International Finance International Finance
1. The Kekfrank: A Currency You Can Drink To
Kekfrankos (or Blue Frankish), a robust red wine, is a local vintage which popularized a quaint western Hungarian town, Sopron, also known for the number of visitors from neighboring Austria for its less expensive dentistry. A group of area wine-makers had started the currency in an effort to prop up local trade.
Now, the kekfrank, which trades on par with the Hungarian national currency, the forint, in accepted in over 400 business areas, ranging from pizzerias and bakeries to sun-tanning salons and jewelry stores. The kekfrank is even viewed as a legal tender in a few stores in the Hungarian capital, Budapest.
2. The Salt Spring Dollar:
The Salt Spring Dollar, accepted at par with the Canadian loonie (Dollar), is the local money of South Spring Island in southern British Columbia. Thomas Mc Phee, a local artist, had designed a silver coin worth 50 Salt Spring dollars which was crafted at a nearby mint. Everyone in town, from the bicycle shop to the local Shell station, accepts the SSD.
The Berkshare, a currency recognized by five separate banks and 13 branches, is the local currency of the Berkshires, out in the Massachusetts. Pegged at the same level as greenback, there are more than 2.7 million Berkshares in circulation and over 400 area businesses that accept them - many of which offer a 5% discount for paying in Berkshares.
4. The Urstromtaler:
The Urstromtaler is circulated in Magdeburg, a town of 230,000 in what was once East Germany. From jewelers to bakeries, florists to restaurants, everyone uses the Urstromtaler in this city by the Elbe. There is even a Magdeburg movie theater that makes the currency.
5. The Lewes Pound:
The Lewes pound, in East Sussex, England, is a currency with a history dating back to 1789 when it was first used, then discontinued along with other local British currencies in 1895. The picture on the Lewes Pound note is that of Thomas Paine, the radical thinker and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States; Paine was born in Lewes. The currency proclaims itself as an environment friendly one - i.e., if people travel less to spend their money, there is less carbon emitted into the atmosphere.
6. The Totnes Pound:
The Totnes Pound commenced operations in 2007 as part of the Transition Towns concept, the belief that a community can be self-sustainable, environment friendly, and a desirable place to live. It has been reported that Totnes Pounds, which are at par with the British pound, have sold for substantially more on eBay: 4.27 and 13.02 pounds, respectively.
7. The Occitan
The Occitan is pegged to the euro in denominations of 1, 2, 5 and 10, and is used in Pezenas, a small town in southern France. The portrait of Moliere, who began his career in Pezenas, is featured on the 2 Occitan note.
The organizers of the currency placed ten good reasons to use it on their website, including the lack of speculative risk associated with it and that it "looks nicer than the euro."
8. Canadian Tire Money (argent Canadian Tire)
The Royal Canadian Mint produces the money for the Great White North retail chain Canadian tire, in circulation since 1958 and printed on paper similar to that of the Canadian dollar (for $5 and $10).
Coins come in 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, 50¢, $1 and $2. Quebec chanteur Mononc' Serge once sang satirically that the CTM is more stable than the Canadian dollar.
9. The Chiemgauer
The Chiemgauer is the medium of exchange in Prien am Chiemsee in Upper Bavaria. Pegged to the Euro, the currency is the brainchild of high school teacher Christian Gelleri.
The goals of the regional German monetary project are to promote economic and environmental sustainability.
10. Disney Dollars
Like others on the list, the Disney Dollar is also designed to benefit a community: the Disney corporate empire. Similar in shape and size to the US dollar, the Disney buck features all the icons of the company, such as Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy and Pluto.
The currency is accepted at Disney stores, theme parks, cruise ships and even Castaway Cay, the company's private island in the Bahamas.