The tiny Principality of Andorra is perched in the high mountains of the Pyrenees on the Iberian Peninsula. The sovereign ministate is wedged between France to the north and Spain to the south. With an area of 468 square kilometers, the country is the 16th-smallest in the world by land. It has a population of only about 77,006, making it the world’s 11th-smallest country by population.
This small nation has a highly-developed economy that relies on tourism, commerce, and finance. About 9 million tourists per year are estimated to visit Andorra, drawn by its duty-free status for selected commodities as well as its summer and winter destinations. Its manufacturing and export sectors are driven mainly by perfumes, cosmetics, machinery and equipment, furniture, tobacco products, and printing industry products. Meanwhile, with only 2% of its land being fertile, Andorra imports most of its food. Although not a European Union member, the country is part of the EU Customs Union, thus, treated as a member in manufactured goods and enjoys tariff-free exchange. However, for agricultural products, the country is considered a non-EU member.
Prior to moving to the euro, didn’t have a national currency and only used and accepted currencies from its neighbors, the French franc and the Spanish peseta. However, in 1936, there were a total of 50,000 pessetes worth of “vales” or promissory notes placed in circulation used for commercial transactions in Andorra. These notes are called Blue Issues, introduced by the General Council of the Valls d’Andorra (Consell General de les Valls d’Andorra) following the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. They are in 1 peseta, 2, 5, 10 pessetes denominations and feature the coat of arms on the obverse and the decree on the reverse with the emblem in the underprint. In 1937, the council released another set of vouchers called the Brown Issues. These notes bear the same design as the previous issues but the color scheme was changed to brown.
Andorra signed a monetary agreement with the EU on June 30, 2011, allowing the country to use the euro as its official currency. Since July 1, 2013, Andorra is authorized to issue euro coins as well.