Solomon Islands dollar
|Solomon Islands dollar|
|Banknotes||$5, $10, $20, $50, $100|
|Coins||10, 20, 50 cents, $1, $2|
|Central bank||Central Bank of Solomon Islands|
|Source||Central Bank of Solomon Islands, August 2009.|
The Solomon Islands dollar (ISO 4217 code: SBD) is the currency of Solomon Islands since 1977. Its symbol is "SI$", but the "SI" prefix may be omitted if there is no confusion with other currencies also using the dollar sign "$". It is subdivided into 100 cents.
|Current SBD exchange rates|
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Prior to the Solomon Islands Dollar, Solomon Islands used the Australian pound sterling. However, the Solomon Islands had also issued its own banknotes, sometimes called the Solomon Islands pound.
When Solomon Islands fell under the control of Imperial Japan during the Second World War, the Oceanian pound, a so-called "Japanese Invasion Currency", became the official currency until after the war ended and the Pound was restored.
In 1966 the Australian dollar replaced the pound, and was circulated in the Solomon Islands until 1976, shortly before independence.
The Solomon Islands dollar was introduced in 1977, replacing the Australian dollar at par, following independence. Until 1979, the two dollars remained equal, then for five months the SI$ was pegged at SI$1.05 = A$1, and later floated. Economic stagnation ensued, so over the next 28 years, and especially during the civil war of 2000–2003, inflationary pressure reduced the Solomon Islands dollar to be worth 15 Australian cents.
In 2008, due to the low valuation in the currency, many Islanders took to hoarding coins and giving them to children as souvenirs, causing a coin shortage. Some more traditional monetary forms, such as dolphin teeth, have in a few areas taken the place of coins. A public awareness campaign was launched to encourage people to cash in excess coins at the bank to help alleviate the shortfall.
The Solomon Islands dollar did not descend directly from the Spanish pieces of eight, as is the case with the US, the Canadian, and East Caribbean dollars; several other currencies called "dollars" are also not direct descendants, e.g., the Australian and Jamaican currencies. The Solomon Islands dollar is an offshoot of the Australian dollar, which is in turn essentially a half pound sterling. Australia followed the pattern of South Africa in that when it adopted the decimal system, it decided to use the half pound as its unit.
The name "dollar" was chosen because the reduced value of the new unit corresponded more closely to the value of the US dollar than it did to the pound sterling.
In 1977, coins were introduced in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10 and 20 cents and 1 dollar. The cent coins were all the same sizes, weights, and compositions as the corresponding Australian coins, with the 1 dollar an equilaterally curved heptagonal (seven sided) coin minted in cupro-nickel. The reverse of each of the six original coins depicts the image of an item or symbol important to native culture, with the most notable being the 10 cent piece depicting Ngoreru, a local sea god from the Temoto region.
In 1985 bronze-plated steel replaced bronze in the 1 and 2 cents, with nickel-clad steel replacing cupro-nickel in the 20 cents in 1989, and the 5 and 10 cents in 1990. 1988 saw the introduction of 50-cent coins, which were dodecagonal (twelve-sided) and minted in cupro-nickel. The 1988 50-cent was a commemorative piece celebrating the tenth anniversary of independence. Later issues simply depict the national crest. Unlike the lower denominations, the 50-cent and 1 dollar continued to be minted in cupro-nickel rather than clad-steel up until their discontinuation.
With a high national inflation rate, the low-value 1 and 2-cent coins fell out of use, with prices rounded off to the nearest 5 cents instead.
Second coin series:
In 2012 new, smaller coins were introduced in denominations 10, 20, and 50 cents in nickel-plated steel and brass 1, and 2 dollar coins. The minting of the older coins had become too costly, with most of them being more expensive to produce than they were worth. Like the previous issue, these coins were minted by the Royal Australian Mint. The 2 dollar coin replaced the banknote while the 1, 2, and 5 cent coins were discontinued for having face value too low for production or practical use. Most notably, the 1 and 2 dollar coins have a close similarity to the 1 and 2 dollar coins of Australia being of nearly the same thickness, color, and circumference. The interrupted reeding on the edges are also identical to that of their Australian counterparts, however the metallurgical compositions and weights are slightly different and respective denominations are on the opposite sizes.
On 24 October 1977 banknotes were introduced in denominations of 2, 5 and 10 dollars, with 20-dollar notes added on 24 October 1980. The first issues of banknotes depicted Queen Elizabeth II. However, all series issued later had the national crest instead. 50-dollar notes were introduced in 1986, followed by 100-dollar notes in 2006. A polymer two-dollar banknote was issued in 2001 to replace the cotton fibre issue, but the banknote reverted to cotton in the 2006 series.
The 2006 series also saw several new security features, including brighter background colours, a micro-printed holofoil on the 50- and 100-dollar notes, a tapered serial number, and a security thread woven through the note. On 26 September 2013 the Central Bank of the Solomon Islands issued a new 50-dollar note with hybrid security features by printers De La Rue, and announced it to be the first of a series of new banknotes over the course of five years as older notes wore out.
All of the notes depict scenes of traditional daily life and things that are culturally important in the islands, with each note pertaining to a particular theme.
All banknotes are issued by the Central Bank of Solomon Islands.
- Krause, Chester L.; 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.