How do I find older foreign exchange rates?

The Federal Reserve Bank has historical exchange rate data going back to 1996 for Release H. 10 by clicking on Release Dates at https://www.federalreserve.gov/releases/h10/current/ and G. 5 at https://www.federalreserve.gov/releases/g5/current/. You can view older release at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis’ FRASER project at:

  • H. 10 (1980’s-1990’s, weekly) 
  • G. 5 (1960’s – 1996, monthly) 

Also, local public library systems and university libraries may have resources. First, the Wall Street Journal printed exchange rates in the Money & Investing section. Look for access to microfiche format or through Proquest Historical Newspapers. Print books and periodicals may also be available for anyone looking for rates from the early 20th century and earlier. These are just a few of the titles:

British Historical Statistics by B.R. Mitchell.
Along with other economic and social statistical data, this title includes British foreign exchange rates for the period 1609-1980 on pages 700-703.

Currency Conversion Tables: a Hundred Years of Change by R. L. Bidwell.
Contains tables showing the value of major world currencies by year between 1914 and 1969 in relation to the U.S. dollar and the British pound.

International Financial Statistics Yearbook. International Monetary Fund. 1979 - present. Annual.
Includes exchange rates for national currencies from 1972 to the present per SDR (the unit of account for the International Monetary Fund, set in relation to the US dollar).

Money and Exchange in Europe and America, 1600-1775 : a handbook by John J. McCusker.
Covers exchange rates for the major European countries during the period as well as rates for the British and other New World colonies. Tables show rates by year and month as available.

World Currency Yearbook. c1985 - present. Annual.
Begun in 1955 as Pick's Currency Yearbook, the volume contains extensive information on the major world currencies, including official exchange rates per U.S. dollar for the latest 4 years available at time of publication.


Last Updated: Aug 01, 2020
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