Russia for example did not participate under its own flag in the Olympic games because of an ongoing doping ban till 2022. So participants entered as representatives of Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) this time and won 20 gold medals out of a total of 71 to rank fifth in the games this time. Kar on his exhibition has displayed a paper currency of Russia from the time of Nicholas II in 1909. “This was the last currency issued by him. After this period, revolutions started and currencies were not in vogue in Russia for a long time,” Kar explained.
Similarly, Taiwan entered the Olympics as Chinese Taipei. After the second world war when Japan lost, China took control over the country and till 1979 it was not allowed to participate in any international event. The exhibition displays a 1949 currency of Taiwan which is a uniface currency meaning that it is printed on one side and the other side is white. Chinese Taipei won 12 medals, of which two are gold medals.
This time Kosovo, a small country of 10,000 square kilometres won two gold medals. Kar has displayed a currency of that country from a time when it had broken from Yugoslavia and had borrowed Macedonian currency, only to print its own name and denomination in black, because it did not have currency printing infrastructure of its own.
The exhibition has a rare currency of Puerto Rico from 1895. The country stopped using its own Peso notes since 1911 and now uses only USD. “It’s a small country of just over 9000 kilometres but has won one gold,” Kar explained, holding up the rare currency in his collection. But perhaps San Marino, a country of just 61.2 square kilometres was one of the biggest surprises this year with its three medals. Till the 1860s it had its own Lira but thereafter it started depending on the Italian Lira. “I have shown a Lira from 1976 which almost looks like a bank cheque,” Kar said.
Kar has also exhibited a 1944 Philippines Peso to celebrate their four medals in the Tokyo Olympics.
“The Spanish conquered Philippines and introduced coins in 1521. In 1861 a mint was established to make standardised coins. In 1898 the country won independence and made its first currency replacing the erstwhile Filipino Peso,” Kar explained.