What Is the Argentine Peso (ARP)?

The Argentine peso (ARP) is the former national currency of the Argentine Republic. It was introduced in June 1983 and was discontinued the following year following a severe period of devaluation.

Its replacer, the austral (ASA), was circulated until 1992. It was then replaced by the current national currency of Argentina, the Argentinian Nuevo peso (ARS).

Key Takeaways

  • The Argentine peso (ARP) is the now-defunct national currency of Argentina.
  • It was replaced in 1984 due to severe currency devaluation.
  • Argentina has changed currencies several times since then, due to high inflation and other chronic economic issues.

Understanding the ARP

Argentine currencies have experienced a turbulent history, characterized by periods of extreme devaluation and runaway hyperinflation. This has led the country to a series of currency reforms throughout recent Argentine history, as successive governments have sought to preserve the nation's purchasing power.

Historically, Argentine currency consisted of gold and silver Spanish coinage, which circulated during the period of colonial rule throughout the 1700s. These coins continued to be used in Argentina and neighboring countries until the late 1800s.

In 1826, the first convertible paper money was issued, which was known as the peso fuerte (ARF). This new currency was convertible to Spanish gold at a ratio of 17 pesos per Spanish ounce. However, it coexisted alongside another local currency known as the moneda corriente, or "everyday currency." As such, the national currency of Argentina was not standardized in this time period.

The government took steps to address this issue in 1881, combining the ARF and moneda corriente into a single currency known as the peso moneda nacional, or "national currency." Although this coin was initially minted with silver, this practice was discontinued following an economic crisis in 1890. During this turbulent period, the government also began issuing paper currency, beginning in 1881. However, these paper notes were abandoned in 1929 in the midst of continued economic difficulties.

As with the 1800s, the 1900s saw a series of new and failed Argentine currencies. In 1970, the moneda nacional was replaced by a new peso known as the peso ley (ARL), which was itself replaced in 1983 by the Argentine peso (ARP). However, the Argentine peso only lasted until 1985, when it was replaced by the Argentine austral (ARA). In 1992, the government replaced the austral with the current national currency of Argentina, the Argentinian Nuevo peso (ARS).

Real World Example of the ARP

When it was introduced in 1983, the ARP replaced the previous peso ley at an exchange rate of 1 ARP per 10,000 peso ley. Users of the currency would prefix monetary values with the symbol "$a."

The ARP was divided into 100 subunits of pesos. Its coins came in denominations of 1, 5, 10, and 50 pesos. Upon its introduction in 1983, the ARP had banknotes denominated in units of one, five, 10, 50, and 100 pesos. However, in 1984, additional banknotes with values of 500 and 5,000 pesos were introduced. In 1985, an additional 10,000 peso banknote was created.