History of Philippine Money - from gold barter rings and piloncitos, to ornaments and beads used by ancient Filipinos as medium of exchange during pre-Hispanic period, up to the present banknotes and coins. Some of the coins that circulated during the three centuries of Spanish rule, such as, the toston or four reales coins, brought by Magellan and his men to the Philippines in 1521; dos mundos or pillar dollars in silver; the fractional coin, barilla in copper and the portrait series bearing the busts of Spain's Royalty.
An array of counterstamped coins with FVII (Ferdinand VII) and YII (Isabel II) symbolized the authority of Spain over the Philippines.When Casa de Moneda de Manila began minting coins in 1861, the name "Filipinas" appeared for the first time on its coins. The Mint issued series of silver and gold coins until 1868, covering the reign of Isabel II and Alfonso XII were referred to as Isabelinas and Alfonsinos.
Young Alfonso XIII was the last Spanish monarch to grace the obverse of Philippine coins. The Spanish-Philippine peso coins bearing his bust, which were minted solely for use in the islands were last minted in 1877 and last circulated in 1904.
The establishment of El Banco Espanol Filipino de Isabel II marked a significant chapter in the development of Philippine numismatics. It was the country's first commercial bank and in 1852, it issued the pesos fuertes, the first banknotes used in the country. The Bank is known today as the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI).
Amid the luster of gold and silver coins in Philippine numismatics was the issuance in 1899 of the 2-centavo copper coin by he first Philippine Republic, a manifestation of the persistent quest of our forefathers for independence. However, this was short-lived, for the Philippines found itself again under another foreign power, the Americans. The coins issued during this period carried the design of the American eagle and that of the lady with the anvil, symbolic of industrialization, which the Americans introduced in the country. In 1916, the Philippine National Bank (PNB)opened to the public; thus BPI and PNB notes circulated along with silver and treasury certificates issued by the U.S authorities in Manila.
The Commonwealth period showed a promise of independence, but this was stalled shortly when World War II broke out. When the Japanese imperial Army occupied the country in 1941, Japanese Invasion Money (JIM) were issued by the government. However, various resistance movements around the country defied Japanese authority by ignoring their money. The Filipinos then issued their own guerilla notes or resistance currencies, which were valid only in certain localities.
The "Victory" overprint on the old treasury certificates signaled the end of the war. Independence was finally attained in 1946. The same victory notes were issued to announce the establishment of the Central Bank with the words, "Central Bank of the Philippines" overprinted on the certificates. On January 3, 1949, the Central Bank of the Philippines (CBP) was established and by 1951, it began circulating its own currency of English series notes pronted by Thomas De La Rue in England.
In 1967, the Pilipino Series notes, were introduced, showing portraits if Filipino heroes and vignettes of Philippine history with a watermark portrait of the hero. By 1978, the Security Plant Complex (SPC) with facilities for printing, minting and gold refinery was established. The first banknotes printed were the Ang Bagong Lipunan series (ABL), followed in 1985 by the New Design series,
with the subsequent addition of the 500 and 1000 piso notes in 1987 and 1991 respectively.
The first coins issued by the Central Bank were the English series minted at the U.S mint in Philadelphia from 1958 to 1963 and the Royal Mint of London and Vereinigte Metalwerke of West Germany from 1964 to 1966. In 1967, the Pilipino series, featuring national heroes was introduced. This was followed by the ABL series in 1975, the first coins minted at the SPC, and the flora and fauna series in 1983. With the establishment of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) in 1993, a new set of coins and notes, the BSP series was issued in 1995 showing the logo of the new BSP.