What is the Currency of Jamaica?

By Sharon Omondi on August 1 2017 in Economics

Jamaican dollar coins.

What is the Currency of Jamaica?

The currency of Jamaica is the Jamaican dollar. The Jamaican dollar is abbreviated as "J$”. The letter J serves the purpose of differentiating the Jamaican dollar from other dollar-dominated currencies. The international code of the Jamaican dollar is JMD. It exists in the denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, 1000, and 5000 dollars. Jamaican currency banknotes are printed by the De La Rue Currency Company in England. The coins are minted by the British Royal Mint Company. The body which circulates the Jamaican dollar is the Bank of Jamaica.

History of the Jamaican Dollar

Jamaica used the sterling pound before adopting the Jamaican dollar in 1969. Subsequently, sterling pounds were exchanged for Jamaican dollars at a rate of 1 pound to 2 dollars. The dollar currency was introduced by a majority vote of members of the House of Representatives who wanted to change the currency into a decimal system. In 1960, the Bank of Jamaica was officially given the responsibility of producing banknotes and coins. Consequently, by 1969, the banknotes and coins were circulating in the economy.

Jamaican Coins

Jamaican sterling pound coins were introduced in 1840. The first coins came in denominations of 5/-, 10/-, 1, and 5 pounds, and were struck in copper, gold, and cupronickel. The Jamaican dollar coins were introduced and circulated in 1969. Since then, they have taken various forms such as decagonal, seven sided and round shapes used in 1976, 1991, and 1994, respectively. The Jamaican dollar coins are uniquely designed so that the coat of arms appears in front of every coin. On the reverse side, portraits of Jamaican national heroes such as Marcus Garvey and the common national fruit called ackee can be found.

Jamaican Banknote Issues

Jamaican dollar banknotes were introduced in 1969. The first notes came in denominations of 50 cents, 1, 2, and 10 dollars. Then in 1970, a 5 dollar banknote was introduced, followed by a 20 dollar note in 1976. In 1986 and 1988, the 50 and 100 dollar notes were issued, respectively. Six years after its introduction, the 2 dollar note was dropped. The 500 dollar note were established in 1994, and in 1999 the 20 dollar coins were replaced by notes. In addition to these changes, the 1, 5, and 10 dollar notes were replaced by coins in 1990, 1994, and 1999, respectively. There was also the introduction of a 1000 banknote in 1999. Some features of the Jamaican dollar banknote include distinct watermarks, unique serial numbers, and portraits of national heroes, like Samuel Sharpe. Other features on the notes are Doctor’s Cave Beach, Jamaica House, Dunn’s River Falls, and Montego Bay.

Exchange Rate of Jamaican Dollar and US Dollar

As of June 29, 2017, 1 US dollar could be exchanged for 128.4862 Jamaican dollars in the foreign exchange market.

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