The memories of the Colon

For 108 years, use a single currency: the colon. Countless designs, denominations and colors circulated throughout the national territory.

“I… three day meat cents”. “Give me a lunch for 30 cents.” “Give me two cents of sugar”. These were regular expressions more than 70 years ago.

Colones El Salvador

Don Gilberto Barahona, 74, remembers them as if you had used them yesterday. While it rested in the pews of the freedom Park, he remembered when his mother sent him to buy at the store some custom-made. He also told that the bus fare was worth between three and five cents.

“The passage cost depending on the distance, as it is now. For example, from Quezaltepeque to San Salvador was worth three cents. If one was going further cost five. But I am saying when the buses were of wood,”said.

In addition to the nominal value and everything what you could buy, don Gilberto longs for the variety of coins and bills that passed through his hands.

“They had enough. “I remember the quarts, real, chelitas, of suckling pig and tickets to two”, added.

Banknotes and coins that most appreciated are the “chelitas” (from 25 cents). The size and the silver that were made are elements that attracted him.

Not to forget them, don Gilberto kept some specimens, until they stopped circulating.

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“I have kept them for my children and grandchildren. They are not many but I have them so they know them because this dollar, I think that already shall not be so often,”he said.

In antique shops

Old or legacy banknotes and coins are key pieces in antique shops.

Adela Turcios, owner of an antique shop located in the center of San Salvador, said that notes and coins have always demand.

According to Turcios, sales could increase due to the bimonetarismo (movement of the colon and dollar) which will take effect from tomorrow.

“It is likely that they sold, because it will be rare to see these tickets,” he added.

But, regardless of this measure, Turcios said that the Bills of one to five colones are bestsellers.

It’s one has a great demand because it left circular at the beginning of the 1980s. And a five – the Lady with the basket – is sold because it is used in the “white centers” or spiritualists.

Turcios explained that in these places, they are also used for prayers and esoteric practices.

“People say that Trinidad Huezo (the basket Lady) is a business lawyer. “They say that the country was bankrupt, and what he did was bless the crops of coffee, after that, the plantations were the best”, said.

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But this Bill has another popular belief. People say that Trinidad Huezo was a friend of the former President Maximiliano Hernández Martínez.

These ticket prices vary on the market. These cost three to 400 colones.

It all depends on the price that sets the international catalogues of coins. In addition, the status of the ticket and the year of issue is taken into account.

The latest in crafts

Once more the ingenuity of Salvadoran artisans is put to test.

To update the handicrafts, has brought to market an altarpiece decorated with a map of the country, coins and banknotes.

Silvia Palacios, Ex Cuartel market vendor, said that this craft made it with regard to the “monetary integration”, announced by the Government at the end of last November.

Coins placed in the altarpiece ranging from a penny to a colon.

And banknotes (which are colour photocopies) are of different denominations: a colon up to 200.

“It is selling. Most buy it to send him to the United States “, said the saleswoman.

While the Government has assured the validity and effectiveness of the colon, sellers of antiques, artisans and collectors fear that the currency completely disappears.

And until that happens, they have secured some banknotes and coins to pass part to the drawer of memories.

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