The Hong Kong Dollar is the curreny for the sovereign city of Hong Kong. It is also widely used in Macau and in mainland China even though it is not an ofical currency there.
Ever since 1841, when Hong Kong was established as a vital trading port to the world, there have been coins and bank notes in circulation. Truth be told though, that it was always foreign currency, like Spanish, Mexican and of course, Chinese money. In 1866 the British set up the Hong Kong Mint, but because China did not like the coins, the mint was closed down less then 2 years later. Only in 1935 did the Hong Kong Dollar came in to "real" existence as there was a value put on the HK$ of around 15 to 16 Pounds Sterling.
During the Second War War the only legal tender in Hong Kong was the Japanse Yen. Straaight after the war it was back to the HK$ at 16 HK$ to every Pound Sterling. Because of the devaluation of the English Pound, this was lowered in the 1967 to 14.55HK$. In 1972 it became linked to the US$ and has been ever since. The rates have changed from around 5.5HK$ to 1US to about 7.85HK$ for every US$. the current rate is not very fluctuating as the HKMA has set limits from 7.70 to 7.85 HK$ per 1US$.
Because of the political uproar over the last decade or so, Hong Kong has given its coin a non political theme. Currently the Bauhinia Blakeana is featured heavely on the coins and the portraits of Queen Elizabeth are slowly phased out, although they can still be used as a legal payment method. Currently there are 7 coins in circulation. At this current time they are 10c, 20c, 50c, $1,$2,$5 and $10. The last coin only came into existence in 1994 as the banks where not issuing $10 bank notes anymore. This has since been rectified, as the experiment did not work, and now the Hong Kong Monetary Authority is isuing the $10 bank notes again. The current $10 coin has a strong resemblance in look to the Euro coins.
There are 6 banknotes currently in circulation. They are the already mentioned $10, the $20, $50, $100, $500 and $1000 notes. In 2011 there is going to be a new issue of banknotes, which will mean that the current crop of banknotes will slowly be phased out. the new banknotes will be easier to recognise for people whoe visually impaired and they will also have higher security levels than the current crop of bank notes. Even though there is hardly any counterfeit money in circulation in Hong Kong (1 counterfeit note per 1million notes in circulation) these new messures will make the HK$ even more hard to counterfeit.
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