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Wages Paid in Birds?


Quetzal stampGuatemala is the only country in the world with its currency named after a bird.
Rather a shame that other countries haven’t followed suit. If you live in America you might have Cuckoos in your bank account, in Britain you could pay your rent in Robins, in France your shopping could cost 20 Finches and you could get your Tits out for a  taxi fare in Italy.

In addition, the Central American Republic of Guatemala has featured what it adopted as its national bird on many postage stamps over the years. Indeed, as far back as 1879.

1881 examples

The bird in question is the Quetzal, particularly for Guatemala, the Resplendent Quetzal.

Male Quetzal
Quetzals are strikingly colored birds in the trogon family. They are found in forests and woodlands, especially in humid highlands.

In ancient Mayan culture, the quetzal’s tail feathers were used as currency. But the quetzal, and for smaller denominations centavos, were introduced as currency in note and coin form in 1925, replacing the peso.

International womens year
1975 International Women’s Year
Guatemala stamps Quetzak
2007 higher value commemoratives, 75 Years’ Guatemala Philately Association
Stamps guatemala
Above, set issued to celebrate the country’s 1953 National Fair – naturally the quetzal is included, on the 1Q stamp


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