The Principality of Monaco is situated on the French Riviera on the Mediterranean Sea, near the western region of Italy, Liguria, in Western Europe. The sovereign microstate is bordered by France and has an area of only 2.1 square kilometers, making it the second-smallest sovereign state in the world. With a population of 19,009 inhabitants per square kilometer, the principality is the world’s most densely populated.
Monaco is a constitutional monarchy led by the head of state, Prince Albert II. It is one of the most expensive and richest nations, with more than 30% of its residents being millionaires. It is also known as a tax haven, offering no personal income tax and low business taxes. Its economic growth started during the late 19th century when the state opened its first casino, the Monte Carlo Casino, along with the railway to Paris. The gambling amenities as well as the state’s favorable climate, and landscapes are the key drivers that make Monaco a destination and center for recreation for the wealthy. Monaco’s banking sector has also contributed to diversifying its service-based economy.
Although not a European Union member, Monaco practices certain EU policies such as customs and borders controls. It has close ties with France and also uses the euro as its only official currency. Before the euro, the principality’s legal tender was the Monegasque franc which circulated with the French franc with the same value.
The only Monegasque paper bills issued were those emergency banknotes issued in 1920 to address the shortage of French coins after the First World War. These notes were known to be designed by F. Aureglia and printed by Imprimerie Veuve A. Chene. They were in denominations of 25 and 50 centimes, and 1 franc and were in brown, blue, and green-brown colors respectively. They featured the crowned coat of arms and a shield with a caduceus on the obverse. Meanwhile, the reverse depicts the Prince’s Palace of Monaco except for the 1-franc note that shows city buildings. Later, the 25-centime and 1-franc paper bills were reissued bearing the same design but violet and green-red colors.