opened the Colosseum, it was used for 100 days in a row. People watched games like gladiators and wild animals fight.  The Colosseum is an amphitheater. An amphitheater is a round event space. The Colosseum was used for 400 years. It has 80 curved entrances. The Colosseum used to be covered in marble, but people took it off to build other buildings.



Untitled-1The Sower is on two of the French euro coins. She is on the ten and the fifty cent coins.  Before the euro, the Sower was on the franc.  She was originally designed by Oscar Roty in 1887. The Sower was also used on stamps. The Sower that is on the euro now was designed by Laurent Jorlo. Both their names are on the coins today.

The Sower is sowing seeds for good luck for her country at the dawn of the new day. The flag is also represented on the coin. Horizontal stripes represent red, vertical stripes represent blue and the middle of the coin represents the sower and white.




We are now in Europe. Most countries in Europe use euros. The countries that use euros can make their own coins.  One side of the euro is always the same, that is the side that tells you the value. The other side has something famous from that place. It can be person or a place. The 50 cent coin from Spain has Miguel de Cervantes.

50 cent coin from Spain

Miguel de Cervantes wrote Don Quijote in 1605.  Cervantes did not go to university. He  fought for Spain in the army abroad. When he was sailing back to Spain, his ship got captured by pirates.  For the next five years, he worked as a slave. After he got his freedom, Cervantes reached Madrid in 1580.  People don’t know exactly when he was born, but we are sure he died on April 22, 1616.




There are many theories about how the U.S. dollar sign came to life. One of the theories is based on the Spanish coat of arms. In 1492 the Spanish coat of arms had the two Pillars of Hercules with a ribbon hanging in between. The ribbon said in Latin non plus ultra which means ‘nothing further beyond’. After Columbus returned from the new world in 1493 the ribbon was changed to plus ultra, which means ‘further beyond.’

In the 1500s King Charles V put the coat of arms on Spanish gold and silver coins. Merchants and traders would write that symbol  instead of spelling out “dollar” or “peso.” Over time the symbol may have evolved into the U.S. dollar sign.

I think it’s interesting to think about, especially since I have been to Gibraltar, one of the pillars of Hercules (the other one is across the straight of Gibraltar in Africa).  I wish I had one of those old gold coins!


in Madrid


Japan has three holy mountains.  Mount Fuji is one of them and it is on the 1,000 yen bill. Mount Fuji is the tallest mountain in Japan. Fuji is short for Fujiyama. Fuji stands at the border of Yamanashi and Shizuoka. On a clear day Fuji can be seen in Tokyo. The sunrise at mount Fuji is called Goraiko. Fuji is an active volcano. The last time it erupted in 1708.

We went to Hakone to see Fuji up close but we didn’t see it.  But we did see it from our hotel room in Tokyo.



Chinese Yuan
Chinese Yuan

In 1949 after World War II, Mao Zedong became chairman. Mao brought communism to China. Mao is on all of the bills. Mao was chairman from 1949 to 1976. He was born on December 26 1893, and he died on September 9, 1976. His body is now on display in Tiananmen Square. We went there to see his body. It looked like it was made of wax. A lot of people gave him flowers.

Fun fact:
Mao was a library assistant when he was in university.




Hong Kong

20160212_095256All of the Hong Kong coins have the same flower. That flower is also on the flag. The word Hong Kong means fragrant harbor. The flower is called Hong Kong orchid tree.





Angkor Wat is a very famous temple originally built for Hinduism. Just after it was constructed it was converted to a Buddhist temple as it stands today. Angkor Wat is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is the biggest religious monument in the world, over 5.3 million square feet! Angkor Wat means city of temples and there many other temples nearby.

Angkor Wat was built in the 12th century making it over 800 years old. Angkor Wat is very important to the people of Cambodia. It is on their money and on their flag since 1863. Unfortunately we didn’t use much Cambodian money since people mostly use U.S dollars.

We biked there from Siem Reap and to many other temples in one day. It was a long ride.



King Rama IX was born on December 5, 1927. He has been King for over 69 years! He started ruling when he was 19 years old.  Now he is 89.  Rama came to Thailand when he was two years old.  He came from Switzerland where his family was living.  Rama was crowned king May 5, 1950, in a palace in Bangkok, Thailand. His face is on every single coin and bill.  King Rama has some power over Thailand, but the prime minister has more power over Thailand than the king.IMG_0332 IMG_0334






The big can of Coke (SGD$.85) is cheaper than a little can of Coke (SGD$1.50) in Singapore. The little can of Coke was made in Great Britain. The big can of Coke was made in Singapore.







Natalie discusses Singaporean bills in these two Tellagami videos (20 seconds each).


imageThe currency in Australia is the Australian dollar.  One Australian dollar equals 73 cents in the USA.

Australian bills are plastic (thin, flexible sheets that feel like our dollars). That’s good because they last longer and because they are harder to copy. And because of that many different countries want Australia to make plastic money for their country.


  1. Nati, when you get back, you should ask Uncle Caleb for all his international money. It seems to follow him home from every trip.


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