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From Maplewood Leafs to Silver Pandas: Strange Currency from Around the World

When it comes to currency and coinage, there are different traits that a coin buyer may seek. Some coins are valuable because they are composed of precious metals, some because they’re very rare, and some foreign currency is collectible just because it’s interesting. These are a few of the strangest types of currency from around the world.

1. Canadian Gold Maple Leaf Coins

Canadian Maple Leafs are gold coins that feature Queen Elizabeth II on the front and a maple leaf on the back. They contain the highest purity of gold found in a coin in the world. Most are valued at $50, but they are available in different sizes or denominations, including rare coins that are worth $1 million. As a side note, the $1 million Canadian gold maple leaf coin, the most valuable coin ever produced, was recently stolen from Berlin’s Bode Museum.

2. Cook Islands 10-Dollar Bill

The Cook Islands is a Polynesian island chain in the South Pacific. They’re affiliated with New Zealand but are self-governing and use their own currency. The ten-dollar bill reflects the nation’s heritage with a topless native woman riding a shark through the ocean.

3. Manchukuo Cardboard Yuan

Manchukuo, or the State of Manchuria, was a monarchy within China ruled by the Manchu family. In 1944 and 1945, metal shortages due to World War II caused the government to issue coins made from a material resembling cardboard.

4. Zimbabwe’s One Hundred Trillion Dollar Note

Due to one of the most incredible examples of hyperinflation in human history, Zimbabwe at one point issued one hundred trillion dollar bills, which was the equivalent of about US$300. At the peak of their inflation, a single loaf of bread cost around 300 billion Zimbabwean dollars. These notes were only circulated for a few months and today are considered collectors’ items.

5. Chinese Silver Pandas

The People’s Republic of China currently produces silver coins in varying sizes and denominations that feature an image of the Temple of Heaven on the obverse, or front, and a panda on the reverse. The design of the panda changes each year. These coins are desirable to anyone who is a coin buyer because of their attractiveness and low mintage; especially the earlier minted examples.

Anyone who enjoys collecting rare coins should consider adding one of these interesting options to their collection.

Tony Davis
Tony Davis
Tony Davis is the owner of Atlanta Gold & Coin Buyers, a full service Atlanta based coin and bullion dealer specializing in buying, selling and appraising coins and coin collections of all types and sizes. Tony frequently writes on various economic and numismatic related topics affecting the coin and bullion markets and has been published on some of the industry’s leading websites, including Coin Week, the American Numismatic Association, Coin Collector, Coinflation, and Coin Auctions Help, just to name a few. Visit Atlanta Gold & Coin’s website at to obtain additional information on the products, services and educational resources offered by his company. Tony can be reached at or at 404-236-9744
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