The symbol of the American dollar
The official currency of the fifty states that make up the United States of America is the dollar. The symbol of said currency is a capital letter traversed by a vertical line, which is “$”.
There are two versions about the origin of this symbol, and both have Spain as a point of origin. On the one hand, it is said to come from the abbreviation Ps, letters that referred to the Spanish pesos or ‘piece of eight’, a currency which was widespread in North America in the 18th century. According to this version, the symbol of the dollar would be the spelling of these two letters on top of one another, because the Spanish currency was used as a measure of equivalence. On the other hand, some documents claim that the figure comes from the Columns of Hercules that symbolise the Strait of Gibraltar. In the past, the image of the dollar had two parallel lines instead of one. Those two bars on the letter that uppercase would represent the columns with the band that surrounds them, in which the legend Plus Ultra is read, which means “beyond”, the motto of King Carlos I.
United States banknotes and coins
The unit of the dollar is divided into one hundred cents. There are coins of one, five, ten, twenty-five and fifty cents. They are also known as a pennies and are copper. The other coins are silver. Regarding banknotes, we have notes worth one, two, five, ten, twenty, fifty and one hundred dollars. The banknotes bear the portrait of different presidents of the United States, such as George Washington (one dollar) or Benjamin Franklin (one hundred dollars).
Pay with dollars
In the United States the use of the credit card is very common, although we recommend you to carry cash in your pocket to pay for taxis or to buy a hot dog in a street stall if you get hungry. The hundred-dollar bill is not accepted in some stores. For this reason, when you change your currency, try to get tickets of a lower amount. The safest place to change money is the bank. There are also exchange offices in the main tourist streets and airports.
The value of one dollar is less than one euro. The approximate equivalence (we must bear in mind that these values fluctuate frequently) is 1 dollar = 0.88 euros. That is the reason why many European tourists take advantage of trips to North America to buy branded sneakers and jeans at a price lower than what it would cost them in their country of origin.
Other approximate equivalences of the dollar are 1 dollar = 107 Japanese yen or 1 dollar = 63 Russian rubles. One litre of milk—one of the most consumed food products in the United States—costs $0.83, while a hamburger in fast food chains costs about $7.
The United States is a good destination to return from with suitcases loaded with gifts purchased at a good price.