Cambodian riel

Cambodian riel

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For earlier Cambodian currencies, see Cambodian tical
Cambodian tical
Prior to the year 1875, the tical was the currency of Cambodia as well as Siam. However, as a result of French intervention in the region, the tical in Cambodia was replaced in 1875 by the Cambodian franc. The term tical was the name which foreigners used for the local word Baht...

 and Cambodian franc
Cambodian franc
The franc was the currency of Cambodia between 1875 and 1885. It was equal to the French franc and was similarly subdivided into 100 centimes. It circulated alongside the piastre with 1 piastre = 5.37 francs. It replaced the tical and was replaced by the piastre...


The riel ' onMouseout='HidePop("94098")' href="">sign
Currency sign
A currency sign is a graphic symbol used as a shorthand for a currency's name, especially in reference to amounts of money. They typically employ the first letter or character of the currency, sometimes with minor changes such as ligatures or overlaid vertical or horizontal bars...

: ; code
ISO 4217
ISO 4217 is a standard published by the International Standards Organization, which delineates currency designators, country codes , and references to minor units in three tables:* Table A.1 – Current currency & funds code list...

: KHR) is the currency
In economics, currency refers to a generally accepted medium of exchange. These are usually the coins and banknotes of a particular government, which comprise the physical aspects of a nation's money supply...

 of Cambodia
Cambodia , officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia...

. There have been two distinct riel, the first issued between 1953 and May 1975. Between 1975 and 1980, the country had no monetary system. A second currency, also named "riel", has been issued since April 1, 1980. However, this currency has never gained public acceptance, with most Cambodians preferring gold or foreign currency. The UN peacekeeping operation of 1993
United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia
The United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia was a United Nations peacekeeping operation in Cambodia in 1992–93. It was also the first occasion on which the UN had taken over the administration of an independent state, organized and run an election , had its own radio station and jail,...

 injected a large quantity of U.S. dollars into the local economy. As a result, the dollar has become the country's common currency. Riel notes are used for fractional dollar amounts as U.S. coins are not in circulation. The symbol is encoded in Unicode at .

First riel, 1953-1975

In 1953, the Cambodia branch of the Institut d'Emission des Etats du Cambodge, du Laos et du Vietnam issued notes dual denominated in piastre
French Indochinese piastre
The piastre de commerce was the currency of French Indochina between 1885 and 1952. It was subdivided into 100 cent, each of 5 sapeque.-History:...

 and riel with the riel being at par with the piastre. At the same time, the two other branches had similar arrangement with the đồng in South Vietnam
South Vietnam
South Vietnam was a state which governed southern Vietnam until 1975. It received international recognition in 1950 as the "State of Vietnam" and later as the "Republic of Vietnam" . Its capital was Saigon...

 and the kip
Lao kip
The kip "Currency Lao Kip") is the currency of Laos since 1952. One kip is divided into 100 att . The official name is: ເງີນກີບລາວ, lit. Other languages say: ; code: LAK; sign: ' or ', encoded .-Free Lao Kip:...

 in Laos
Laos Lao: ສາທາລະນະລັດ ປະຊາທິປະໄຕ ປະຊາຊົນລາວ Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao, officially the Lao People's Democratic Republic, is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia, bordered by Burma and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south and Thailand to the west...

. This means that the first Cambodian riel was a direct lineal descendant of the Spanish pieces of eight
Pieces of Eight
Pieces of Eight is the eighth studio album and second concept album by Styx, released September 1, 1978.The album was the band's follow-up to their Triple Platinum selling The Grand Illusion album....

. The riel was at first subdivided into 100 centimes (abbreviated to cent. on the coins) but this changed in 1959 to 100 sen (សេន). For the first few years, the riel and piastre circulated alongside each other. Indeed, the first riel banknotes were also denominated in piastres.

First Issue 1955-56 - 1 Riel, 5 Riel, 10 Riel, 50 Riel

Second Issue 1956 - 1 Riel, 20 Riel, 50 Riel, 100 Riel, 500 Riel

Third Issue 1963 - 5 Riel, 10 Riel, 100 Riel

Fourth Issue 1972 - 100 Riel[*], 500 Riel, 1000 Riel[*], 5000 Riel[*]

[*] Unissued


The 10, 20 and 50 centime of 1953 and sen coins were minted in aluminium
Aluminium or aluminum is a silvery white member of the boron group of chemical elements. It has the symbol Al, and its atomic number is 13. It is not soluble in water under normal circumstances....

 and were the same size as the corresponding att and xu (su) coins of Laos and South Vietnam (though without the holes in the Lao coins). Riel coins available are 50 riels, 100 riels, 200 riel. A 1 riel coin about the size of a U.S. nickel
Nickel (United States coin)
The nickel is a five-cent coin, representing a unit of currency equaling five hundredths of one United States dollar. A later-produced Canadian nickel five-cent coin was also called by the same name....

 was to be issued in 1970 but was not released, perhaps due to the overthrow of the government of Norodom Sihanouk
Norodom Sihanouk
Norodom Sihanouk regular script was the King of Cambodia from 1941 to 1955 and again from 1993 until his semi-retirement and voluntary abdication on 7 October 2004 in favor of his son, the current King Norodom Sihamoni...

 by Lon Nol
Lon Nol
Lon Nol was a Cambodian politician and general who served as Prime Minister of Cambodia twice, as well as serving repeatedly as Defense Minister...


The Khmer Rouge, 1975-1980

Although the Khmer Rouge
Khmer Rouge
The Khmer Rouge literally translated as Red Cambodians was the name given to the followers of the Communist Party of Kampuchea, who were the ruling party in Cambodia from 1975 to 1979, led by Pol Pot, Nuon Chea, Ieng Sary, Son Sen and Khieu Samphan...

 printed banknotes these notes were not issued as money was abolished after the Khmer Rouge took control of the country.

Fifth Issue 1975 - 0.1 Riel (1 Kak), 0.5 Riel (5 Kak), 1 Riel, 5 Riel, 10 Riel, 50 Riel, 100 Riel

Second riel, 1980-

After the Vietnamese invasion in 1978, the riel was re-established as the Cambodian currency on April 1, 1980, initially at a value of 4 riel = 1 U.S. dollar
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

. It is subdivided into 10 kak (កាក់) or 100 sen. Because there was no money for it to replace and a severely disrupted economy, the central government gave away the new money to the populace in order to encourage its use.

In rural areas the riel is used for virtually all purchases, large and small. However, the United States dollar is also used, particularly in urban Cambodia and tourist areas. In Battambang
Battambang is the capital city of Battambang province in northwestern Cambodia.Battambang is the second-largest city in Cambodia with a population of over 250,000. Founded in the 11th century by the Khmer Empire, Battambang is well known for being the leading rice-producing province of the country...

 and other areas near the Thai
Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

 border, like Pailin
Pailin is a province at the northern edge of the Cardamom Mountains, in the west of Cambodia near the border of Thailand. This province is surrounded by Battambang Province, and was officially carved out of Battambang to become a separate administrative division after the surrender of the Ieng...

, the Thai baht is also accepted.

Sixth Issue 1979 - 0.1 Riel (1 Kak), 0.2 Riel (2 Kak), 0.5 Riel (5 Kak), 1 Riel, 5 Riel, 10 Riel, 20 Riel, 50 Riel

Seventh Issue 1987 - 5 Riel, 10 Riel

Eighth Issue 1990-92 - 50 Riel, 100 Riel, 500 Riel

Ninth Issue 1992-93 - 200 Riel, 1000 Riel[*], 2000 Riel[*]

Tenth Issue 1995 - 1000 Riel, 2000 Riel, 5000 Riel, 10,000 Riel, 20,000 Riel, 50,000 Riel, 100,000 Riel

Eleventh Issue 1995-99 - 100 Riel, 200 Riel, 500 Riel, 1000 Riel

Twelfth Issue 2001-08 - 50 Riel, 100 Riel, 500 Riel, 1000 Riel, 2000 Riel, 5000 Riel, 10,000 Riel, 20,000 Riel, 50,000 Riel

Current Issued Banknotes

50 Riel - 2002
100 Riel - 2001
500 Riel - 2002/04
1000 Riel - 2005/07
2000 Riel - 2007
5000 Riel - 2001/02/04/07
10,000 Riel - 2001/05/06
20,000 Riel - 2008
50,000 Riel - 2001

[*] Unissued
Image Value Dimensions Main Colour Description Date of
Obverse Reverse Obverse Reverse printing issue withdrawal lapse
50 Riels Yellow 13th current
100 Riels 13th current
500 Riels 13th current
1000 Riels 13th current
2000 Riels 13th current
5000 Riels 13th current
10000 Riels 13th current
20000 Riels 13th current
50000 Riels 13th current


The first coins were 5 sen pieces, minted in 1979 and made of aluminum. No more coins were minted until 1994, when denominations of 50, 100, 200, and 500 riel were introduced. However, these are no longer commonly found in circulation.

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