The won (원) is the name of the currency used in both Koreas, using the symbol ₩. The South Korean won generally goes at around 1,000 to one US dollar, or ten to one Japanese Yen. North Korea also uses a currency called the won, but the value is completely different; it is officially set at 3,000 won to one US dollar, but in reality is virtually worthless internationally.
South Korea produces its currency in 10(십)-, 50(오십)-, 100(백)-, and 500(오백)-won denominated coins and 1,000(천)-, 5,000(오천)-, 10,000(만)- and 50,000(5만)-won denominated bills. There is some public support to begin producing larger denominations of bills. The government no longer mints coins with values of less than 10 won, though they are still legal tender and it is often considered good luck to have one.
In early 2007 the new 1,000 and 10,000 won bills, with new designs and anti-counterfeit devices, came out along with a new 10 won coin much smaller than the old one. The 10 won coin up until that point was actually quite large, only a fraction smaller than the 100 won coin and larger still than the 50 won coin, which until 2007 had been the smallest Korean coin in production. The 50,000 won bills came out in 2009.
Korea's first currency called won came out in 1902 and was used until 1910. At that time, Japan began their occupation and replaced it with the Korean Yen. In 1945, after the liberation and division of the Koreas, South Korea issued its currency called the won, as did North Korea in 1947. In 1953 the South Korean currency was revalued and renamed Hwan In 1962 it was revalued yet again, and the name was changed back to won, as it now stands. Though North Korea has changed the value of the North Korean won, the name has not changed since 1947.
- Currency conversion calculator.
- Blog post on Naver.com with a pictorial history of Korean money.
- Gallery of South Korean currency.
- "New W10,000 Banknote Unveiled", The Korea Times, May 18, 2006.
- "New W5,000 Bills Forgery- but not Water-Proof", The Chosun Ilbo, January 25, 2006.
- "New W1,000 Note Unveiled", The Chosun Ilbo, January 17, 2006.
- "BOK Announces Smaller Banknotes", The Chosun Ilbo, July 21, 2005.