Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Guatemalan Quetzal Currency

Guatemalan quetzal

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Guatemalan quetzal
quetzal guatemalteco (Spanish)
ISO 4217 CodeGTQ
User(s) Guatemala
SourceBanco de Guatemala , September 2008.
Coins1 centavo, 5, 10, 25, 50 centavos, 1 quetzal
Banknotes1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 quetzales
Central bankBanco de Guatemala
The quetzal (ISO 4217 code: GTQ) is the currency of Guatemala. It is named after the national bird of Guatemala, the Resplendent Quetzal and is divided into 100 cents (centavos in legal Spanish or lenes in Guatemalan slang). The plural can be either quetzales (as it is in Spanish) or quetzals (in a slightly anglicised form). In ancient Mayanculture, the quetzal bird's tail feathers were used as currency.




The quetzal was introduced in 1925 during the term of President José María Orellana, whose image appears on the obverse of the one-quetzal bill. It replaced the peso. Until 1987, the quetzal was pegged to and domestically equal to the United States dollar and before the pegging to the US dollar, it was pegged to the French franc as well, since it (the Guatemalan quetzal) utilized the gold standard.


Quetzal (coins)
In 1925, coins in denominations of 1, 5, 10 centavos, ¼, ½ and 1 quetzal were introduced, although the majority of the 1 quetzal coins were withdrawn from circulation and melted. ½ and 2 centavos coins were added in 1932. Until 1965, coins of 5 centavos and above were minted in 72% silver. ½ and 1 quetzal coins were reintroduced in 1998 and 1999, respectively. Coins currently in circulation are [1]
  • 1 centavo
  • 5 centavos
  • 10 centavos
  • 25 centavos
  • 50 centavos
  • 1 quetzal


The first banknotes were issued by the Central Bank of Guatemala in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 100 quetzales, with ½ quetzal notes added in 1933. In 1946, the Bank of Guatemala took over the issuance of paper money, with its first issues being overprints on notes of the Central Bank. Except for the introduction of 50 quetzales notes in 1967, the denominations of banknotes were unchanged until ½ and 1 quetzal coins replaced notes at the end of the 1990s.
Banknotes in Circulation [2]
ImageValueMain ColourDescriptionRemark
GuatemalanBanknoteQ050BothSides.jpgQ0.50BrownTecún Umán, Prince and Commander-and-Chief of the Quiche Realm during the Spanish Conquest.Tikal's Temple INot in circulation but still recognized
GuatemalanBanknoteQ100BothSides.jpgQ1GreenJosé María Orellana, President of Guatemala during the Currency Reform that introduced the Quetzal as the official currency.Main building of the Central Bank of GuatemalaReintroduced as a polymer banknoteon August 20, 2007
GuatemalanBanknoteQ00500BothSides.jpgQ5VioletJusto Rufino Barrios, Co-Leader of the Liberal Revolution of 1871.Education allegory
GuatemalanBanknoteQ01000BothSides.jpgQ10RedMiguel García Granados, Deputy and Main Leader of the Liberal Revolution of 1871.Picture from the Guatemalan National Assembly of 1872
GuatemalanBanknoteQ02000BothSides.jpgQ20BlueMariano Gálvez, State Leader of the State of Guatemala, within the United Provinces of Central America.Signing of the declaration of Central American independence
GuatemalanBanknoteQ05000BothSides.jpgQ50OrangeCarlos Zachrisson, Former finance minister from 1923 to 1926Allegory of the importance of coffee to the country
GuatemalanBanknoteQ10000BothSides.jpgQ100SepiaFrancisco Marroquín, First Bishop of the Realm of Goathemala, and Founder of theUniversidad de San Carlos de GuatemalaFirst university building in Antigua Guatemala
For table standards, see the banknote specification table.
The Bank of Guatemala has briefly introduced a polymer banknote of 1 quetzal on August 20, 2007.
The introduction of banknotes in the denominations of 200, 500 and 1000 quetzals is still pending congress's approval.[1] The design of the new bank notes are presumed to be [2]:
  • The 200 quetzales bill main theme in the reverse will be the marimba, as the national instrument. In the oberse it will contain the images of three Guatemalan mucisians: German Alcántara, Mariano Valverde, and Sebastián Hurtado. The dominant color will be aqua. - According to the Banco de Guatemala, this bill will begin circulation at november of 2009 [3]
  • The 500 quetzales bill main theme in the reverse will be an allegory of the Mayan myth of creation from the Popol Vuh and Guatemalan literature, while in the oberse the image of Miguel Ángel Asturias will be found. The dominant color will be gray.
  • The 1000 quetzales bill main theme in the reverse will be an allegory of the Guatemalan roots. The oberse will contain the images of four people belonging to Guatemalan races, LadinoMayan representing 21 of the Amerindian ethnic groups, Garifuna, and Xinca. The dominant color will be ocre.

Current GTQ exchange rates