|1 Monegasque franc 1978|
The franc is the name of several currency units, most notably the French franc, the currency of France until it adopted the euro in 1999 (by law, 2002 de facto), and the Swiss franc, still a major world currency today due to the prominence of Swiss financial institutions. The name is said to derive from the Latin inscription francorum rex ("King of the Franks") on early French coins, or from the French franc, meaning "free" (and "frank").
The countries that use francs include Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and most of the Francophone countries of Africa. Before the introduction of the euro, francs were also used in France, Belgium and Luxembourg, while Andorra and Monaco accepted the French franc as legal tender (Monegasque franc). The Franc was also used within the French Empire's colonies, including Algeria and Cambodia. The franc is sometimes italianised or hispanicised as the Franco, for instance in Luccan Franco.
One franc is typically divided into 100 centimes. The French franc symbol was an F with a line through it (₣).
The value of the French franc was locked to the euro at 1 euro = 6.55957 FRF on 1998-12-31, and after the introduction of the euro notes and coins, ceased to be legal tender after 2002-02-28 (although still exchangeable at banks).
In 1865, France, Belgium, Switzerland and Italy created the Latin Monetary Union (to be joined by Greece in 1868): each would possess a national currency unit (franc, lira, drachma) worth 4.5 g of silver or 0.290 322 g of gold (fine), all freely exchangeable at a rate of 1:1. In the 1870s the gold value was made the fixed standard, a situation which was to continue until 1914.
In 1926 Belgium as well as France experienced depreciation and an abrupt collapse of confidence, leading to the introduction of a new gold currency for international transactions, the belga of 5 francs, and the country's withdrawal from the monetary union, which ceased to exist at the end of the year. The 1921 monetary union of Belgium and Luxembourg survived, however, forming the basis for full economic union in 1932.
Like the French franc, the Belgian/Luxemburgese franc ceased to exist in January 1, 1999, when it became fixed at 1 EUR= 40.3399 BEF/LUF, thus a franc was worth €0.024789. Old franc coins and notes lost their legal tender status in February 28, 2002.
1 Luxembourg franc was equal to 1 Belgian franc. Belgian francs were legal tender inside Luxembourg, and Luxembourg francs were legal tender in Belgium.
The equivalent name of the Belgian franc in Dutch, Belgium's other official language, was "Belgische Frank."
The name of the country "Swiss Confederation" is found on some of the coins in Latin (Confoederatio Helvetica), as Switzerland has four official languages, all of which are used on the notes. The denomination is abbreviated "Fr" on the coins which is the abbreviation in all four languages.
Franc-ly speaking: the recent weakness of the Swiss franc is a window of opportunity to invest for the medium to long term, says Julius Baer's chief economist.(MONEY)
Apr 01, 2007; As we have seen it slip and, in recent weeks, hit an eight-year low when compared with the euro, it may seem that the Swiss...