Hydraulic works in coins and banknotes of the world

Hydraulic works in coins and banknotes of the world…

Many are the symbols and figures that have appeared in the history of the coins and banknotes of the world. From the first coin back in the 7th century BC that the Greeks issued in the current Turkey, which appeared the mark of the issuing authority, to the modern banknotes in which any representation is possible.

Usually people are represented (politicians, writers, painters, etc.), places or symbols among other things. Elements of importance for the identity and development of the country.

The hydraulic works have historically meant a push to the development of the countries, either by storing and distributing water to the population, increasing agricultural production through irrigation or for the generation of abundant and cheap hydropower.

This has been reflected in some banknotes and coins in the history of numismatic throughout the world, but as there are many examples, we have made a small selection of which we have found more interesting.


In 1937 it issued a $5 bill in which appears on its obverse an allegory of hydro power with a figure that holds a turbine.

United States

The so-called “military Payment Certificates” were banknotes that were used in American military bases in conflict zones because they were easily void in case of capture of the base by the enemy. This practice began in Hawaii during World War II and was used in North Africa, Korea and Vietnam.

This $20 bill was issued between 1970 and 1973, and shows a Native American on the obverse and Hoover Dam on the reverse.


Besides a couple of banknotes, one of 5 Jiao and another of 10 Yuan, where one represents a prey and the image of the Yangtze River respectively, highlights the commemorative emission of a series of coins on the dam of the Three Gorges.

The most peculiar of these coins, coined in 1996, is that they are rectangular in shape, of 20 and 50 Yuan made in silver and gold respectively.
North Korea
In 1998 this 10 won note was issued showing the T’aech ‘ on on the reverse side. Although in this ticket the reference is very evident, the hydraulic infrastructures appear in many currencies and banknotes since it is present in the national coat of the country.


In the 5,000 Seqalim of 1983, the Prime Minister is represented on the obverse during the 6-Day War, Levi Eshkolster, and a water conduction is observed on the reverse side.

This driving represents the north-South transfer from Lake Tiberias on the River Jordan, and shows the importance of these infrastructures in a country whose rainfall average is only 360 mm.
In 1995 a ticket of 100 raft was issued showing on the obverse the Sultan Qaboos and an irrigation channel of the traditional system of Oman called Aflaj.

It has been used since the time of the Persians, 2,500 years ago. The system is very similar to other structures such as “qanats” in other countries such as Arabia, Yemen and even Spain. It consists of collecting the water from the mountains and directing them by gravity to the plains.


The 1 pound banknote of 1978 shows one of the most famous historical hydraulic works, one of Hama’s Norias, in the Orontes River, and the aqueduct that carries the water that goes up the Ferris wheel. This Ferris wheel is one of the 17 operating in the same river and still stands from 1361 despite the passage of time and wars.

The increase in population has made the river level much lower and has been unusable for many years.


Before the euro the currency was schilling. Between 1962 and 1972 a banknote of 1,000 Schilling is emitted in which Victor Kaplan, the inventor of the turbine named, the Kaplan turbine, appears. On the reverse side appears the Persenbeug Dam, which was completed in 1954 and began the production of electrical energy in 1959.
Following the arrival of the euro, a series of 5 euro commemorative coins were issued with the four most important dams in Austria; Koelbrein, Aschach, Freudenau and Glockner-Kaprun.
Isle of Man
One of the emblems of the island is the “Rueda de Laxey” and was represented in the banknotes of 20 pounds of the years 1979 and 2000. It has also been represented in several currencies.

The Laxey wheel was built in 1854 to pump water from the farms of the Great Laxey Mining Company that extracted lead and zinc. It has a diameter of more than 22 meters and a width of 1.84 m, and is the largest hydraulic wheel in Europe.
In the midst of war in the Balkans, when Yugoslavia only understood Serbia and Montenegro (maintaining that denomination until 2003), and with a shot inflation, a 5 million dinara banknote was issued in 1993. In it appears Nicola Tesla, inventor very related to the electric power, a high frequency transformer and the dam of Djerdap.

This dam is located on the border with Romania. On the Romanian side it is called Portile de Fier or Iron Gate, and was financed by both countries.
This commemorative coin is perhaps the most curious of all the coins mentioned.

Coinciding with the 100 anniversary, a coin of 1 silver dollar commemorating the “Golden pipeline” was coined in 2003. In it appears Charles O’Connor, director of the works, within the silhouette of a revolutionary type of board that was invented for this project.

The pipeline was considered one of the greatest engineering achievements of the time, and was built for the gold and other mineral farms in western Australia. The work began in 1898 and ended in 1903 with a total length of 560 km.
Finally we collect the case of Spain that, although it has no ticket with these reasons in its history, if it has coins.

The first is a commemorative coin coined by Isabel II in 1843 in honor of one of the most emblematic hydraulic works in Spain, the aqueduct of Segovia.
The second is not legal course, but a commemorative part of the inauguration of the Canal de Isabel II in 1858.
And the third if it was a legal tender, specifically 5 pesetas (known as “a hard”). In 1999 a series of coins were coined that made reference to different autonomous communities, in this case to the autonomous community of Murcia.

On its obverse is reproduced the facade of the orchard of the bombs of Murcia, and on its back is shown the Noria de Culvert (Murcia), reflecting the importance of irrigation and hydraulic works of this region.
The information for the writing of this article has been extracted from the publication “The value of Water”, written by Antonio Sandoval Zábal and edited by AQUAVIR. ISBN: 84-690-1510-9.

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