Demand for 500-won coin in South Korea is ‘smoking’ hot

Bank cites increase in cigarette tax for rising circulation need
By , Coin World
Published : 06/16/15
Text Size

Demand for South Korea’s 500-won coin, the highest circulating coin denomination, has caught fire, according to a local media report.

The Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported that an increase in cigarette taxes earlier in 2015 explains why the Bank of Korea introduced into circulation 15.4 billion won ($13.7 million U.S.) worth of the coins from January through May. 

That number is nearly five times the 3.1 billion won released into circulation in the same period a year earlier. The 500-won coins account for 75 percent of all coins released into circulation during the first five months of 2015, according to the Chosun Ilbo report.

The copper-nickel coin shows a crane. It weighs 7.7 grams and measures 26.5 millimeters in diameter, or the same dimensions as the Sacagawea $1 but slightly lighter.

The coin's face value is equivalent to about 44.5 cents U.S. 

The 500-won coins are the most efficient way to make change for cigarette purchases. The taxes were raised from 2,000 won per pack to 4,500 won per pack, the newspaper reported.

More from

United States Mint releases image mock-ups for 2016 gold dime, quarter dollar, half dollar

Nancy Reagan First Spouse coin designs being reviewed by CCAC

Auto mechanic’s valuable error Chinese note draws attention years after discovery

Donald G. Partrick Collection auctions by Heritage placed on hold

2015 Special Silver Set 'Currently Unavailable' from United States Mint

Keep up with all of's news and insights by  signing up for our free eNewsletters liking us on Facebook , and  following us on Twitter . We're also on  Instagram !

You are signed in as:null
No comments yet