The colón (named after Christopher Columbus, known as Cristóbal Colón in Spanish) is the currency of Costa Rica. The plural is colones in Spanish, but English-speakers often say colons instead. The ISO 4217 code is CRC.
In 1925, silver 25 centimos coins were introduced. The last government issued coins were brass 10 centimos issued between 1936 and 1941.
The Banco Anglo-Costarricense was established in 1864 and issued notes from 1864 to 1917. It later became a state-owned bank and in 1994 went bankrupt and closed. Notes were issued in denominations of 1, 25, 50, and 100 pesos as well as 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 colones. Some 1, 5, 10 and 20 colones notes (unsigned and undated) were released in 1963 when the bank celebrated its 100th anniversary. Some had Muestra sin Valor ("sample without value") printed on them in order to nullify the legal tender status and to prevent people from selling them. Most, however, didn't have that printed on them, which makes it harder now-a-days to find notes with the seal.
|1 colon, 1917||5 colones, 191x||10 colones, 191x||20 colones, 191x|
The Banco de Costa Rica was established in 1890 and issued notes from 1890 to 1914. It is currently a state-owned bank. Notes were issued in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 100 pesos as well as 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 colones.
|1 peso, 1899||5 colones, 190x||10 colones, 190x||20 colones, 1906|
The Banco Comercial de Costa Rica issued notes between 1906 and 1914 in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 colones. The Banco Mercantil de Costa Rica issued notes between 1910 and 1916, also in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 colones.
|1 colón, 1943||2 colones, 1938||2 colones, 1940||2 colones, 1941||2 colones, 1944||10 colones, 1949|
The Banco Central de Costa Rica began issuing paper money in 1950, with notes for 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 colones. The first notes were provisional issues produced from Banco Nacional notes (unsigned and undated). The Central Bank printed on them the corresponding signatures and dates, and the legend "BANCO CENTRAL DE COSTA RICA" over "BANCO NACIONAL DE COSTA RICA". Regular issues of notes began in 1951, but a second provisional issue of 2 colones notes was made in 1967. 1000 colones notes were added in 1958, followed by 500 colones in 1973, 5000 colones in 1991, and 2000 and 10,000 colones in 1997.
|2 colones, 1967||100 colones, 1954||5 colones, 1972|
|Current Circulating Banknotes|
|1000 colones||Red||Tomás Soley Güell||National Insurance Institute|
|2000 colones||Light Brown||Clodomiro Picado Twight||Hammerhead shark and dolphin|
|5000 colones||Light Blue||Pre-Columbian Sculpture||Toucan, stone sphere, jaguar and local plants|
|10,000 colones||Blue||Emma Gamboa||Jaguar and Puma|
Whenever a banknote of a specific denomination is changed (design, security features, colour, etc), a new series is released. Every banknote issued by this bank measures approximately 6.6cm x 15.5cm. Every note also has the serial and series numbers printed in red ink. Exceptions occurred with:
Every issue also features the signatures, date, and the agreement number printed in black. The 1983 "Z" series of the 20-colón note was an experimental issue of the American Banknote Company which made the notes out of a polymer. To date, this has been the only Costa Rican note made of that material.
In 2010, Costa Rican banknotes will undergo a reform and be replaced by a new model. Two new denominations will be introduced; 20,000 and 50,000 colones. The current notes will all be destroyed and replaced by new ones. The new banknotes will have different colors, shapes and images than their predecessors. All the denominations will have a different length so that blind people can also recognize the banknotes. This is expected to occur in the first trimester of 2010, and currently discussions are being held on the color, image, shape, material and security measures for the new banknotes.
Since October 17, 2006 the colón is no longer bound to controlled devaluations (known in Costa Rica as minidevaluaciones) by the Central Bank of Costa Rica. With the new system, sistema cambiario de bandas, the exchange rates posted by the Central Bank are a "reference" and each authorized financial institution can determine their value independently in hopes that the free market will provide a mechanism to keep them reasonable.
Teja (roof tile) is used as a slang term, which means 100 colones, therefore the 500 colones coins are called 5 tejas and the 50 colones coin is referred as "media Teja" (half roof tile)
The 1,000 colones note is called "1 rojo" (1 red) due to it being red colored
The 5,000 colones note is called tucán (toucan), referring to the image of a toucan, also it's called as "5 Rojos" (5 Reds). This also applies for any amount that are multiples for a Thousand Colones up to 99, like "99 Rojos" which is "99 000 Colones" (99 Thousand Colones).