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16 Foreign Banknotes That Look Way Cooler Than The Boring American Dollar

Steven Perlberg

One good way to judge a currency is by looking at how it trades on the foreign exchange markets.

A less boring way is to just see how it looks in your hand, all crisp and money-like.

From epic 19th century leaders to blinding color schemes, some of the globe's currencies use style to make up for a dearth in purchasing power.

Sure, the U.S. dollar is great. But the boring colors and lack of diversity (Every face is of a white male) makes it the most boring currency in the world.

So, here you have it: the world's coolest banknotes.

1. Icelandic krona

With a cartoonishly Nordic look, the krona is fun for the whole family.

iceland krona


2. Angolan kwanza

Simple, elegant.

angola kwanza

Wikimedia Commons

3. East Caribbean dollar

 A young, smirking Queen Elizabeth gives this banknote an island chicness.

East Caribbean 5dollar banknote

Wikimedia Commons

4. Israeli shekel

The colorful "new" shekel redesign borders on glow in the dark (unconfirmed).

new shekel israel currency

Wikimedia Commons

5. Latvian lats

A direct, bearded figure on a soft red and white background. This currency says, "I'm not the Euro, buddy." 

latvia currency

Wikimedia Commons

6. Brunei dollar

A stunning currency. Blue and yellow pastels contrast with stoic, mustachioed generals of Brunei yore.

brunei dollar


7. Liberian dollar

Liberia's history is directly tied to the U.S., and you can actually see it in the banknote, albeit with a uniquely African color scheme and gusto.

liberian 5 dollar note


8. Comorian franc

The currency from Comoros looks like something out of an old painting.

comoros currency


9. Turkmenistan manat

The manat's purples, maroons, and greens give it a 1980s electropunk feel, but with a certain austere importance to it. Well done.

turkmenistan money


10. Canadian dollar

For obvious reasons.

canada banknote


11. Samoan tala

Samoa's currency doubles as a travel brochure. Check out that luxurious coastline!

samoa tala


12. Czech crown

An absolute classic, this currency screams, "Never again, USSR. Never again."

czech crown

Wikimedia Commons

13. Mongolian tugrik

This ancient Mongolian leader is not to be messed with.

mongolian currency

Wikimedia Commons

14. Iranian rial

UN sanctions have sent the value plummeting, but the rial itself is a real classic. Staunch leader, big mountain. A simple and effective formula.

iran rial


15. Bhutanese ngultrum

Stunning (plus honorable mention for best name).

bhutan currency

Wikimedia Commons

16. Costa Rican colones


costa rica colones currency money dollar

Wikimedia Commons

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