South Korean won (1945–53)

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South Korean won (1945–53)
대한민국 원 (Korean)
大韓民國圓 (Hanja)
Central bank Bank of Joseon (1945-1950)
Bank of Korea (1950-1953)
User(s) Republic of Korea
Pegged with US dollar
 1/100 jeon (전/錢)
Symbol None, the currency was referred to by using the hanja character
Plural The language(s) of this currency does not have a morphological plural distinction.
Coins 1 jeon
Subsidiary coin issued by the Japanese government
Banknotes 5, 10, 20, 50 jeon
1, 5, 10, 100, 500, 1000 won
Printer National Printing Bureau (~ 1951)
Korea Minting and Security Printing Corporation (1951 ~)
This infobox shows the latest status before this currency was rendered obsolete.

The won was the first South Korean currency and was in use from August 15, 1945 to February 15, 1953.


Won is a cognate of the Chinese yuan and Japanese yen. The won was subdivided into 100 jeon (전; 錢; McCune-Reischauer: chŏn; revised: jeon).


Following the end of the Colonial Era and the division of Korea, the won was introduced to replace the Korean yen. The first banknotes were issued by the Bank of Joseon until 1950, when the currency management switched to the Bank of Korea.

At the time of the introduction in 1945 the won was pegged to the Japanese yen at a rate of 1 won = 1 yen. In October of the same year the anchor currency was changed to the US dollar at a rate of 15 won = 1 dollar. Toward the end of the Korean War the won was devalued at 6000 won = 1 dollar.[1] Following that the hwan was introduced as the new currency at a rate of 1 hwan = 100 won.


The 1 jeon coin was the only coin in circulation in South Korea at the time. It was not issued by the Bank of Joseon but by the Japanese government as subsidiary money. [2]


Bank of Joseon issed notes

The won was subdivided into 100 jeon. Only banknotes were issued. Initially, the won was issued by Bank of Joseon with a similar design to the older notes of the Japanese occupation period. However, there were two subtle and important differences. The new notes replaced the paulownia, the badge of the government of Japan, with the Rose of Sharon, South Korea's national flower; and the clause about exchangeability with the Japanese yen was removed.

Bank of Joseon issed notes
5 jeon
10 jeon
20 jeon
50 jeon
1 won
5 won
10 won
100 won

Bank of Korea issed notes

On June 12, 1950, the Bank of Korea was established and assumed the duties of Bank of Joseon. The Bank of Joseon's notes were still kept in circulation as not all denominations were replaced by the Bank of Korea's notes.

Bank of Korea issed notes [1] (Korean)
Image Value Dimensions Main Color Description Date of Printer
Obverse Reverse Obverse Reverse issue withdrawal
111px 111px 100 won 158 × 78 mm brown Gwanghwamun Value July 22, 1950 February 17, 1953 National Printing Bureau (Japan)
102px 102px 500 won 145 × 61 mm blue Lee Sung-man Pagoda Gongweon in Seoul October 10, 1952 KOMSEP
120px 120px 1000 won 171 × 78 mm green Value July 22, 1950 National Printing Bureau
102px 102px 145 × 61 mm blue Pagoda Gongweon in Seoul October 10, 1952 KOMSEP
These images are to scale at 0.7 pixels per millimeter. For table standards, see the banknote specification table.

See also


  1. Kurt Schuler (2004-02-29). "Tables of modern monetary history: Asia". Currency Boards and Dollarization. Retrieved December 7, 2006.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Bank of Korea. 우리나라의 화폐, 1950년~1953년 (in korean). Retrieved December 4, 2006. 한국은행은 설립 당시 통용되던 조선은행권 (...), 일본정부의 소액보조화폐(1錢 주화) 등을 승계하고..." → Translation: "The then founded Bank of Korea took over the Bank of Joseon notes circulating at the time (...), as well as the Japanese government's small subsidiary currency (1 jeon coin), and... <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Preceded by:
Korean yen
Reason: Division of Korea and moving toward a full sovereign nation from Allied occupation
Ratio: at par
Currency of South Korea
1945 – 1953
Succeeded by:
South Korean hwan
Reason: inflation
Ratio: 1 hwan = 100 won