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|This article describes a currency traded on the global foreign exchange market. View articles referencing this currency.|
A single won is divided into 100 jeon, the monetary subunit. The jeon is no longer used for everyday transactions, and appears only in foreign exchange rates.
The won has been in use for thousands of years. During the Colonial era , the won was replaced at par by the yen, made up of the Korean yen. In 1945 after World War II, Korea became divided, resulting in two separate currencies, both called won, for the South and the North. Both the Southern won and the Northern won replaced the yen at par. The first South Korean won was subdivided into 100 jeon.
The South Korean won was initially pegged to the U.S. dollar at a rate of 15 won = 1 dollar. A series of devaluations followed, the later ones in part due to the Korean War
The Bank of Korea is the only institution in South Korea that has the right to print banknotes and mint coins. The banknotes and coins are printed at KOMSCO, a government-owned corporation, under the guidance of the Bank of Korea. After the new crisp banknotes and coins are printed/minted, they are bundled up in bundles/rolls and shipped to the Headquarters of the Bank of Korea. When delivered, the banknotes and coins are deposited inside the Bank's vault, ready to be distributed to commercial banks when requested. Every year, around Seollal and Chuseok, two major Korean holidays, the Bank of Korea distributes large amount of its currency to most of the commercial banks in South Korea, which are then given to their customers upon request.