El único Panamá - Week 14

Welcome to our weekly series about the uniqueness of Panama!

Panama was the first Latin American country to adopt the U.S. currency as its own!

Photo: Casa de Montana

The fact that Panama uses the American dollar as its currency stems from the country’s close ties with the U.S. The currency has been in use since 1904. There are no official U.S. treasuries or mints in Panama so the bills are not minted in the country.

Panama also has its own currency called the Balboa, named for the Spanish explorer/conquistador Vasco Núñez de Balboa. It is used interchangeably with the US Dollar —one dollar equals one Balboa. Panama does not issue Balboa paper notes.

However, it does have a one dollar Balboa coin which became effective July 27, 2011.

Slightly larger than an American quarter, the borders are coated with nickel and the middle section of the Balboa is coated with copper. The coins are minted by the Royal Canadian Mint. Additional coins come in 1, 5, 10, 25, and 50-cent pieces. They are the same size, color, and weight as U.S. coins.

Do you know what The Seven Day Dollar is?

Banknotes of the Panamanian balboas were printed under the rule of the then President Arnulfo Arias. However, the banknotes were recalled several days later, seven days to be exact, giving rise to a pun of The Seven Day Dollar, when referring to the banknotes. The recalled banknotes were burned seven days after. This incident made the Panamanian balboa banknotes to be of very high value to collectors. The few surviving copies of it were the only banknotes of the balboa which were left. Balboas are not released again as banknotes because US dollar banknotes have circulated since then, according to famouswonders.com.

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