Philippine Peso Coins and Banknotes

Philippine Coins and Banknotes

A Theory on the Origin of the Peso Sign

Where did the peso sign originate? What is its history? Below is my hypothesis on how the two horizontal lines found their way into the P.

The Philippine peso was established on May 1, 1852, when the Banco EspaƱol-Filipino de Isabel (now the Bank of the Philippine Islands) introduced notes denominated in pesos fuertes. Pesos fuertes meant strong pesos and was written as PF.

The peso fuerte eventually replaced the Spanish real at a rate of 8 reales = 1 peso. Until 1886, the PF circulated alongside Mexican coins, some still denominated in reales and escudos (worth 2 pesos). The Mexican coins were eventually phased out by Philippine colonial authorities in 1886.

Soon enough, the peso fuerte became known simply as peso. Similarly, writing the two letters P and F became cumbersome which prompted people to join them into a single symbol which eventually evolved into the Philippine Peso sign that we know today - a P crossed by two horizontal lines.

Makes sense right? Now, due to the lack of font support, the symbol is often substituted with a simple P, a P with one horizontal line instead of two, PHP, or PhP.


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Francis said...

Hi guys! I'm a coin collector and an amateur historian. As nice as this theory is, this is not the origin of the peso sign (₱).

The peso sign was originally designed in 1902 by Charles A. Conant, the architect of the American colonial monetary system.

At the time, the Philippine Peso, like its Mexican counterpart, used the dollar sign ($) for its currency even though they were pesos.

Conant realized that unless a new monetary sign was created, having two different currencies using the same symbol would cause confusion in the new American colony because people could not tell at a glance if prices were in US dollars or Philippine pesos.

So in his recommendations to US Congress, he devised a symbol using 'P' overstruck with '=' sign.

There is no connection to the pesos fuertes.

For more information, go down to the ayala or ortigas libraries and search for Conant's reports.

Anonymous said...

hey francis,
your post is genuinely interesting, and I think it belongs in wikipedia, in
the 'Philippine' peso article.
(they will ask for a proper citation tho)

It is very certainly strange indeed that the peso sign is unique to us and your post explains it very well.

Silverfish2910 said...

I did add some things to the peso article in Wikipedia, unfortunately, other people rearranged the format so now I'll have to hunt over my info.

They did leave the fact that the peso has lost 99.99998% of its original value since the opening of the Bangko Sentral in 1949 as a result of printing all the money the politicos hand out to their supporters since then.

Okay, first book to read is "A History of Money and Banking in the United States" by Murray N. Rothbard.

Good book. He doesn't sugarcoat how the new currency was designed to allow the US complete control over our financial concerns. They did the same thing in Cuba, but the plan failed since the Cubans were more anti-American than we were.

Next up is "Currency in the Philippines" by the man himself, Charles Arthur Conanat.

I have joined an upcoming online newspaper: The New Commonwealth Herald and it will feature Philippine numismatics, history, and other monetary concerns in the financial section. This way, when the ordinary papers scream about "Crisis! Crisis! Why? Why? Why?!", we can point out how the darn thing started in the first place and by whom and how to get out of the mess... usually by reversing what happened. Its sure to step on people's toes.

We're always looking for new writers. Do you know anyone who wants to? Check our site for details or email

And yes, the guy who owns this blog is invited specifically, but he'd have to update his blog a bit more regularly first!

jarod said...

since they put the F on front of the P.

Azrael, God of Entropy said...

This might surprise a lot of Filipinos but...

The $ sign, commonly today referred to as "Dollar sign" should be referred to as "Peso sign".

Why? This is the long explanation »»»

When the 13 British colonies of America won their independence from the Empire, they continued using the British pound(£) but eventually, they needed a symbol for their new money.

Sorry to say this, but the young United States of America "borrowed" then eventually "stole" the $ symbol from the Spanish colonies which was correctly referred to as Peso. The United States even had the gall to rename it to dollar.

As time went by, the United States became powerful in every way, and the former Spanish colonies became weak in every way. The U.S. proudly propagandized her stolen monetary symbol everywhere she went
and eventually the whole world came to accept the $ to mean "Dollar".

This didn't stop some former Spanish colonies because until today, they still refer to the $ sign as Peso.

Sadly, the ₱ sign, so endearing to Filipinos, is actually a result of bullying by an economic superpower - making the Philippine peso look like the $ sign when in fact Philippine Peso should be displayed like this, $999.99 or P$ 999.99 and not ₱999.99.

Okay, I'm still angry. Let's go further than this. Where did the $ sign come from anyway?

According to some so-called theories, the double stroke $ sign came from combining the letters U and S (as in "United States" / "Uncle Sam") with the bottom of the U removed. The single stroke $ sign is a simplified (lazy-fied) version. This is a stoopid theory made for gullible people.

This is the Truth (with a capital T) »»»

The double stroke $ sign is a very ancient mark to refer to the heraldic components of the Spanish royalty (that's why the $ is Spanish). It symbolizes the Pillars of Hercules enveloped by an S-shaped floating banner with the Latin words meaning to "Go Beyond".

The Pillars of Hercules refers to the southern tip of Spain and the northern tip of Morocco. Between it is the Strait of Gibraltar through which the waters of the Mediterranean opens into the Atlantic.

Hence the motto "Go Beyond" as in go beyond the confines of the Mediterranean beyond the Pillars of Hercules beyond the Atlantic into the Land of Plenty.

The single stroke $ sign on the other hand is a rendition of both the Caduceus (symbol of Mercury/Hermes/Thoth, the God of Speed, Information, and Commerce) and the Rod of Asclepius, the God of Health.

That's why the United States stole the $ symbol from the Spaniards coz whoever controls this symbol, controls the Political, Economic, and Cultural framework of the world using "speed, information, money, and, yes, good health.

Jeox said...

Hi there!!! Im an Art student, and im fascinated by History, esp. learning Philippines History and the Designs and Arts involving our history, it made sense that there is such a blog like this, you have a very great talent on digging out very history info you can gather. Nice work!!!

hector cadena said...

i have rare 5piso year 2000 coins (3 types).
type 1 is the regular coin.
type 2 has excess gear tooth on reverse.
type 3 has fat gen. aguinaldo on obverse.
some say they dont exist, but i have them.
have comment?

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