The bolívar fuerte replaced the bolívar (plural: bolívares, ISO 4217 code: VEB; locally abbreviated as Bs.) at the rate of 1 Bs.F = 1000 Bs. due to inflation. The old bolívar was the currency of Venezuela between 1879 and 2007. It was also subdivided into 100 céntimos.
See Currency of Venezuela for a summary of Venezuelan monetary history.
The government announced on March 7 2007 that the bolívar would be revalued at a ratio of 1 to 1000 on January 1 2008 and renamed the bolívar fuerte (ISO 4217 code: VEF), in an effort to facilitate the ease of transaction and accounting. The new name is literally translated as "strong bolívar", but also references an old coin called the Peso fuerte worth 10 Spanish reales..
The name "bolívar fuerte" is only used temporarily to distinguish it from the older currency that will be used along with the bolívar fuerte until 2009.
Despite such campaigns, as of February 2008, the black market value of the bolívar fuerte hovers at around 5.2 to the U.S. dollar, less than half of the fixed exchange rate of 2.15. It is unlawful to publish this statistic in Venezuela.
In 1912, production of gold coins ceased, whilst, in 1936, production of the 5 bolívares ended. In 1965, nickel replaced silver in the 25 and 50 céntimos, with the same happening to the 1 and 2 bolívares in 1967. In 1971, cupro-nickel 10 céntimo coins were issued, the 12½ céntimos having last been issued in 1958. A nickel 5 bolívares was introduced in 1973. Clad steel (first copper, then nickel and cupro-nickel) was used for the 5 céntimos from 1974. Nickel clad steel was introduced for all denominations from 25 céntimos up to 5 bolívares in 1989.
In 1998, after a period of high inflation, a new coinage was introduced consisting of 10, 20, 50, 100 and 500 bolívar denominations.
The former coins were:
All the coins had the same design. On the obverse is depicted the left profile of the Libertador Simón Bolívar, together with the inscription "Bolívar Libertador", within a heptagon, symbolizing the seven stars of the flag. On the reverse is depicted the coat of arms, circled by the official name of the country, with the date and the denomination below. In 2001, the reverse design was changed, putting the denomination of the coin at the right of the shield of the coat of arms, semicircled by the official name of the country and the year of its emission below.
As inflation took hold, higher denominations of banknotes were introduced: 1000 bolívares in 1991, 2000 and 5000 bolívares in 1994, and 10,000, 20,000 and 50,000 bolívares in 1998. The first 20,000 banknotes were made in a green color similar to the one of the 2,000 banknotes, which caused confusion, and new banknotes were made in the new olive green color.
The following is a list of a former Venezuelan bolívar banknotes.
|Pre-1998 series banknotes (from various series)|
|500 bolívares||1981||Simón Bolívar||A branch of orchids|
|1000 bolívares||1991||Simón Bolívar||Signing of the Venezuelan Declaration of Independence|
|2000 bolívares||1994||Antonio José de Sucre||The Battle of Junín|
|5000 bolívares||1994||Simón Bolívar and his coat of arms||A reproduction of the painting El 19 de Abril de 1810 by Juan Lovera|
|1000 bolívares||1998||Simón Bolívar||A branch of orchids, the Cerro El Ávila, and the Panteón Nacional|
|2000 bolívares||1998||Andrés Bello||A picture of frailejones and a view of the Pico Bolívar|
|5000 bolívares||2000||Francisco de Miranda||Picture of two angelfishes and a panorama of the Guri Dam.|
|10,000 bolívares||2000||Antonio José de Sucre||A Marpesia petreus butterfly and the Supreme Tribunal of Justice|
|20,000 bolívares||2000||Simón Rodríguez and the Angel Falls in the background||A Blue-and-yellow Macaw and the Angel Falls|
|50,000 bolívares||1998||José María Vargas||The Student's Square in the Ciudad Universitaria and the clock in it|
|2 bolívares||2008||Francisco de Miranda||Orinoco River Dolphins with Coro Dunes in background|
|5 bolívares||2008||Pedro Camejo||Giant Armadillo with plains in background|
|10 bolívares||2008||Cacique Guaicaipuro||American Harpy Eagle with Ucaima Falls in background|
|20 bolívares||2008||Luisa Cáceres de Arismendi||Hawksbill turtle with Macanao Mountain in background|
|50 bolívares||2008||Simón Rodríguez||Spectacled Bear with Laguna Santo Cristo in background|
|100 bolívares||2008||Simón Bolívar||Red Siskin with Cerro El Ávila in background|