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A currency sign is a graphic symbol often used as a shorthand for a currency's name. Internationally, ISO 4217 codes are used instead of currency signs, though currency signs may be in common use in their respective countries. Most currencies in the world have no specific symbol.

Having a currency sign has now become form of status symbol for international currencies; in 2009 Indiamarker launched a public competition to find a sign for its Rupee (currently, their symbol is just Rs.). The European Commissionmarker considers part of the success of the euro was the global recognition of the euro sign.


When writing currency amounts the location of the sign varies by currency. Many currencies, especially in Latin America and the English-speaking world, place it before the amount (e.g., £50.00); many others place it after the amount (e.g., 50.00 S₣); and, before they were abolished, the sign for the Portuguese escudo and the French franc were placed in the decimal position (i.e., 50$00 or 12₣34). The standardized European default placement, used in absence of a national standard, is that (€) is placed before the amount. However, many Eurozone countries have sustained or generated alternative conventions.

The decimal separator can also take local countries' standards. For instance, the United Kingdom often uses a middle dot as the decimal point on price stickers (e.g., '£5·52'), although not in print. A comma (e.g., '5,00 €') is a common separator used in other countries. See decimal separator for information on international standards.


Older currency signs have evolved slowly, often from previous currencies. The dollar/peso sign is believed to originate from the Spanish dollar, perhaps as an 8 denoting a piece of eight, whereas the pound/lira sign has evolved from an L, standing for librum, the Latin word for weight. Newly invented currencies, and currencies adopting new signs, have symbolism closer to their adopter. The euro sign symbolises European civilisation, Europe and stability while India is looking for a sign which is symbolic also of Indian culture.

There are also other considerations, such as the perception of the business community (the euro has two lines symbolising stability) and how the sign is rendered on computers. For a new symbol to be used, software to render it needs to be updated, and keyboards need to be altered or a shortcut added to type the icon. The EU was criticised for not considering how the euro sign was to be displayed (it is also exceptionally wide, meaning most displays of it are altered versions with reduced width).


Currency symbols in use .

Formerly used currency signs

See also


  1. Westcott, K. (2009) India seeks rupee status symbol, BBC 10 March 2009, accessed 1 September 2009

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