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The spesmilo sign

The spesmilo (pronounced [spesˈmilo], plural spesmiloj [spesˈmiloi̯]) is an obsolete decimal international currency, proposed in 1907 by René de Saussure and used before the First World War by a few British and Swiss banks, primarily the Ĉekbanko esperantista.

The spesmilo was equivalent to one thousand spesoj, and worth 0.733 grams of pure gold (0.8 grams of 22 karat gold), which at the time was about one-half United States dollar, two shillings in Britain, one Russian ruble, or 2½ Swiss francs. On 17 November 2011, that quantity of gold would be worth about $40 USD,[1] £26 GBP,[2] 1251 rubles,[3] and 37 Swiss francs.[4]

The basic unit, the speso (from Italian spesa or German Spesen;[5] spesmilo is Esperanto for "a thousand spesos"), was purposely made very small to avoid fractions.


The Spesmilo character, called Spesmilsigno in Esperanto, is a monogram of a cursive capital "S", from whose tail emerges an "m".[6] The currency sign is often typeset as the separate letters Sm.[7] The character has been assigned the Unicode codepoint U+20B7 spesmilo sign (HTML: ₷) [8] and is included in Unicode version 5.2.[9]

See also[edit]

  • The stelo was another currency unit used by the Universala Ligo from 1942 to the 1990s.
  • An Esperanto version of the board game Monopoly uses play money in denominations of spesmiloj.[10]


  1. ^ XE.com exchange rate XAU to USD. 17 November 2011.
  2. ^ XE.com exchange rate XAU to GBP. 17 November 2011.
  3. ^ XE.com exchange rate XAU to RUB. 17 November 2011.
  4. ^ XE.com exchange rate XAU to CHF. 17 November 2011.
  5. ^ Cherpillod, André (2007). Konciza Etimologia Vortaro (in Esperanto). Universala Esperanto-Asocio. p. 432. ISBN 9789290170822. 
  6. ^ Proposal to encode the Esperanto SPESMILO SIGN in the UCS, by Michael Everson
  7. ^ Esperanto and the Dream of a World Currency
  8. ^ Proposed New Characters - Pipeline Table
  9. ^ Andrew West, BabelStone: What's new in Unicode 5.2?
  10. ^ Monopolo

External links[edit]