What is SBD?

In currencies, this is the abbreviation for the Solomon Islands Dollar. It has been the currency of the Solomon Islands since 1977. The Central Bank of Solomon Islands issues it.

BREAKING DOWN SBD

The SBD uses the symbol SI$, to set it apart from other currencies that also use the dollar sign. The subunit of the SBD is the cent, of which it contains 100. Banknotes are issued in the most commonly used denominations of $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100, and the rarer denominations of $2 and $40. Coins are issued in denominations of 10, 20, and 50 cents, one dollar, and two dollars.

Key Takeaways

  • SBD is the abbreviation for the Solomon Islands Dollar.
  • It has been the currency of the Solomon Islands since 1977.
  • Banknotes were first issued in denominations of 2, 5, and 10 dollars, with 20-dollar notes appearing in 1980.

History of the SBD

When the SBD was introduced to the Solomon Islands in 1977, it replaced the Australian dollar as the official currency of the nation. Previous currencies included the Australian pound sterling, which was replaced by the Australian dollar in 1966; the Oceanian pound, a Japanese Invasion Currency used during the Japanese occupation of the islands during WWII; and the Solomon Islands pound.

From 1977 to 1979, the SBD and the Australian dollar enjoyed a one-to-one exchange rate. In 1979, the SBD was pegged at $1.05=A$1. Later, it was floated. Over the next 28 years, however, economic stagnation and inflation drove the value of the SBD down to just 15 Australian cents. In fact, by 2008, SBD coins had become little more than curiosities among the locals, many of whom hoarded them to give away or trade to travelers as souvenirs. In some parts of the Solomon Islands, dolphin teeth and other traditional forms of exchange are used in lieu of the SBD.

Coin Series

The original coin series of the SBD, introduced in 1977, included cent coins that corresponded in size, material, and weight to their Australian counterparts. The six original coins, minted in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, and 20 cents and one dollar, bore depictions of symbols, items, or figures important to Solomon Islands culture. For example, the ten-cent coin was minted with an image of Ngoreru, a Temoto sea god. In later series, the composition was changed to bronze-plated or nickel-clad steel, with the 50-cent piece being introduced in 1988 and the one and two-cent coins being phased out due to inflation. Currently, all coins bear the likeness of Queen Elizabeth II.

Banknotes

Banknotes were first issued in denominations of 2, 5, and 10 dollars, with 20-dollar notes appearing in 1980. Originally bearing the likeness of Queen Elizabeth II, banknotes now bear a depiction of the national crest, as well as scenes of daily life and cultural importance. Some of these scenes include fishing (on the two-dollar note), sailing in a longboat (on the five-dollar bill), weaving (on the ten-dollar bill), warriors (on the 20-dollar bill), and coconut harvesting (on the 100-dollar bill). 50-dollar notes were introduced in 1986, and 100-dollar notes in 2006. Beginning in 2006, the banknotes began to incorporate security features, such as a security thread woven through the note and tapered serial numbers.