Volcanic money

Krakatoa I remember that the first time I was given this 100 rupiah banknote in Indonesia I thought to myself, “Is this really the best way to promote confidence in currency stability?”

You can’t read the writing clearly in this picture, but I can assure you that the island towards which the sailboat seems to be sailing is Krakatoa or Krakatau, which has erupted several times. The most famous eruption was in 1883. According to Wikipedia its power was equivalent to 200 megatons of TNT – about 13,000 times the nuclear yield of the Little Boy bomb that devastated Hiroshima.

I think it would have been even more interesting if they had also added the motto on the US dollar bills “In God We Trust”, perhaps just underneath the volcano.

However, this could have been a useful logo (with the addition of thick fog) for some of those incomprehensible financial instruments which began to explode in 2008.

This banknote was printed from 1992 to 1999 if I am not mistaken. But if you really want to test people’s nerves, you could always issue something with a picture of Mount Tambora, also in Indonesia. Mount Tambora’s eruption in 1815 was the biggest in recorded history. It caused climatic abnormalities and 1816 became known as the Year Without Summer. Crops and livestock perished in much of the Northern hemisphere, causing the worst famine of the 19th Century.

Maybe there will be a Central Bank brave enough to print a Mount Tambora note with the motto “Keeping our fingers crossed”.

(On the other hand, Byron rented a house near Lake Geneva in the summer of 1816. Among his guests were Percy Shelley and his wife Mary. The weather was so bad that they stayed in and challenged each other to write the scariest tales they could. Mary Shelley produced Frankenstein, which therefore owes its existence to a volcano in Indonesia.)

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