Jeffrey LewisAtomic Won

I came into possession of a lovely collection of images of DPRK bank-notes. (You can go ahead and make your own forgery-related one-liners in the comments.)

I was amused to see that the fiver (above) is nuclear-themed.


  1. Azr@el (History)

    What’s the structure on the reverse, it looks vaguely Joseon.

  2. Tal Inbar

    Is there something about the figure “5”?….

    When I was a child, this was the 5 Israeli Lira banknote:

    (maybe this picture will be uploaded?)

    It is depicted the US supplied nuclear reactor located at Soreq, near Ashdod.

    There are more banknotes from around the world with nuclear motifs on them, one of the recent is from Iran.

  3. Daniel Pinkston (History)

    What a great economic stimulus instrument! Since most people would prefer to avoid radiation sickness, they’ll spend those bank notes fast, so that will increase the velocity of the money! Both schoolgirls and pensioners going shopping love them.

  4. Tom F (History)

    So are their treasury yields measured in Won tons then?

    Err… sorry.

  5. Fred Reinheimer (History)

    Looks to me like that’s a lithium atom. Hmmm, think they’re trying to tell us something…?

  6. Uncle Glenny (History)

    Maybe it has something to do with bipolar disorder (we are supposedly in a unipolar world now, right?)

  7. Wramblin' Wreck (History)

    If there is a one to one correspondence between the NK Won and the SK Won, then the NK 5 Won note is worth less than 0.4 cents US.

    Does anyone know its actual exchange value? I understand that NK Won are not traded but it would be interesting to know their equivalent worth.

  8. Azr@el (History)

    ~3540 North Korean wons are on par with a U.S. dollar. Thus a DPRK 5 won note is roughly 1/7 of a U.S. penny and about 2.8 times as much as a hypothetical South Korean Five Won note. Note in South Korea the smallest bank note you’re likely to run across is the 1000 ROK Won Note, ~80 US cents. Below that are coins, 500 Wons down to 10 Wons, with the 10 ROK won coin playing the role of a U.S. penny.

  9. FSB