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This Tiny Island Has the World’s Largest and Heaviest Currency

No one knows exactly when the people of Yap, a tiny Micronesian island, started using giant limestone disks as money, but their unique stone money have definitely been around for centuries and are still in circulation today.

Micronesian islands use the US dollar as their official currency, but on the island of Yap people also use a very unusual form of money – giant limestone discs, some of which weigh more than a car. There are hundreds of these discs scattered all over the island, some located outside of hotels, others stored deep in the forest, but most of them are kept in stone money banks located in virtually every village. There are an estimated 13,000 stone discs in circulation on Yap, ranging from 30 centimetres to 3.50 meters in diameter, with the largest ones being considered the most valuable.

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Artist Creates Portraits with Strips of Shredded Money

Using thousands of paper strips from shredded U.S. Federal Reserve Notes, American artist Evan Wondolowski creates impressive portraits of famous figures, from George Washington to Notorious B.I.G.

According to This Is Colossal, “Evan says that he starts with an underdrawing of the portrait on newsprint and then glues each shred of currency piece by piece before finishing up with a little vine charcoal to increase contrast.” Sounds like a pretty complicated process, but he does manage to restore value to worthless dollars, by turning them into unique works of art. So far, Wondolowski has used shredded dollars to make detailed portraits of icons like Stephen Colbert, Biggie Smalls or George Washington. Looking at how elaborate each of his pieces is, it’s no wonder he takes over a month to complete them.

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Creative Agency Creates Detailed Money Portraits

Artists from Chinese creative agency Senseteam cut apart banknotes from various country and recomposed them as detailed portraits, in a series called Big Business 3.

‘Currency symbolizes the value of a nation and its position in the world,’ the designers say, so their portraits ‘reflect the subtle relationships and influences across money, desire,
society, nations, and human beings.’ They also prove money can also be used for something much more meaningful than shopping and making bank deposits – in this case art and cultural statements. To create their colorful artworks, Senseteam members painstakingly cut banknotes into hundreds of strips and glued them together in the shape of intricate human portraits.

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