Press release: Gibraltar’s Currency & Banknotes 1898-2011


Gibraltar’s Currency & Banknotes 1898-2011
by Richard J. M. Garcia, 109 pages, soft cover, 250 x 150 mm, color illustrations, English, ISBN 978-1-919663-09-8, US$24.95 (airmail postage included),

Richard Garcia’s latest book addresses a topic that has never hitherto been studied, that of money in Gibraltar from 1898 to 2011. The choice of dates was deliberate. Gibraltar adopted sterling currency as the only legal tender in Gibraltar in 1898. It was in 2011 that the Gibraltar Government assumed sole responsibility for the design, printing and production of banknotes, taking over responsibilities that until then had been the preserve of a Secretary of State in England. A lot happened in between.

The book is not just about banknotes: it sets out to place Gibraltar’s currency in a social history context, looking at how Gibraltar was changing and developing and how these changes were reflected by our banknotes and coinage. It is the fruit of research in the Government Archives and in the Treasury. It explores a number of areas including:

  • Why Gibraltar adopted sterling currency in 1898. The accepted reason for this has hitherto been that it was the result of the inflation which accompanied the war of 1898 between Spain and the United States. This was not, in fact, the case.
  • Why Gibraltar chose to issue banknotes in 1914, at the time of the outbreak of World War I, and the procedure that was followed in arriving at the design of the banknotes and printing them, without previously having consulted London.
  • The financial crisis that arose on the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936.
  • What happened in Gibraltar during World War II in terms of demand for currency notes in the light of the evacuation, the feared invasion of Gibraltar, and the build-up of troops in Gibraltar.
  • The impact of the Spanish blockade of the 1960s and the eventual closure by Spain of the land frontier with Gibraltar and the withdrawal of Spanish labour.
  • The introduction of decimal currency in 1971.
  • The introduction of Gibraltar circulating coins.
  • The reasons for the subsequent issue of higher denomination currency notes.

There are 52 colour illustrations in the book. The design of the front and back of every design used for a Gibraltar banknote is depicted, including the rare notes of 1914. There is also a complete listing of all 73 currency notes issued by Gibraltar, indicating the date of issue of the note and the signature on it.

The book is a companion to the article written by Richard Garcia and which was published in the Gibraltar Heritage Trust journal, tracing Gibraltar’s currency from 1704 to 1872, when Spanish currency was adopted as Gibraltar’s only legal tender.

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