Slideshow July/August 2009

Currency Exchange

Michael Bierut analyzes the world’s best and worst banknote designs

South Africa / 100 Rand, 2005

If delighting children is a worthwhile goal for currency design—and I think it should be—then it's hard to beat the money of South Africa. Each note features one of the "big five" African wildlife species: rhinoceros, elephant, lion, buffalo, and leopard. If you need a last-minute souvenir when departing from Johannesburg Airport, stay out of the gift shops. That 20 Rand note in your wallet, elephant rampant, will do just fine.

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