Our favourite currency competition tweets

By on August 4th, 2016 in Editorial

So we were thrilled that when we launched a competition offering portable phone chargers in exchange for social media users’ declarations of their favourite currencies, the flood of entries featured some wonderfully obscure and fascinating currency trivia.

To paraphrase inimitable nineties cash-enthusiasts the Wu-Tang Clan, currency rules everything around us; the world’s denominations of money are so rich in culture and history that we find we’re always able to learn a little more, and we’re always eager to share.

Here’s a selection of our favourite tweets.

Thanks for that tantalising info, Neil – and for your uncanny Michael Caine impression. We would be keen to hear more from you on this because details are thin on the ground, but you’ve definitely piqued our interest.

Our cursory Googling finds that Yoruba/Chamba/Agogo bells (or gongs) are most frequently mentioned in connection with Nigeria, and that they look a little like this:800px-Africanagogo

According to Dr. Daniel Mato, Professor Emeritus of Art History at The University of Calgary, “the bell-shaped forms and narrow ‘clangers’ [would be] attached to a ring, keeping the individual pieces as part of a group that would have an enhanced value due to the material and their forms. Forged iron currency has a long history throughout West Africa dating back to the first millennium. The convertibility of forged iron into other objects makes it an ideal form of currency.”

You can find (slightly) more information and images here.


Outstanding, Carrie! He really does bear a remarkable resemblance to Home Alone’s Old Man Marley, as immortalised by veteran character actor and poet Roberts Blossom – what a name! You can almost imagine a giant snow shovel being waved menacingly just outside the borders of this banknote.

But the man on the 6th series 1000 franc note (from 1978 to 2000, since withdrawn) is actually Auguste Forel – the Swiss myrmecologist (ant expert), neuroanatomist and psychiatrist. He was also the first person to describe the mysterious zona incerta area of the brain as “a region of which nothing certain can be said.” Thanks, Auguste!

Having trouble remembering what Old Man Marley looks like? Google has you covered.


Kellie’s explanation of what happened to the Turkish lira might sound simplistic, but it’s actually bang on the money (heyo!). The process is called redenomination; because Turkey was suffering from hyperinflation from the 1970s through to the 1990s, the ‘old lira’ had become worth practically nothing. Meanwhile, accounting software was crashing because of the astronomical figures involved in calculations.

In December 2003, the Grand National Assembly of Turkey passed a law permitting the removal of six zeros from its currency, meaning that 1 ‘new lira’ was equivalent to 1,000,000 ‘old lira’. Genius!

So, in the grand scheme of things, you could say many Turkish people are actually quite glad that they’re no longer millionaires.


Like Kellie, Jamie is perilously close to delighting in another country’s economic disaster. Nevertheless we’d like to congratulate him – and our other entrants – for not lowering the tone by sinking to the level of easy penis jokes.


Oh dear.


Laurence, you are extremely lucky to be receiving a phone charger for this pitifully low-effort response. It is simply inaccurate. For example, if you have a TV remote in your hand, it is not necessarily a currency. The very nature of currency dictates that the item in question has a value agreed upon by a significant number of people, and is deemed an acceptable medium of exchange for goods and services.

You could perhaps barter with your remote control, but bartering is the exchange of goods and services without use of money, and your remote control would likely have very little value unless you were also willing to offer up your television.

At any rate, if you’re holding in your hand what we suspect you are, we would strongly advise you against attempting to make payments with it. You might end up in prison.

Do you see what happens when the tone gets lowered, Jason?

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James is freemarket’s Chief Commercial Officer. He has a history of finding new ways to solve age-old financial challenges and was responsible for launching some of the first online money transfer and prepaid card initiatives in Europe.

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