Germany has a gold standard, and the mark, whose value is $0.208, is the unit of value. The 5-mark piece is the smallest gold coin. The 5-mark, 2-mark, 1-mark, 1/2-mark, and 1/5|-mark pieces are the silver coins. Germany has a paper money which includes the imperial treasury notes, and the bank notes of the Reichs-bank, a corporation owned by individual shareholders, but controlled by the government. The issue of notes of less than 100 marks in value is prohibited.
Austria-Hungary has recently established a monetary system making as the unit the gold crown, whose value is $0,203. The 10-crown and 20-crown pieces are in gold, and the crown and a half-crown pieces are in silver. However, there is very little metallic money in circulation. There is a paper currency issued by the Austro-Hungarian Bank in denominations of 10, 100, and 1,000 florins, and by the treasury in smaller denominations - this money is irredeemable. The value of the florin is two crowns, or about forty cents.
The Latin Union, including France, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, and Greece, has now a single gold standard, of which the franc, whose value is $0.1929, or nearly twenty cents, is the unit of value. The smallest gold coin is a 5-franc piece, equivalent to a dollar; in silver are the franc, the 2-franc, the half-franc, and the 20-centimes. The latter is one-fifth of a franc, or four cents. The coins of one country of the Union are received at par in all the others. France and Belgium have state banks which issue bank notes. In Belgium, individuals and associations are also free to issue bank notes on their own responsibility. Italy has no state bank, but there are in the country six banks which are authorized to issue notes payable on demand. The smallest denomination is 50-lire, in value, about 19 or 20 cents. Switzerland uses the coin of the Latin Union, and also has a state bank. Its central office is at Berne, and there are branches throughout the country.
In Greece there are three banks authorized to issue notes. But gold and silver reserves are so small that for many years gold has been at a premium.
In Spain the silver peseta, equivalent to the franc, or twenty cents in our money, is the monetary unit. The gold and silver coins are the same in Spain as the other countries of the Latin Union. The Bank of Spain is the only bank of issue in the country. It is a private institution, with certain government restrictions. The smallest note of issue has the value of 25-pesetas, in our money equal to nearly five dollars.
In Mexico there is a silver standard. The unit is the Mexican dollar, called el peso; and, under the name of piaster, it circulates in several countries in Central and South America, Asia, and Africa. Mexico has also a few gold coins in circulation, the smallest is equivalent to our gold dollar in value.