Exchange Currency

Argentine peso

The peso is the currency of Argentina, identified by the symbol $ preceding the amount in the same way as many countries using dollar currencies. It is subdivided into 100 centavos and the ISO 4217 code is ARS. Several earlier currencies of Argentina were also called „peso”; as inflation progressed a new currency with a few zeroes dropped and a different qualifier was introduced. Since 1969 thirteen zeroes have been dropped.

In recent times the exchange rate hovered around 3 pesos per United States dollar from 2002 to 2008, and was around 4 pesos from 2009 to 2011. The country’s current account surplus has required periodic dollar purchases by the Central Bank of Argentina to keep the value of the peso relatively undervalued for export competitiveness.

Summary info

Summary information about Argentine peso
ISO 4217 Code:
Currency sign:
1 centavo, 5 centavos, 10 centavos, 25 centavos, 50 centavos, 1 peso
2 pesos, 5 pesos, 10 pesos, 20 pesos, 50 pesos, 100 pesos
Central bank:
Central Bank of Argentina


Juan Diaz de Solis was the first Spaniard to explore the River Plate estuary. Argentina was part of the Vice Royalty of Peru until August 1, 1776, when the Vice Royalty of Rio de la Plata was established. The independence movement began in 1806 and by 1810 Buenos Aires had come under the control of Argentinian patriots. On July 9, 1816, the United Provinces of the Rio Plate, which included Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, declared their independence from Spain. The national government of Argentina collapsed in 1820, followed by the establishment of the Argentine Confederation on January 4, 1831. The national government collapsed again on December 12, 1861, but Argentina was reestablished as a republic on April 12, 1862.

Spanish Escudo coins (XESE) were used in Argentina while it was a Spanish viceroyalty, using silver from Peru and elsewhere. The Escudo was divisible into 2 Pesos, 16 Reales (Soles) or 544 Maravedis. From 1816 until 1852, provinces had some degree of political autonomy, and some of the provinces issued coins and banknotes, denominated in National Pesos (XARP). The first coins were issued under the name “Provinces of the River Plate” between 1813 and 1815. Coins were also issued in Rioja, Mendoza, Tucuman, Buenos Aires and Cordoba.

The Argentine Confederation (excluding Buenos Aires) was formed in 1852, and issued its own banknotes, as did the Province of Buenos Aires. During the 1800s, banknotes were issued by the provinces, by private banks, and by a system of national banks. The Peso Fuerte (ARF) was issued by the central government after unification.

A decimal system of coinage was introduced in 1875, though coins weren’t minted until 1881. The Gold Peso (ARG) included the larger denominations Medio (2.5 pesos), Argentino (5 Pesos) and Onza (16 Pesos). The Peso was primarily divisible into 100 Centavos, but it was also divisible into 10 Decimos and 1000 Milesimos. The peso was at par with the Franc of the Latin Monetary Union.

Paper inflation soon followed, and in 1899 a Paper Peso (ARM) (known after 1933 as the Peso Moneda Nacional) was introduced at a rate of 1 Paper Peso equals 0.44 Gold Pesos (ARG). Argentina used a currency board from 1902-1914 and 1927-1929. From the 1930s on, the Peso steadily depreciated. Argentina tried to control the currency with multiple exchange rates for imports and exports, but because Argentina had one of the most persistent inflations of the twentieth century, multiple exchange rates were periodically expanded, abolished, reintroduced and abolished once again for each of its currencies.

The Peso Ley 18.188 (ARL) replaced the Peso Moneda Nacional at 1 Peso Ley equal to 100 Peso Moneda Nacional on January 1, 1970; the Peso Argentino (ARP-Ley 22.707) replaced the Peso Ley on June 1, 1983 at 1 Peso Argentino equal to 10,000 Peso Ley; the Austral (ARA-Decreto 1096/85) replaced the Peso Argentino on June 14, 1985 at 1 Austral equal to 1000 Peso Argentino; and the Peso Convertible (ARS-Decreto 2128/91) replaced the Austral on January 1, 1992 at 1 Peso Convertible equal to 10,000 Australes. The Peso Convertible was pegged to the Dollar at par when a currency board was established on April 1, 1991, ending decades of inflation. In December 2001, a new currency, the Argentino, was proposed as a third currency alongside the Peso and US Dollar, but it was never introduced. On January 6, 2002, the Peso Convertible broke its link to the US Dollar.

Banknotes were issued by the Banco Nacional from 1884 until 1890, by the Banco de la Nacion Argentina from 1891 until 1899, by the Caja de Conversion from 1899 until 1935, and by the Banco Central de Argentina since 1935.

Amounts in earlier pesos were sometimes preceded by a ”$” sign and sometimes, particularly in formal use, by symbols identifying that it was a specific currency, for example $m/n100 or m$n100 for pesos moneda nacional. The peso introduced in 1992 is just called peso (sometimes peso convertible), and is written preceded by a ”$” sign only. Earlier pesos replaced currencies also called peso, and sometimes two varieties of peso coexisted, making it necessary to have a distinguishing term to use, at least in the transitional period; the 1992 peso replaced a currency with a different name, austral.


In 1992, 1-, 5-, 10-, 25- and 50-centavo coins were introduced, followed by 1 peso in 1994. The 1-centavo coins were last minted in 2001 and they have been withdrawn from circulation.


By virtue of Executive Order No. 2128, dated October 10, 1991, the PESO LINE became legal tender as from January 1, 1992. According to that order, each new peso was equivalent to ten thousand australes, the former legal tender line. The peso could be exchanged for US dollars at a one-to-one rate established to continue with the provisions of the Austral Convertibility Law No. 23928, dated March 27, 1991. The banknotes that were issued back then read “convertible legal tender.”

Banknotes have a 155 mm wide, 65 mm tall standard size. They are manufactured with 100% cotton fiber paper weighing 83 g/m2, which is non-fluorescent under UV light. They are printed in three consecutive stages, using offset, intaglio and letterpress printing.

Five years from its issuance, some changes were made to this line, including improved engravings, a higher g/m2 ratio (90 g/m2) paper, and the inclusion of a cylindrical mould watermark reproducing the note portrait in the same direction.

Section 3 of the Law No. 25561 on Public Emergency and Exchange Rate Regime Reform, dated January 6, 2002, repealed Sections 1 and 2 of the Austral Convertibility Law. Therefore, the phrase “convertible legal tender” was removed from peso banknotes.

All ARS banknotes bearing that inscription, however, are still in circulation and valid as a means of payment.

ARS banknotes pictures gallery

2 peso
Banknote of 2 peso has dimensions 155x65 mm and main colors are platinum, pale gold, pastel blue and isabelline. The 2 peso banknote design reviews the life of Bartolomé Mitre (1821–1906).
2 peso (Obverse)
Obverse side of the 2 peso is showing the portrait of Bartolomé Mitre, a replica of a hand-written text from „History of Belgrano and the Independence of Argentina” and an illustration of Mitre's house front door.
2 peso (Reverse)
Reverse side of the 2 peso is showing Mitre’s house (an exponent of nineteenth-century residential architecture), a summary of his biography in microprinting and his name’s initials

5 peso
Banknote of 5 peso has dimensions 155x65 mm and main colors are tan, myrtle, dark gray and platinum. The 5 peso banknote design reviews the life of General José de San Martín (1778–1850).
5 peso (Obverse)
Obverse side of the 5 peso is showing the portrait of José de San Martín, a replica of General San Martín’s will and reproduces „The Maipú Embrace” painting.
5 peso (Reverse)
Reverse side of the 5 peso is showing a summary of the hero’s biography in microprinting, the Order of the Liberator’s medal the Andes Army Monument.

10 peso
Banknote of 10 peso has dimensions 155x65 mm and main colors are pale gold, platinum, beaver, khaki and burlywood. The 10 peso banknote design reviews the life of General Manuel Belgrano.
10 peso (Obverse)
Obverse side of the 10 peso is showing the portrait of Manuel Belgrano, a replica of a report by General Belgrano to the Government of the United Provinces of the River Plate (May 29, 1812) and of A. Bigatti’s „The Standard-Bearer Homeland”.
10 peso (Reverse)
Reverse side of the 10 peso is showing a National Flag Monument, a summary of the national hero’s biography in microprinting, a drum and a typical knitted trim from Northern Argentina.

20 peso
Banknote of 20 peso has dimensions 155x65 mm and main color are pale chestnut, dark khaki, wheat and wine. The 20 peso banknote design reviews the life of Juan Manuel de Rosas (1793–1877).
20 peso (Obverse)
Obverse side of the 20 peso is showing the portrait of Juan Manuel de Rosas and image of his daughter (Manuela Robustiana de Rosas y Ezcurra).
20 peso (Reverse)
Reverse side of the 20 peso is showing a summary of the national hero’s biography in microprinting, a reproduction of the military trophies featured in the eight-real coin of 1840. It also features the Anglo-French forces blockade the River Plate and sail up the Paraná River, protecting a trade convoy.

50 peso
Banknote of 50 peso has dimensions 155x65 mm and main colors are desert sand, khaki, payne’s grey and ash grey. The 50 peso banknote design reviews the life of Domingo Faustino Sarmiento (1811–1888).
50 peso (Obverse)
Obverse side of the 50 peso is showing the portrait of Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, a reproduction of Vida de Dominguito (Little Domingo’s life) and the biography of his foster son killed in the Battle of Curupaytí (September 22, 1866).
50 peso (Reverse)
Reverse side of the 50 peso is showing the Government House, the seat of the Executive branch of government and features a summary of the national hero’s biography in microprinting and motifs evoking his various activities.

100 peso
Banknote of 100 peso has dimensions 155x65 mm and main colors are rose quartz, desert sand, pearl and pale chestnut. The 100 peso banknote design reviews the life of Julio Argentino Roca (1843–1914).
100 peso (Obverse)
Obverse side of the 100 peso is showing the portrait of Julio Argentino Roca and a replica of a letter Roca sent to Miguel Cané, the then ambassador to Austria (1883-1885). It also evokes Argentine progress under the sun of the future.
100 peso (Reverse)
Reverse side of the 100 peso is showing the picture called „The Conquest of the Desert” by Uruguayan painter Juan M. Blanes (1830–1901), a summary of the hero’s biography in microprinting, some hand-written sheets of paper, the saber and a laurel branch evoke Roca as a statesman and military man.

Useful links

About Central Bank of Argentina:
Central Bank of Argentina
List of currencies:
Security and design features of ARS banknotes:
ARS banknotes
ARS currency on Wikipedia:
Argentine peso
Official Website of Central Bank of Argentina:
Commemorative coins:
Commemorative Coins