The legal tender of the Solomon Islands is known as the Solomon Islands dollar. The currency ISO code is SBD and it is denoted as SI$.1$ is made up of 100 subunits called cents. It is issued by the country’s central bank.
Before World War II, the country sometimes used its own pound, although the Australian pound was more widely used. During the Japanese invasion, the official currency of the country was the Oceanian pound. After the war, the pound was reinstated and was used until 1966 when it was replaced by the dollar of Australia. When the country became independent in 1977, it started issuing its own dollar to replace that of Australia at parity.
Both dollars were equal in value until 1979. However, due to economic standstill and civil war that ensued in the country between 2000 and 2003, 1 SBD was equal to 15 Australian cents in 2007.
Why is the Currency Considered Half a Pound?
Unlike the US and Canadian dollars, the Islands’ dollar originated from the dollar of Australia whose value is equated to half of the Great Britain’s sterling pound. The country however decided to call their currency dollar since its value was closer to that of the American dollar than it was to the pound of Great Britain.
Minting of the Islands’ coins is done by the Royal Australian Mint. The country has had two series of coins. The first series was issued in 1977. There were 1 dollar coins and cents coins with values of 20, 10, 5, 2, and 1 cent. They were similar to the Australian coins of similar values and they featured significant symbols of the Islands. The 50 cent coin was introduced in 1988. Later, 2 and 1 cent coins were phased out due to inflation.
The second series was issued in 2012 and the coins were smaller than those of the previous series in a bid to reduce the minting cost. The new coins have values of 50, 20 and 10 cents and they also have 1 and 2 dollar coins. They bear Queen Elizabeth II portrait as the head of state.
The series introduced in 1977 were in values of 10, 5 and 2 dollars. 1980 saw the introduction of 20 dollar bills. Notes of 50 dollars were issued in 1986 and 100 dollar bills in 2006. Starting from 2006, several security characters are featured on the banknotes. The 100 and 50 dollar banknotes, for example, have micro-printed holographic foils, tapered serial numbers, woven security threads and brighter colours in the background. They are printed by De La Rue and issued by the Islands’ Central Bank.