How it all started

Each year, as I departed my village of Bainabaj in Eastern Iran, to continue my studies in cities (we had no school beyond the 6th grade) my father at the very last minutes would slip a few bills into my hand rather discretely as he wished me bon voyage. The ten riyal bill in the Iran collection is a souvenir from how this album got started. This album is dynamic in several respects. The number of currencies and countries continue to expand as new bills are added. Also, currencies values change. I have made it available to you for viewing so you may learn and enjoy as I do.

One of those episodes: Instead of spending it, since it was becoming rare and would soon be discontinued, I saved it in my wallet. That was the 1950s. Many years later, when I started teaching international business courses, I began sharing this 10-riyal bill as an exotic exchange of foreign currencies. Over time, other bills were added and it became a collection. When students viewed my expanding collection, they started making donations to it. Occasionally I would say "I take bribes as long as they are not in U.S. dollars." Occasionally I would receive a letter from a former student, with a friendly note and some foreign bills. My colleagues and friends, who worked for international agencies, likewise, would send me monies, sometime from exotic places like North Korea! The Iraqi Dinar, with Saddam Hussein's picture, came from a van driver at some airport right around the time that the US had invaded Iraq in 2003. For some reason he picked me as the expert to show the bill, asking me what it was. I told him the man is overthrown, and the currency may no longer be worth anything. He gave it to me, saying "well it is not worth anything to me anyway!" I tipped him a buck!

Different currencies
  • New Vs Old: Some currecnies are still in circulation; others have disappeared, replaced by new national currencies (Brazil) or regional currencies (such as the Euro replacig Dutch guilder or French franc
  • Live Vs Dead
  • Convertible Vs Pegged