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Currency in the World of Avatar varies from nation to nation but is commonly based on precious metals that denote differing values; gold has the most value, followed by silver and then copper.[1] Prior to the end of the Hundred Year War, coins were the most common form of currency, and they were often fashioned into different shapes and sizes depending on their origin. However, following the end of the War, paper money came into widespread use, most notably in the United Republic of Nations.[2]

Water Tribe

Water Tribe currency

Water Tribe currency is blue in color.

Water Tribe money is blue and circular with a hole through the center, giving the currency a ring-like shape, and it seems to be thicker than an average coin.[3] Prior to the end of the Hundred Year War, the re-involvement of the Northern Water Tribe in international affairs, and the rebuilding of the Southern Water Tribe, the Water Tribes had a relatively primitive economy, largely based on subsistence, and so their currency was not as advanced as those of more developed nations. Water Tribe money is accepted in certain parts of the Earth Kingdom, though some local areas, such as Chin Village, explicitly refuse to accept it.[1][3]

By 171 AG, the yuan became an accepted form of currency in the Southern Water Tribe.[4]

Earth Kingdom

Bronze coin

An Earth Kingdom copper piece is of the standard design for the nation: round, with a square hole in the center.

Earth Kingdom coins are typically the same shape as the nation's insignia: round with a square hole in their center, which allows many coins to be strung together. There is no significant difference between copper, silver, and gold pieces besides the materials of which they are made and their increasing value. The only notable difference is that in gold pieces, the borders are marked by a richer shade of gold.[5] The Earth Kingdom also uses small, gold ingots on rare occasions, with a shape resembling a boat.

Fire Nation

Fire Nation coins are much more angular than their Earth Kingdom counterparts. They vary by weight, size, and shape, though all have the nation's emblem on one side and writing on the reverse.[1]

Fire Nation silver pieces

Fire Nation currency bears the national insignia.

Copper piece

The copper piece is the least valuable coin in the Fire Nation. It is a rectangle with two concave sides and a small image of a flame in its center.

Silver piece

The silver piece is the smallest coin in the Fire Nation. It is pentagonal in shape with the national emblem on its front.[6] Although small in size, it is the second most valuable coin in the Fire Nation.

Gold piece

The gold piece is the longest coin in the Fire Nation and is mostly rectangular in shape with a long slit running from its base to slightly below its top.[6] Consisting entirely of gold, these pieces are the most valuable coins in the Fire Nation.

United Republic of Nations

Pile of yuans

Yuan bills use mostly pink ink.

The United Republic of Nations' currency is called the yuan,[7] and denominations are available as both paper bills and metal coins. The paper bills are deep pink in color and feature an image of Avatar Aang on the obverse, with an image of Republic City's City Hall on the reverse.[8] The coins, which are worth one yuan each, are golden in color and exhibit three rectangles in their design.[9]

Trivia

  • In the World of Avatar, it is the metal and not the currency itself that is valuable,[3] much as it was in many parts of the world before the adoption of the banknote. This is known as intrinsic value in numismatic circles. In the post-Hundred Year War era of progress, however, global economies seem to have evolved toward a system of fiat money, as evidenced by the presence of the yuan in at least two different nations.
  • Earth Kingdom copper pieces are similar to Chinese coins before the Qin Dynasty.
  • Fire Nation currency resembles some Chinese coins during the Warring States period.
  • The Chinese word that is used to refer to the Fire Nation currency is , which literally means a metal slab.
  • Loban said that the crystal processing machine for Earthen Fire Industries cost "ten thousand ban".[10]
  • The yuan () is also the informal name of the basic unit of currency in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.
  • The yuan is the only known currency to use both coins and paper bills.
  • The gold ingots used in the Earth Kingdom resemble an ancient Chinese ingot currency known as yuanbao.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Throughout Avatar: The Last Airbender.
  2. Throughout The Legend of Korra.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 O'Bryan, John (writer) & MacMullan, Lauren (director). (April 28, 2006). "Avatar Day". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 5. Nickelodeon.
  4. DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer) & Graham, Ian (director). (September 27, 2013). "Civil Wars, Part 2". The Legend of Korra. Season 1. Episode 16. Nickelodeon.
  5. DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer) & Spaulding, Ethan (director). (May 5, 2006). "The Blind Bandit". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 6. Nickelodeon.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Hamilton, Joshua (writer) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (November 2, 2007). "The Runaway". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 7. Nickelodeon.
  7. The Legend of Korra Press Site - Character descriptions. Viacom International Inc. (March 2012). Retrieved on March 17, 2012.
  8. Welcome to Republic City. Nickelodeon (April 6, 2012). Retrieved on April 20, 2012.
  9. Hedrick, Tim (writer). (August 9, 2013). "Republic City Hustle: Part 1". Republic City Hustle. Episode 1. Nick.com.
  10. DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan; Yang, Gene Luen (writer), Sasaki of Gurihiru (penciling, inking), Kawano of Gurihiru (colorist), Heisler, Michael; Comicraft (letterer). The Rift Part One (March 5, 2014), Dark Horse Comics.

See also