The Gibraltar pound (currency sign: £; banking code: GIP) is the currency of Gibraltar. It is exchangeable with the UK pound sterling at par value.
Until 1872, the currency situation in Gibraltar was complicated, with a system based on the real being employed which encompassed British, Spanish and Gibraltarian coins. From 1825, the real (actually the Spanish real de plata) was tied to the pound at a value of 6½ pence (1 Spanish dollar = 4 shillings 4 pence). In 1872, however, the Spanish currency became the sole legal tender in Gibraltar. In 1898, the Spanish–American War made the Spanish peseta drop alarmingly and the pound was introduced as the sole currency of the colony, initially in the form of British coins and banknotes.
In 1898, the British pound was made sole legal tender, although the Spanish peseta continued in circulation until the Spanish Civil War. Since 1927, Gibraltar has issued its own banknotes and, since 1988, its own coins. Gibraltar decimalised in 1971 at the same time as the UK, replacing the system of 1 pound = 20 shillings = 240 pence with one of 1 pound = 100 (new) pence.
Relationship with the British pound
The Currency Notes Act of 1934 confers on the Government of Gibraltar the right to print its own notes, and the obligation to back and exchange each printed note with sterling reserves at a rate of one pound to one pound sterling. Although Gibraltar notes are denominated in "pounds sterling", they are not legal tender in the UK, but they are exchangeable at par for UK notes at banks. Gibraltar's coins are the same weight, size and metal as UK coins, although the designs are different, and they are occasionally found in circulation in the UK.
British coins and Bank of England notes circulate in Gibraltar and are universally accepted and interchangeable with Gibraltar issues.
Tourists from the UK are strongly advised to change their unspent Gibraltar pounds into UK currency at parity in Gibraltar before departure as UK banks charge for exchanging the Gibraltar Pound.
In 1988, coins in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 pence and 1 pound were introduced which bore specific designs for and the name of Gibraltar. They were the same sizes and compositions as the corresponding British coins, with 2 pound coins introduced in 1999.
In 1914, the government introduced notes in denominations of 2 and 10 shillings, 1, 5 and 50 pounds. The 2 shilling and 50 pound notes were not continued when a new series of notes was introduced in 1927. The 10 shilling note was replaced by the 50 pence coin during the process of decimalization. In 1975, 10 and 20 pound notes were introduced, followed by 50 pounds in 1986. The 1 pound note was discontinued in 1988. In 1995, a new series of notes was introduced which, for the first time, bore the words "pounds sterling" rather than just "pounds". The government of Gibraltar will be issuing new banknotes shortly with new 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 pound notes.
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