Costa Rican colón
|Costa Rican colón|
|colón costarricense (Spanish)|
|ISO 4217 code||CRC|
|Central bank||Central Bank of Costa Rica|
|Inflation||4.74% (Jan. - Dec. 2011)|
|Source||Índice de Precios al Consumidor 2011, INEC Costa Rica, 3 January 2012|
|Coins||5, 10, 25, 50, 100 and 500 colones|
|Banknotes||1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000 colones|
The colón (named after Christopher Columbus, known as Cristóbal Colón in Spanish) is the currency of Costa Rica. The plural is colones in Spanish, but English speakers often say colons instead. The ISO 4217 code is CRC.
The symbol for the colón is a minuscule letter "c" crossed by two diagonal strokes. The symbol is encoded at U+20A1 ₡ colón sign (HTML:
₡)1 and may be typed on many English language Microsoft Windows keyboards using the keystrokes ALT+8353.
The colón sign is not to be confused with U+00A2 ¢ cent sign (HTML:
¢), or with the Ghanaian cedi, U+20B5 ₵ cedi sign (HTML:
₵). Nonetheless, the commonly available cent symbol '¢' is frequently used locally to designate the colón in price markings and advertisements.
The colón was introduced in 1896, replacing the Costa Rican peso at par. The colón is divided into 100 centimos, although, between 1917 and 1919, coins were issued using the name centavo for the 1/100 subunit of the colón.
Because the colón replaced the peso at par, there was no immediate need for new coins in 1896. In 1897, gold 2, 5, 10 and 20 colones were elephants issued, followed by silver 50 centimos, and followed by cupro-nickel 2 centimos in 1903 and silver 5 and 10 centimos in 1905. The 5 and 10 centimos bore the initials G.C.R., indicating that they were issues of the government.
In 1917, coins were issued in denominations of 5 and 10 centavos rather than centimos. 50 centavo coins were minted but not issued (see below). All bore the G.C.R. initials.
The issuance of centimo coins by the government (still indicated by the initials G.C.R.) was resumed in 1920, with 5 and 10 centimos issued. In 1923, silver 25 and 50 centimos from the peso currency, along with the unissued 50 centavos from 1917 and 1918, were issued with counterstamps which doubled their values to 50 centimos and 1 colón.
In 1925, silver 25 centimo coins were introduced. The last government issued coins were brass 10 centimos issued between 1936 and 1941.
In 1935, the International Bank of Costa Rica issued cupro-nickel coins in denominations of 25 and 50 centimos and 1 colón. These bore the initials B.I.C.R.
In 1937, the National Bank introduced coins in denominations of 25 and 50 centimos and 1 colón which bore the initials B.N.C.R. These were followed by 5 and 10 centimos in 1942 and 2 colones in 1948.
In 1951, the Central Bank took over coin issuance using the initials B.C.C.R. while introducing 5 and 10 centimo coins. These were followed by 1 and 2 colones in 1954, 50 centimos in 1965 and 25 centimos in 1967. In 1982–1983, 5 and 10 centimo coins were discontinued, the sizes of the 25 centimo to 2 colón coins were reduced and 5, 10 and 20 colón coins were introduced. Between 1995 & 1998, smaller, brass 1, 5 and 10 colón coins were introduced and coins for 25, 50 & 100 colones were added. 500 colones followed in 2003. Aluminium 5 and 10 colones were introduced in 2006. Coins of 1 colón are no longer found in circulation. In 2009 the larger, silver-coloured ¢5, ¢10 & ¢20 were gradually withdrawn leaving the small, lighter, ¢5 and ¢10 and the gold-coloured ¢5, ¢10, ¢25, ¢50, ¢100 & ¢500 coins circulating.
Four private banks, the Banco Anglo–Costarricense, the Banco Comercial de Costa Rica, the Banco de Costa Rica and the Banco Mercantil de Costa Rica, issued notes between 1864 and 1917.
The Banco Anglo–Costarricense was established in 1864 and issued notes from 1864 to 1917. It later became a state-owned bank and in 1994 went bankrupt and closed. Notes were issued in denominations of 1, 25, 50, and 100 pesos as well as 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 colones. Some 1, 5, 10 and 20 colones notes (unsigned and undated) were released in 1963 when the bank celebrated its 100th anniversary. Some had Muestra sin Valor ("sample without value") printed on them in order to nullify the legal tender status and to prevent people from selling them. Most, however, didn't have that printed on them, which makes it harder nowadays to find notes with the seal.
|1 colón, 1917||5 colones, 191x||10 colones, 191x||20 colones, 191x|
The Banco de Costa Rica was established in 1890 and issued notes from 1890 to 1914. It is currently a state-owned bank. Notes were issued in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 100 pesos as well as 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 colones.
|1 peso, 1899||5 colones, 190x||10 colones, 190x||20 colones, 1906|
The Banco Comercial de Costa Rica issued notes between 1906 and 1914 in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 colones. The Banco Mercantil de Costa Rica issued notes between 1910 and 1916, also in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 colones.
The government issued gold certificates in 1897 for 5, 10, 25, 50 and 100 colones. Between 1902 and 1917, it issued silver certificates for 50 centimos, 1, 2, 50 and 100 colones.
In 1914, the Banco Internacional de Costa Rica introduced notes in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 colones, to which 25 and 50 centimos, 1 and 2 colones were added in 1918. Although 25 centimos were not issued after 1919, the other denominations continued to be issued until 1936. After 1917, the Banco Internacional's notes were the only issued for circulation.
In 1937, the Banco Nacional de Costa Rica took over paper money issuing and issued notes for 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 colones until 1949. Many of the early notes were provisional issues overprinted on notes of the Banco Internacional, including the 1 colón notes which were briefly issued.
The Banco Central de Costa Rica began issuing paper money in 1950, with notes for 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 colones. The first notes were provisional issues produced from Banco Nacional notes (unsigned and undated). The Central Bank printed on them the corresponding signatures and dates, and the legend "BANCO CENTRAL DE COSTA RICA" over "BANCO NACIONAL DE COSTA RICA". Regular issues of notes began in 1951, but a second provisional issue of 2 colones notes was made in 1967. 1,000 colones notes were added in 1958, followed by 500 colones in 1973, 5,000 colones in 1992, and 2,000 and 10,000 colones in 1997.
|2 colones, 1967||100 colones, 1954||5 colones, 1972||1,000 colones, 1973|
|Current Circulating Banknotes|
|1,000 colones||Red||Braulio Carrillo Colina||Guanacaste tree/White-tailed deer|
|2,000 colones||Blue||Mauro Fernández Acuña||Bull shark|
|5,000 colones||Light Blue||Pre-Columbian Sculpture||Toucan, stone sphere, jaguar and local plants|
|5,000 colones||Yellow||Alfredo González Flores; Banco International de Costa Rica building in San José||Mangrove swamp, flowers, crab, monkey|
|10,000 colones||Blue||Emma Gamboa||Jaguar and Puma|
|10,000 colones||Green||José Figueres Ferrer, Abolition of the Army||Rainforest ("Bosque Lluvioso"), orchid flower, mushroom cop, three-toed sloth, birds|
|20,000 colones||Orange||Maria Isabel Carvajal (alias Carmen Lyra); outline of Costa Rica, rabbit stroking a wolf - from Lyra's "Cuentos De Mi Tía Panchita" (Tales of My Aunt Panchita)||Volcano Hummingbird, Senecio oerstedianus sunflower, and coffee plants|
|50,000 colones||Violet||Ricardo Jimenez Oreamuno, Supreme Court (San José)||Fog forest ("Bosque Nuboso"), parasol mushroom, Bromelia flower, Morpho butterfly|
Whenever a banknote of a specific denomination is changed (design, security features, colour, etc.), a new series is released. Every banknote issued by this bank measures approximately 6.6 cm x 15.5 cm. Every note also has the serial and series numbers printed in red ink. Exceptions occurred with:
- 2 colones provisional issue: black
- 5 colones provisional issue: orange
- 10 colones provisional issue: blue
- 500 colones series B: black
- 1,000 colones series A issue: dark blue
Every issue also features the signatures, date, and the agreement number printed in black.
The 1983 "Z" series of the 20 colón note was an experimental issue of the American Banknote Company which made the notes out of a polymer. To date, this has been the only Costa Rican note made of that material.
Since 2012, Costa Rican banknotes are undergoing a reform and are being replaced by a new model. Two new denominations were introduced as part of the reform; 20,000 and 50,000 colones.3 The old notes will all be withdrawn from circulation and be replaced by new ones. The new banknotes will have different colors, shapes and images than their predecessors. All the denominations have a different length so that people with visual impairments can recognize the banknotes easily.
On February 6, 2011, the United States dollar was worth 508.11 colones. The colón has had an unusual relationship with the U.S. dollar that may best be described as a "crawling peg"; instead of being defined by a constant value to the dollar, the colón instead would grow progressively weaker at a fixed rate of about 3.294 colones per dollar per month. On October 16, 2006, however, this crawling peg was modified4 due to weakness in the U.S. dollar and the perception that the colón is now undervalued. The exchange rate is now free to float within a currency band referenced to the United States dollar. The floor of the band has been set at a fixed value, while the ceiling changes at a fixed rate. In practice the exchange rate has remained fixed at the lower value of the currency band.
|Current CRC exchange rates|
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|From Yahoo! Finance:||AUD CAD CHF EUR GBP HKD JPY USD|
|From XE.com:||AUD CAD CHF EUR GBP HKD JPY USD|
|From OANDA.com:||AUD CAD CHF EUR GBP HKD JPY USD|
|From fxtop.com:||AUD CAD CHF EUR GBP HKD JPY USD|
Since October 17, 2006 the colón is no longer bound to controlled devaluations (known in Costa Rica as minidevaluaciones) by the Central Bank of Costa Rica. With the new system, sistema cambiario de bandas, the exchange rates posted by the Central Bank are a "reference" and each authorized financial institution can determine their value independently in hopes that the free market will provide a mechanism to keep them reasonable.
The colón is sometimes referred to as the peso, which was the name of the Costa Rican currency before the colón, until 1896. This is very common across Latin American countries, where most have (or had at some point) currencies called pesos. Another slang name is caña (Spanish for sugar cane, plural cañas) but this term is more often used in its plural form and for amounts under 100 colones with multiples of ten, except for 5 e.g.: 5 cañas, 10 cañas, 20 cañas, and etcetera. This term has become less popular.
Teja (roof tile) is used as a slang term, which means one hundred colones, therefore the five hundred colones coins and notes are called "cinco tejas" and the fifty colones coins and notes are referred to as "media Teja" (half roof tile).
The former five hundred colones note was called "morado" (purple) because of its colour, but it is no longer in circulation.
The one thousand colones note is called "un rojo" (one red) because of its colour. This also applies for any amount that are multiples for a thousand colones (e.g. twenty thousand colones = veinte rojos).
The five thousand colones note is called tucán (toucan), referring to the image of a toucan it carries. Although not frequently used anymore it can also be named "una Libra" (one Pound), this also applies to the 5 colones coins.
The ten thousand colones note is also known as Ema Gamboa, referring to the image printed on one of its faces.
- Krause, Chester L., and Clifford Mishler (1991). Standard Catalog of World Coins: 1801–1991 (18th ed.). Krause Publications. ISBN 0873411501.
- Pick, Albert (1994). Standard Catalog of World Paper Money: General Issues. Colin R. Bruce II and Neil Shafer (editors) (7th ed.). Krause Publications. ISBN 0-87341-207-9.
- Pick, Albert (1990). Standard Catalog of World Paper Money: Specialized Issues. Colin R. Bruce II and Neil Shafer (editors) (6th ed.). Krause Publications. ISBN 0-87341-149-8.
- (Spanish) Official site of Banco Central de Costa Rica
- The Museum of the Central Bank of Costa Rica
- cambiodeldolar.com-Alternative up to date information about the exchange rate of the Costa Rican Colón to the United States Dollar.
- (French) New colones since may 2010 Specimens of new banknotes since May 2010.