Where Is Jamaican Money Printed?
Answered by Tracie Shortridge, Associate Writer
If you live here in Jamaica then, like me, you would have been using Jamaican money daily. But did it ever dawned on you where our money originated? Or where it is printed?
Great. I'll take the opportunity to share this with you.
The Early History Of Jamaican Money
The currency of Jamaica is the Jamaican Dollar (JMD/J$) but it was not always like that.
In fact, up until the colonization of Jamaica by the Spaniards, there was never a need for money in Jamaica as the inhabitants of the island, the Tainos, relied on barter for everyday transactions.
They did not know of, nor saw the need for, the use of money.
When the Spaniards came, they traded beads, trinkets and mirrors with the Tainos in the early phase of their colonization until they started to physically abuse the Tainos.
Once the abuse took over, the Spaniards were now in a dominant role and were able to introduce their money to the Tainos and in their trades with other countries.
Since Jamaica served then as the main headquarters for pirates and military forces, it received a lot of coins for payment to afford safe passage to ships traversing the channel.
The Spanish’s currency was called the “real” and was calculated in the formula of eight reals equaling one dollar.
By the time the 19th century came around, the British started inhabiting the island and the topic of currency now became an issue. As such, as at December 31, 1840, an Act was put in place which stated that the currency of Britain should be that of Jamaica resulting in lower denomination copper coins, farthing, half penny, penny and ha’penny with the higher denomination silver coins, three pence, six pence, shilling, florin half crown and crown.
This resulted in the Spanish coins being demonetized with the exception of the doubloon until it was eventually demonetized on April 1, 1901.
Jamaica's First Bank Notes
With the freedom of slaves in 1838, there was a need for ready cash especially for values smaller than ha’penny. So, the first bank notes were issued in the mid-nineteenth century.
These first notes were payable in British pounds, Spanish dollars and local currency.
Then in 1904 the Currency Notes Law was passed giving a Board of Commissioners the task to issue notes called currency notes for the value of 10 shillings each.
This worked for years until 1960 when the Bank of Jamaica Act was formed to give them the sole responsibility to issue notes and coins on the island.
This gave birth to the first notes in May 1961 in the denominations of 5, 10, 1 and 5 pounds. These were in the form of coins were minted by the British Royal Mint put into circulation September 1969.
In 1970 the metallic compositin of the 1 cent was changed to bronze and were printed by Thomas De La Rue Ltd., printers of Jamaican bank notes since 1920.
Current Printers Of Jamaican Money
But effective 2011, De La Rue Ltd. and the Royal Mint were no longer the sole printers and mints for notes and coins, respectively.
So, presently printers of Jamaican notes are De La Rue International Ltd., Giesecke & Devrient Currency Technology GmbH and Oberthur Fiduciaire.
For coins, the Royal Mint (UK), Royal Canadian Mint, Royal Dutch Mint and Mint of Finland are the printers.
Be sure to learn even more about the the currency of Jamaica here
See also: how to travel with money in Jamaica
Posted: April 30 2018
References & Works Cited:
About The Author
A patriotic Jamaican who adore its culture, Wellesley has been using this medium to share what he calls 'the uniqueness of Jamaica with the world' since April 2007.
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