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Opinion
John Authers

Will the Dollar Always Rule? Ask the Archduke

The Austro-Hungarian krone had a far bigger international presence than the U.S. currency in 1914. The coronavirus could be another Sarajevo moment. 

The Austro-Hungarian krone meets its coronavirus moment.

The Austro-Hungarian krone meets its coronavirus moment.

Photographer: -/AFP/Getty Images

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In the summer of 1914, as the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo ushered in the First World War, the U.S. dollar was quoted and convertible in far fewer international markets than was the contemporary Austro-Hungarian krone. The moral: huge global events can mean swift and sudden change to the financial order.