RE: Traditional dollar sign

From: Simon Butcher (
Date: Sat Oct 25 2003 - 18:02:02 CST


> >I was taught at school that the double-bar form was used
> when Australia
> >switched to decimal currency in 1966, and that it was
> incorrect to write
> >the single-bar form when referring to Australian dollars.
> It would be interesting if you could document that.

That could be tough :) Literature shown to me was at school (many years
ago), and digging it up would be difficult. It's widely known that the
double-bar form does exist, though, at least!

> >I guess the single-bar form had taken over due to the lack
> of support from
> >type-faces and computing devices, although it's still quite
> common to see
> >it in Australian publications, especially in large fonts (headlines,
> >advertising, etc).
> It looks like actual practice is what you describe: the free
> alternation
> between the form without change in meaning.
> If we were to add a code point we would get into the
> situation that the
> free alternation would suddenly become a matter of content
> difference (not
> just a choice in presentation). In other cases where the
> majority of users
> freely alternate, but there is indication that some subset of
> users need to
> maintain a form distinction we have used standardized
> variants. This has
> been done mostly for mathematical symbols.

I understand, although couldn't that same argument be used against many
of the characters in the 'Dingbats' section, such as the ornamental
variations of exclamation marks, quotation marks, and so forth? I do
realise these come from an existing character set, but there are indeed
still users of the double-bar form. Even my Concise Oxford Dictionary is
printed using the double-bar form (under the term, 'dollar').

I just thought it extremely odd that a character which is still in
common (albeit admittedly waning) use is not included in the set. Peter
Kirk made a valid observation with regards to the Lira symbol (U+20A4)
which Unicode admits often has U+00A3 (Pound sign) used in its place,
with the only difference being a double-bar on U+20A4.


 - Simon

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