About the Currency of South Korea
The South Korean ‘won’ is the official currency of South Korea. The symbol of the currency is ₩ and the ISO 4217 code assigned for South Korean won is KRW. The won is subpided into 100 jeon¸ though the subunit jeon is not being used for day-to-day transactions any more.
Currency of South Korea - First South Korean won
The won was in use in unpided Korea since thousand years. The yen replaced the won during colonial era. But after the Second World War¸ Korea was pided into two parts¸ North Korea and South Korea. Both the parts had separate currencies called as North Korean won and South Korean won. The yen was replaced by these two currencies at same level.
The hwan replaced the first South Korean won on 15 February 1953 at a value of 1 hwan = 100 won.
The Bank of Joseon produced 10 and 100 won banknotes in 1946. The 5 and 1000 won notes were released by the bank in 1949. The Bank of Korea¸ the new central bank was founded in 1950 and it started to handle all the duties of Bank of Joseon. The bank released notes in denominations of 5¸ 10 and 50 jeon¸ 100 and 1000 won followed by the release of 500 won notes in 1952. Another series of banknotes was issued in 1953¸ which featured the denominations in English in won but they were actually the first issue of hwan.
Currency of South Korea - Second South Korean won
The currency won was again introduced in 1962 at value of 1 won = 10 hwan. Won became the only official currency in 1975 after the withdrawal of hwan coins¸ which were in circulation earlier. The value of this currency was pegged at 125 won = 1 U.S. dollar.
In 1980¸ efforts were on for leading a floating exchange rate and the won allowed floating in December 1997 after signing an agreement with the International Monetary Fund. But after a shorter period¸ won lost around half of its value because of the financial crisis in East Asian region.
Until the year 1966¸ 10 and 50 hwan coins were revalued as 1 and 5 won. At that time¸ apart from these coins¸ there were no other coins in circulation. In 1966¸ the Bank of Korea introduced new series of coins in denominations of won. The 1¸ 5 and 10 won were struck in brass and 5 and 10 won coins in bronze. These coins displayed the date in the Common Era for the first time. Previously¸ the dates in coins were given as per Korean calendar. Demonetization of 10 and 50 hwan coins happened in the year 1975.
The fundamental value of brass 1 won coin was more than its face value in 1968. Hence a series of new aluminum 1 won coins were released to replace the previous coins. Efforts to lessen the currency production cost were on and in 1970; new 5 won and 10 won coins were released¸ struck in brass. In the same year 100 won coins made up of Cupro-nickel were released and Cupro-nickel 50 won was issued in 1972.
In the year 1982¸ because of inflation and fame of vending machines¸ 500 won notes were released. The year 1983 saw the standardization of coinage with release of a new series in denominations of 1¸ 5¸ 10¸ 50¸ and 100 won coins.
In the year 2006¸ the manufacturing price was 38 won per 10 coins and rumors were also there that people had been making jewelry by melting the coins. Hence the Bank of Korea declared to redesign the coins to make the production cost effective. And the bank released the new coin in December 2006.
The Bank of Korea had issued notes in denominations of 10 and 50 jeon and 1¸ 5¸ 10¸ 50¸ 100 and 500 won in 1962.
In 1965¸ for the first time¸ intaglio printing techniques were used in printing the 100 won notes. The purpose was to minimize counterfeiting. British 500 won notes were replaced in 1966 by using intaglio printing technique too. But in 1969¸ litho-printing was used to print 50 won notes. In 1970¸ the coins replaced the 100 won notes and the same thing happened to 50 won in 1972.
Notes of higher denomination in 5000 won and 10¸000 won were released in 1972 and 1973 respectively. This series of notes had more security features such as security thread¸ watermark and ultraviolet response fiber. Banknotes of new 500 won and 1000 won released in 1973 and 1975 respectively. In 1982¸ a coin replaced the 500 won note.
A new version of 5000 won notes and 10¸ 000 won notes were issued in 1994 and 2002 to deal with the deregulation of color printer importation and the growing use of computers and scanners.
The coins presently in circulation in South Korea are ₩10¸ ₩50¸ ₩100¸ ₩500. Similarly¸ the banknotes currently used in the country are ₩1000¸ ₩5000¸ ₩10000¸ ₩50000.
Currency of South Korea - Official users of South Korean won
People of Republic of Korea are the official user of South Korean won and eng.bok.or.kr is the official website of Bank of Korea¸ where one can find all the details of South Korean won.
Currency of South Korea - Exchange rate of South Korean won
The exchange rate of South Korean won is market determined and it changes according to the economic situation worldwide.
However the exchange rate of the currency as compared with other major countries as of 25th February 2011 is:
1 US Dollar = 1¸128.81 South Korean won
1 United Kingdom Pound = 1¸821.35 South Korean won
1 Euro = 1¸558.76 South Korean won