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The peseta (ISO 4217 code: ESP, standard abbreviation: Pta., Pts., or Ptas., symbol: ₧ (rare)) was the currency of Spainmarker between 1869 and 2002. Along with the French franc, it was also a de facto currency used in Andorramarker (which had no national currency with legal tender). It was subdivided into 100 céntimos or, informally, 4 reales, but these subunits were completely out of circulation by the 1970s.


The name is believed to have been derived from the Catalan word "peceta", meaning "little piece" (i.e., the diminutive of "peça", "-eta" being the usual feminine diminutive) . However, it is also possible that the name is the diminutive of "peso", an already-existing currency whose name derives from a unit of weight; this is consistent with such other currencies as the British pound. "Peseta" is also the term used in Puerto Rico for a U.S. quarter-dollar coin.


The peseta was introduced in 1869 after Spainmarker joined the Latin Monetary Union in 1868. The Spanish Law of June 26, 1864 decreed that in preparation for joining the Latin Monetary Union (set up in 1865), the peseta became a subdivision of the peso with 1 peso duro = 5 pesetas. The peseta replaced the escudo at a rate of 5 pesetas = 1 peso duro = 2 escudos.

The peseta was equal to 4.5 grams of silver, or 0.290322 gram of gold, the standard used by all the currencies of the Latin Monetary Union. From 1873, only the gold standard applied.

The political turbulence of the early twentieth century caused the monetary union to break up, although it was not until 1927 that it officially ended.

In 1959, Spain became part of the Bretton Woods Systemmarker, pegging the peseta at a value of 60 pesetas = 1 U.S. dollar. In 1967, the peseta followed the devaluation of the British pound, maintaining the exchange rate of 168 pesetas = 1 pound and establishing a new rate of 70 pesetas = 1 U.S. dollar.

The peseta was replaced by the euro in 2002, following the establishment of the euro in 1999. The exchange rate was 1 euro = 166.386 pesetas.


In 1869 and 1870, coins were introduced in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10 and 50 céntimos, 1, 2 and 5 pesetas. The lowest four denominations were struck in copper (replaced by bronze from 1877), with the 50 céntimos, 1 and 2 pesetas struck in .835 silver and the 5 pesetas struck in .900 silver. Gold 25 pesetas coins were introduced in 1876, followed by 20 pesetas in 1878. In 1889, 20 pesetas coins were introduced, with production of the 25 pesetas ceasing. In 1897, a single issue of gold 100 pesetas was made. Production of gold coins ceased in 1904, followed by that of silver coins in 1910. The last bronze coins were issued in 1912.

Coin production resumed in 1925 with the introduction of cupro-nickel 25 céntimos. In 1926, a final issue of silver 50 céntimos was made, followed by the introduction of a holed version of the 25 céntimos in 1927.

In 1934, the Second Spanish Republic issued coins for 25 and 50 céntimos and 1 peseta. The 25 céntimos and silver 1 peseta were the same size and composition as the earlier Royal issues, whilst the 50 céntimos was struck in copper. In 1937, an iron 5 céntimos coins was introduced along with a brass 1 peseta. The last Republican issue was a holed, copper 25 céntimos in 1938.

During the Civil War, a number of local coinages were issued by both Republican and Nationalist forces. In 1936, the following pieces were issued by the Nationalists:

District Denominations
Cazalla de Sierra 10 céntimos
Arahalmarker 50 céntimos, 1, 2 pesetas
Lora del Riomarker 25 céntimos
Marchena 25 céntimos
La Puebla de Cazalla 10, 25 céntimos

The following issues were made by Republican forces in 1937:

District Denominations
Arenys de Marmarker 50 céntimos, 1 peseta
Asturiasmarker and Leonmarker 50 céntimos, 1, 2 pesetas
Euskadimarker 1, 2 pesetas
Ibimarker 25 céntimos, 1 peseta
L'Ametlla del Vallès 25, 50 céntimos, 1 peseta
Menorcamarker 5, 10, 25 céntimos, 1, 2½ pesetas
Nulles 5, 10, 25, 50 céntimos, 1 peseta
Olotmarker 10 céntimos
Santandermarker, Palenciamarker and Burgosmarker 50 céntimos, 1 peseta
Segarra de Gaià 1 peseta

The Nationalists issued their first national coins in 1937. These were holed, cupro-nickel 25 céntimos minted in Viennamarker. Following the end of the Civil War, the Nationalist government introduced aluminium 5 and 10 céntimos in 1940, followed by aluminium-bronze 1 peseta coins in 1944.

In 1948, the first 1 peseta coins bearing the portrait of Francisco Franco were issued. Nickel 5 pesetas followed in 1949. In 1951, holed, cupro-nickel 50 céntimos were introduced, followed by aluminium-bronze 2½ pesetas in 1954, cupro-nickel 25 and 50 pesetas in 1958 and smaller aluminium 10 céntimos in 1959. Silver 100 pesetas were issued between 1966 and 1969, with aluminium 50 céntimos introduced in 1967.

Following the accession of King Juan Carlos, the only change to the coinage was the introduction of cupro-nickel 100 pesetas in 1976. However, more significant changes occurred in 1982. The 50 céntimos was discontinued, with aluminium 1 and 2 pesetas and aluminium-bronze 100 pesetas introduced. Cupro-nickel 10 pesetas were introduced in 1983. Cupro-nickel 200 pesetas were introduced in 1986, followed by aluminium-cupro-nickel 500 pesetas in 1987. In 1989, the size of the 1 peseta coin was significantly reduced and aluminium bronze 5 pesetas were introduced. Nickel-bronze 25 pesetas and smaller 50 pesetas were introduced in 1990, along with larger 200 pesetas.

Until 19 June 2001, the following coins were minted by the Spanish Fábrica Nacional de Moneda y Timbre:
Value € equiv. Diameter Weight Composition
1 ₧ 0.006 (0.01) 14 mm 0.55 g Aluminium
5 ₧ 0.03 17.5 mm 3 g Aluminium bronze
10 ₧ 0.06 18.5 mm 3 g Cupronickel
25 ₧ 0.15 19.5 mm 4.25 g Aluminium bronze
50 ₧ 0.30 20.5 mm 5.60 g Cupronickel
100 ₧ 0.60 24.5 mm 9.25 g Aluminium bronze
200 ₧ 1.20 25.5 mm 10.5 g Cupronickel
500 ₧ 3.01 28 mm 12 gr Aluminium bronze

The 50 pesetas coins issued between 1990 and 2000 were the first that featured the Spanish flower shape.
Spanish flower


In 1874, the Banco de Españamarker introduced notes for 25, 50, 100, 500 and 1000 pesetas. Except for the 250 pesetas notes only issued in 1878, the denominations produced by the Banco de España did not change until the Civil War, when both the Republicans and Nationalists issued Banco de España notes.

In 1936, the Republicans issued 5 and 10 pesetas notes. The Ministry of Finance (Ministerio de Hacienda) introduced notes for 50 céntimos, 1 and 2 pesetas in 1938, as well as issuing stamp money (consisting of postage or revenue stamps affixed to cardboard disks) in denominations of 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 40, 45, 50 and 60 céntimos.

The first Nationalist Banco de España issues were made in 1936, in denominations of 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, 500 and 1000 pesetas. 1 and 2 pesetas notes were added in 1937. From the mid 1940s, denominations issued were 1, 5, 25, 50, 100, 500 and 1000 pesetas. The 1, 5, 25 and 50 pesetas were all replaced by coins by the late 1950s.

In 1978, 5000 pesetas notes were introduced. The 100 pesetas note was replaced by a coin in 1982, with 2000 pesetas notes introduced in 1983, 200 pesetas in 1984 and 10,000 pesetas in 1987. The 200 and 500 pesetas notes were replaced by coins in 1986 and 1987.

The penultimate series of banknotes was introduced between 1982 and 1987 and remained legal tender until the introduction of the euro.

Value € equiv. Dimensions Colour Portrait
200 ₧ 1.20 120 × 65 mm Orange Leopoldo Alas
500 ₧ 3.01 129 × 70 mm Dark blue Rosalía de Castro
1 000 ₧ 6.01 138 × 75 mm Green Benito Pérez Galdós
2 000 ₧ 12.02 147 × 80 mm Red Juan Ramón Jiménez
5 000 ₧ 30.05 156 × 85 mm Brown Juan Carlos I of Spain
10 000 ₧ 60.10 165 × 85 mm Gray Juan Carlos I of Spain and Felipe, Prince of Asturias

The last banknotes series (1992) was:

Value € equiv. Dimensions Colour Portrait
1 000 ₧ 6.01 130 × 65 mm Green Hernán Cortés and Francisco Pizarro
2 000 ₧ 12.02 138 × 68 mm Red José Celestino Mutis
5 000 ₧ 30.05 146 × 71 mm Brown Christopher Columbus
10 000 ₧ 60.10 154 × 74 mm Gray Juan Carlos I of Spain and Jorge Juan y Santacilia

Andorran peseta

The Andorran peseta (ADP) was a 1:1 peg to the Spanish peseta. As Andorramarker used coins and banknotes from Spain, there was no separate Andorran peseta, and they were convertible into normal pesetas.

After the euro

The peseta was replaced by the euro (€) in 1999 on currency exchange boards. Euro coins and notes were introduced in January 2002, and on March 1, 2002, the peseta lost its legal tender status in Spain (also in Andorra). The exchange rate was 1 euro = 166.386 ESP

Peseta notes and coins that were legal tender on December 31, 2001, remain exchangeable indefinitely at any branch of the central bankmarker.


Traditionally, there was never a single symbol nor special character for the Spanish peseta. Common abbreviations were "Pt", "Pta", "Pts" and "Ptas", and even using superior letters: "Ptas".

Common earlier Spanish models of mechanic typewriter had the expression "Pts" in a single type (₧), as a shorthand intended to fill a single type space () in tables instead of three (Pts).

Later, Spanish models of IBM electric typewriter also included the same type in its repertoire.

When the first IBM PC was designed circa 1980, it included a "peseta symbol" ₧ in the ROM of the Monochrome Display Adapter (MDA) and Color Graphics Adapter (CGA) video output cards' hardware, with the code number 158. This original character set chart becomes later the MS-DOS code page 437.

Some spreadsheet software for PC under MS-DOS, as Lotus 1-2-3, employed this character as the peseta symbol in their Spanish editions.

Subsequent international MS-DOS code pages, like code page 850 and others, deprecated this character in favour of some other national characters, so the "peseta symbol" life was brief.

In order to guarantee the interchange with previous encodings (namely, the code page 437 in this case), the international standard Unicode includes this character as U+20A7 PESETA SIGN in its Currency Symbols block. Out of that, the use of the "peseta symbol" standalone is extremely rare, and it is outdated since the adoption of the euro in Spain.

See also


  1. Its possible etymology in a Catalan dictionary. Translation: maybe from peceta, diminutive of peça, that may pass to Castilian peseta (official in 1868), or Castilian diminutive of peso that means 'pound' with Catalan- or French-like ending -eta]


External links

Related articles

  1. 1999 by law (on financial markets and business transactions only), two currency units used (the Spanish peseta still had legal tender on all banknotes, coins and personnal bank accounts) until 2002.

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