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Inverted anchor cross. A cross with slightly widened ends, with two anchor flukes coming out of the top and curving left and right, also with slightly widened ends.

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Large value in box at right, double lined “A” at left, date below "A" Script: Latin Lettering: ₳ 1989 10

1989 Argentina 10 Australes

A short-lived currency with a new symbol

Large value in box at right, double lined “A” at left, date below "A" Script: Latin Lettering: ₳ 1989 10

Economic history

Argentina has not had the most stable economy, a fact which is reflected in that they have had four different currencies since 1970:

  • Peso ley (1970-1983)
  • Argentine peso (1983-1985)
  • Austral (1985-1991)
  • Peso convertible (1992-date)

Although in fairness, before that, the Peso moneda nacional enjoyed a relatively stable 88 years from 1881 – 1969. Each new currency has been introduced with a value ranging from 100:1 to 10,000:1 of the old currency, due to inflation or hyperinflation. The latter is commonly defined as inflation over 50% per month. The Washington University lists 20 different “Major fiscal and monetary events, 1960–2017“. This included 8 instances of payment or banking crisis or government default, three periods of hyperinflation, and nine seperate plans or attempts to stabilize things.

In any case, I didn’t set out to pick on Argentina. The current Peso, or “Convertible Peso” as it was introduced, has recently turned 30. The name came from the Convertibility Plan, a reform which pegged the Peso to the US dollar to eliminate hyperinflation and stimulate growth. Although the peg was abandoned in 2002, Argentina is more stable than previously, and working with the World Bank on its economy. Argentina has one of the largest economies in Latin America, and vast energy and agricultural resources.

Currency symbols

What I actually wanted to highlight today was the second most recent currency, the Austral. Most Argentinian currencies have used a dollar symbol with one or more letters. The current peso can be written “$1 USD equals approximately $362 ARG”. The Austral introduced its own currency symbol: ₳ (an A with a wider bar than the letter, and a second, equally wide bar above the first). Horizontal (or vertical) bars on currency symbols have been used for a long time. This is believed to be largely so that they create a symbol which is readily identifiable and so mistakes are less likely. There are various theories around the history of the dollar symbol $. Widely believed to originate with the Spanish Peso, although the exact history and original inspiration is less clear. Interestingly one of the clearest explanations of a currency symbol is also one of the oldest. The UK Pound symbol: £ is based on the L from the Latin word Libra, meaning, a pound of money in ancient Rome.


The Austral was the currency in use in Argentina from 1985-1991. If you’d like to compile a type set, there was a 1/2 Centavo in 1985, two different 1 Centavo coins (identical except weight), two 5 Centavos coins (again differ by weight), 10 and 50 Centavos and 1, 5, 10, 100, 500 and 1,000 Austral coins. There was also a non-circulating, silver 1,000 Australes coin for the “Ibero-American Series I” series on the theme “Encounter of Two Worlds”, although it was only coin produced in this series in 1991 before the restructure of the economy.


House of Agreement (Now a National monument) Script: Latin Lettering: REPUBLICA ARGENTINA CASA DEL ACUERDO Translation: Argentine Republic House of Agreement

The obverse of the coin features the “Casa Del Acuerdo”, the “House of Agreement“. This is the building where the San Nicolás Agreement was signed in 1852 between the fourteen Argentine provinces, paving the way for the first Argentine Constitution. Although an important national monument and museum, this is the only coin which has ever depicted the building.

Modern usage

While the Austral currency was demonteised on 1st March 1992, the elegant ₳ symbol has found a new lease of life. It is now the symbol for Cardano’s Ada Cryptocurrency. Please don’t take that as an endorsement in favour or against this cryptocurrency. It is merely passing on the modern use of the symbol. I am wary of cryptocurrency in general as an investment. I also don’t like the terrible environmental impact of blockchain architecture in general. But it is nice to see teh symbol live on.

Large value in box at right, double lined “A” at left, date below "A" Script: Latin Lettering: ₳ 1989 10





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