Currency Wiki

The Argentine peso (Spanish: Peso argentino; symbol: $; code: ARS) is the currency of Argentina. It is subdivided into 100 centavos. Several earlier currencies of Argentina were also called "peso", and the first of such currencies, the peso fuerte and peso moneda corriente were introduced in 1826. From 1985 to 1991, the peso was replaced by the austral, but was then reintroduced in 1992.


Before 1826[]

For more information, see Argentine real

The peso was a name often used to refer to the Spanish 8 real coin. After Argentina had gained independence from the Spanish Empire, it began issuing its own coins, which were denominated in reales, soles, and escudos, which included 8 real coins, still referred to as pesos. These "Argentine peso" coins circulated until 1881.[2]

Peso fuerte[]

Argentina 8 centesimos fuertes 1869 obv

An 8 centesimos fuertes banknote.

In 1826, two currencies denominated in pesos were introduced within Argentina. One, the peso fuerte (symbol: $F; code: ARF) was a convertible currency, with 17 pesos equaling one Spanish ounce (27.0643 g) of 0.916 fine gold. It was subdivided into 100 centesimos. In 1864, this was changed to 16 pesos per gold ounce. It was replaced by the peso moneda nacional at par.[2]

Banknotes were printed in denominations of 4, , 5, 8, 9, 10, 14, 16, 20, 25, 32, 36, 40, 50, and 75 centesimos, and 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 pesos.[3]

Peso moneda corriente[]

Argentine peso fuerte 1826 obv

A peso moneda corriente note.

The non-convertible peso moneda corriente ("everyday currency"; sign: $m/c) was introduced in 1826, and circulated alongside the peso fuerte, with which it shared an exchange rate of 1:1, though the value of the peso moneda corriente subsequently depreciated. From January 3, 1867 to May 17, 1876, the currency could be converted into gold, at a rate of m/c 25 = $F 1 in the exchange office of the Bank of the Province of Buenos Aires (Spanish: Banco de la Provincia de Buenos Aires). This office closed in 1876 on account of people exchanging for gold in large quantities. It was replaced in 1881 by the peso moneda nacional.[2][4]

Although the Argentine Confederation issued 1, 2, and 4 centavo coins in 1854, Argentina did not decimalize until 1881, with the introduction of the peso oro sellado and the peso moneda nacional. Banknotes were issued in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1000 pesos.[2][5]

Peso moneda nacional[]

5 FRF 1873 obv

One peso was initially equal to 5 French francs.

On November 5, 1881, the depreciated peso moneda corriente was replaced by the peso moneda nacional ("national currency"; symbol: m$n or $m/n; code: ARM) at a rate of 25 to 1. It was used until December 31, 1969. The currency was subdivided into 100 centavos, and had a superunit, the argentino, which was valued at 5 pesos.[2][6][7]

Originally, the peso moneda nacional was convertible, with a value equaling one peso oro sellado (symbol: $o/s; code: ARG). Because of the loss of reserves of the National Bank in 1885, the convertibility of the peso's notes was suspended until 1899, with the passage of Law 3871. It called for the reintroduction of the peso's convertibility to gold, but at a lower ratio than before. This lasted until 1914, at the start of World War I. Afterward, a fixed monetary system was established, and the value of the currency remained fairly stable. In 1927, convertibility was restored once again, but only lasted until 1929.[7]

The peso was originally pegged to the French franc at a rate of 1 peso = 5 francs. In 1883, when silver coins ceased production, the peso moneda nacional was set at a value of 2.2 francs. After the suspension of the gold standard in 1914, in 1927, the peso became pegged to the United States dollar, at a rate of 2.36 pesos = 1 dollar. This was changed to 1.71 pesos = 1 dollar in 1931 and then 3 pesos = 1 dollar in 1933. Between 1934 and 1939, the peso was pegged to the pound sterling at a rate of 15 pesos = 1 pound.[6]



An argentino coin.

On November 5, 1881, silver 10, 20, and 50 centavo coins, and 1 peso coins were introduced, along with gold argentino coins. A year later, in 1882, bronze 1 and 2 centavo coins were introduced, followed by a gold ½ argentino coin in 1884. All the silver coins were demonetized in 1883. Every coin of this series depicted an image of Liberty on the obverse and the Argentine coat of arms on the reverse.[7]

In 1896, a new issue was introduced, initially comprising of cupronickel (75% nickel, 25% copper) 5, 10, and 20 centavo coins. These were followed by copper 1 and 2 centavo coins in 1939, and a nickel 50 centavo coin in 1941.[7]

Following this, in 1942, an aluminum-bronze issue of 5, 10, and 20 centavo coins was introduced, due to the high demand of nickel for use in World War II. Another series followed soon after, in 1950. It originally comprised of cupronickel 5, 10, and 20 centavo coins, which were minted to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the death of José de San Martín. However, later in 1950, nickel-clad steel coins of these denominations were introduced, followed by a 50 centavo coin in 1952.[7]

A final issue was introduced in 1956. During this year, nickel-clad steel 5, 10, 20, and 50 centavo, and 1 peso coins were minted. In 1958, the 5 peso coin was introduced, followed by the 10 peso coin in 1959, and the 25 peso coin in 1961.[7]

Commemorative coins were minted during the 1960s in denominations of 1, 10, and 25 pesos.[7]


Anverso - Billete 5 centavos de Peso Moneda Nacional (Argentina)

A 5 centavo note of 1891.

With the enactment of Law 2216, privately owned banks throughout Argentina were allowed to produce paper money. However, there was so much diversity of the issues that even today, not all are correctly classified. In 1884, this act was repealed, and the Central Bank of Argentina began emitting their own banknotes, with denominations of 5, 10, 20, and 50 centavos. From 1890 to 1892, the same denominations were produced by the Banco de la Nación Argentina (Bank of the Nation of Argentina), along with 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1000 pesos. These were followed by a 1 peso note in 1894.[6][7]

Law 3505, enacted on September 20, 1897, authorized the Caja de Conversión to renovate all the banknotes in existence at the time. They developed a new design, which was called Efigie del Progreso (Progress' Effigy). These were originally created in a bigger size and printed by the mint (Casa de Moneda), using paper made in France. Due to their size and the poor quality of the paper, the notes began to deteriorate. The Caja de Conversión was suspended from printing the notes, and looked for another provider. The new notes, which were of smaller size, began being issued in 1903, and used typography as the printing method. Banknotes of these series had denominations of 50 centavos, 1, 5, 10, 50, 100, 500, and 1000 pesos.[7]

In 1942, the Central Bank of Argentina printed issued its first notes, which were more modern and secure than the previous series. Due to the momentary lack of capacity, some notes were printed in England, but then resumed being printed at the mint. This series consisted of notes with denominations of 50 centavos, 1, 5, 10, 50, 100, 500, 1000, 5000, and 10,000 pesos.[7]

Peso ley 18.188[]

On January 1, 1970, the peso ley 18.188 (code: ARL; symbol: $L), or simply the peso ley, was introduced, after being established by Law 18188, which became effective on April 5, 1969. The currency replaced the peso moneda nacional at a rate of 100 to 1. It was issued until May 5, 1983, after suffering from hyperinflation.[8][9]


Peso ley 18

A 1 peso ley coin.

In 1970, aluminum 1 and 5 centavo, and brass 10, 20, and 50 centavo coins were introduced. As inflation eroded the value of the peso ley, higher denominations were subsequently issued. The first of these was a 1 peso coin in 1974, followed by 5 and 10 peso coins in 1976, and 50 and 100 peso coins in 1979.[8][9]

In 1977, coins commemorating Admiral William Brown's birth were introduced in denominations of 5 and 10 pesos. Also, the first coins commemorating the 1978 FIFA World Cup were minted, with denominations of 100, 1000, 2000, and 3000 pesos. The following year, in 1978, 20 and 50 peso coins commemorating the World Cup were introduced, as well as 50 and 100 peso coins commemorating the birth of General José de San Martín. The final commemorative issue was made in 1979, which consisted of 50 and 100 peso coins marking the 100th anniversary of the Conquest of the Desert.[9]


Argentina million pesos ley obv

One million pesos ley.

In 1970, the 1 and 10 peso ley banknotes were issued. These were followed by 5 and 100 peso notes in 1971, 50 and 500 peso notes in 1972, and 1000 pesos in 1973. After the peso was impacted by inflation, higher denominations were printed. In 1976, the 10,000 peso note was introduced, followed by 5000 pesos in 1977, 50,000 and 100,000 pesos in 1979, 500,000 pesos in 1980, and 1,000,000 pesos in 1981.[8]

Peso argentino[]

On June 16, 1983, the peso argentino (symbol: $a; code: ARP) was introduced, replacing the peso ley at a rate of 1 peso argentino = 10,000 pesos ley. Inflation during the time period eventually took its toll, and the peso argentino was replaced by the austral on June 15, 1985.[2]


Argentina 1 peso 1984

A 1 peso coin.

On June 1, 1983, aluminum coins with denominations of 1, 5, 10, and 50 centavos were issued. About a year later, on July 6, 1984, an aluminum 1 peso coin was introduced, followed by brass 5 and 10 peso coins on December 3, and an aluminum-bronze 50 peso coin on May 31, 1985. The centavo denominations and the 1 peso coin were withdrawn on July 19, 1985, while the higher denominations were taken out of circulation a few years later, on July 31, 1991.[10]


Argentina 1 peso 1983 obv

One peso argentino.

On June 1, 1983, the Central Bank of Argentina issued banknotes with denominations of 1, 5, 10, 50, and 100 pesos. On October 31 of that same year, the 1000 peso banknote was introduced. In 1984, 500 and 5000 peso notes were issued, followed by the 10,000 peso note in 1985. The 1 peso note was demonetized in 1985, while every other argentino note was withdrawn in 1987.[10]

After the austral's introduction, some 1000, 5000, and 10,000 peso argentino notes were overstamped with A 1 (1 austral), A 5 (5 australes), and A 10 (10 australes), respectively.[10]

Peso convertible[]


The austral was replaced by the peso.

The current peso was introduced in 1992, replacing the austral at a rate of 1 peso = 10,000 australes. It was initially referred to as the peso convertible, since the international exchange rate was fixed by the Central Bank of Argentina at 1 peso to 1 U.S. dollar and for every peso convertible in circulation, there was a U.S. dollar in the bank's foreign currency reserves. However, after the Argentine economic crisis, the fixed exchange rate system was abandoned.[2][11]

Since January 2002, the exchange rate fluctuated, reaching up to four pesos = one U.S. dollar (a 75% devaluation). An increase in exports produced a massive inflow of U.S. dollars into Argentina's economy, which helped in lowering the price. For a time, the administration stated and maintained a strategy to keep the exchange rate between 2.90 and 3.10 pesos per dollar, to maintain the competitiveness of exports and encourage import substitution by local industries. Whenever necessary, the Argentine Central Bank emits pesos and purchases dollars in the free market to keep the dollar price from dropping, and had amassed over 27,000 million USD before the 9,810 million USD payment to the International Monetary Fund in 2006.[2][11]


Monedas argentinas

Various peso coins.

In 1992, 1, 5, 10, 25, and 50 centavo coins were introduced, followed by 1 peso coins in 1994. The 1 centavo coin was last minted in 2001, and has been since removed from circulation. The composition of some of the coins changed as they continued circulating, such as the 10 centavo coin, which was initially aluminum-bronze, but was subsequently changed to brass-clad steel.[2]

Coins are often hard or difficult to come by in Argentina, especially in the nation's capital, Buenos Aires. This problem has evolved to the stage where some shop owners will not sell items if the transaction involves giving the customer change in coins. The problem has been made worse by ATMs, which frequently only give out 100 peso notes, and by bus companies, some of which will take the coins in payment and later sell these at a 5–10% markup on the black market rather than depositing them at banks. However, this situation has improved since the conclusion of the Argentine economic crisis in 2002.[2]

Commemorative coins[]

A number of commemorative coins were issued after 1992. The first commemorative series was made in 1994, which marked the National Constitutional Convention. Series commemorating the United Nations, UNICEF, women's suffrage, Mercosur, and Jorge Luis Borges followed in 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, and 1999, respectively. Also in 1996, Argentina's "Latin American" series began. In 2000, two separate series of Generals Martín Miguel de Güemes and José de San Martín were issued. A year later, in 2001, the city of Comodoro Rivadavia and General Justo José de Urquiza were commemorated on coinage. To commemorate the 2006 FIFA World Cup, coins were issued beforehand, in 2004 and 2005. Also in 2004, a coin commemorating the death of Eva Perón was issued, and in 2005, one commemorating the Central Bank of Argentina was produced. In 2006, another commemorative coin was minted, followed by two issues in 2007. One was minted to mark the 25th anniversary of the Falklands War, while the other commemorated the 100th anniversary of the discovery of oil in Argentina. To mark the International Day of Human Rights a commemorative series was issued in 2009. In 2010, the Central Bank, the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and the country of Argentina were commemorated on coins.[11]


Argentina 1 peso 1993 obv

The 1 peso note, now obsolete.

In 1992, banknotes were introduced in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 pesos. With the introduction of the 1 peso coin in 1994, the corresponding note became obsolete. Initially, the banknotes bore text reading, "Convertibles de curso legal", but in 2002, this was removed. As most of these have been replaced, it is rare to find ones marked with this nowadays, except on the 50 and 100 peso denominations.[2]

In 2008, it was proposed the Argentine peso notes be redesigned; however, no changes have been implemented thus far.[11]

Exchange rates[]

 v · d · e
Current ARS exchange rates
From Google Finance [1]: AUD CAD CHF EUR GBP HKD JPY USD
From Yahoo! Finance [2]: AUD CAD CHF EUR GBP HKD JPY USD

See also[]


Template:Argentine peso