Today I sorted all my coins because I wanted to bring all my Singaporean small change to a cash deposit machine to change it into ACTUAL MONEY I CAN USE. I have always been notoriously bad with using up my small change before I leave a country. Last year during one of the times I had to go through a customs checkpoint, I hastily put all my excess foreign currency in an old sock because there were just so many coins left over, and at the customs they made me take the offending coin-filled sock out of my bag and asked me to empty it into a tray so they could examine its metallic contents closely. Sad to say they had the rare treat of sifting through hundreds and hundreds of dirty coins stuffed into a big old dirty sock. "Why did you put your coins in your socks? When filled like this, it looks like it could be used as a weapon!" They told me balefully. "I'm sorry", I apologised, gathering up the handfuls of coins and stuffing them back into my ever-expanding sock, "but, its just that I had so many coins to take with me suddenly!"
I believe I actually left most of my excess and incredibly heavy Euro coins in the G-box in London, but the main reason why I wanted to tabulate all my coins was because I was curious as to which country all my euro coins came from. They could conceivably come from any european country that had bought into the Euro (with the exception of the UK), and I have always found it fascinating to imagine all these coins travelling within Europe in people's pockets and dashboards, just like when one is speeding on the autobahn and sees all these EU car plates on big trucks and the cars of all the other travellers - and sees that they have come from somewhere far away in continental Europe! When I go back I plan to tabulate my big bag of Euros to see where they were originally minted. If I could, it would have been interesting if one could have done a control experiment to map the circulation and movement of Euro coins within Europe, although since the euro was actually first introduced over 10 years ago, I'll bet its pretty scattered by now...
A couple interesting coins from Debbie's random pile of foreign small change were: (1) a "Nuevo Peso" from Mexico; (2) a New Pence from the UK in 1971; (3) a 10 grozny coin from Poland, one of the tiniest coins in my collection; (4) and a mysterious minimalist Swiss Franc. More details on these after the table...
|No.||Value||Type||Origin||Year||Where Did Debbie Pick It Up?|
|12||5.00||Rappen||Switzerland||1983||Unknown. Perhaps from Lukas?|
|13||5.00||Yen||Japan||1975||Unknown. No leads.|
|17||5.00||HKD||Hong Kong||1998||Hong Kong|
|18||5.00||HKD||Hong Kong||1998||Hong Kong|
|19||5.00||HKD||Hong Kong||1993||Hong Kong|
|20||2.00||HKD||Hong Kong||1993||Hong Kong|
|21||0.50||HKD||Hong Kong||1997||Hong Kong|
|22||0.50||HKD||Hong Kong||1998||Hong Kong|
|23||0.20||HKD||Hong Kong||1998||Hong Kong|
|24||0.20||HKD||Hong Kong||1997||Hong Kong|
|25||0.20||HKD||Hong Kong||1997||Hong Kong|
|33||0.20||Ringgit||Malaysia||2007||Johor Bahru, Malaysia|
|34||0.10||Ringgit||Malaysia||2012||Johor Bahru, Malaysia|
|35||0.10||Ringgit||Malaysia||2002||Johor Bahru, Malaysia|
|36||0.10||Ringgit||Malaysia||2004||Johor Bahru, Malaysia|
|37||0.01||Ringgit||Malaysia||1991||Johor Bahru, Malaysia|
|38||0.01||Ringgit||Malaysia||2005||Johor Bahru, Malaysia|
|39||0.01||Ringgit||Malaysia||2004||Johor Bahru, Malaysia|
|48||500.00||Won||South Korea||1994||Seoul, South Korea|
|49||500.00||Won||South Korea||1984||Seoul, South Korea|
|50||500.00||Won||South Korea||1984||Seoul, South Korea|
|51||500.00||Won||South Korea||2011||Seoul, South Korea|
|52||100.00||Won||South Korea||2011||Seoul, South Korea|
|53||100.00||Won||South Korea||2007||Seoul, South Korea|
|54||100.00||Won||South Korea||2004||Seoul, South Korea|
|55||100.00||Won||South Korea||1996||Seoul, South Korea|
|56||100.00||Won||South Korea||2010||Seoul, South Korea|
|57||100.00||Won||South Korea||2008||Seoul, South Korea|
|58||100.00||Won||South Korea||2002||Seoul, South Korea|
|59||100.00||Won||South Korea||1998||Seoul, South Korea|
|60||100.00||Won||South Korea||2006||Seoul, South Korea|
|61||100.00||Won||South Korea||2008||Seoul, South Korea|
|62||100.00||Won||South Korea||2007||Seoul, South Korea|
|63||100.00||Won||South Korea||2010||Seoul, South Korea|
|64||100.00||Won||South Korea||2010||Seoul, South Korea|
|65||100.00||Won||South Korea||2002||Seoul, South Korea|
|66||100.00||Won||South Korea||1996||Seoul, South Korea|
|67||100.00||Won||South Korea||2006||Seoul, South Korea|
|68||100.00||Won||South Korea||2001||Seoul, South Korea|
|69||10.00||Won||South Korea||1991||Seoul, South Korea|
|70||10.00||Won||South Korea||2007||Seoul, South Korea|
|71||50.00||Won||South Korea||1997||Seoul, South Korea|
Mexico's "Nuevo Peso" - amongst all my 1 peso coins, one coin from 1992 had a N in front of it. Apparently the Nuevo Peso was mainly created during a period of hyperinflation in 1993 when the Mexican Peso had to be stripped of 3 zeros from its value. The internet indicates the period of use was 1993-1996, after which they made the rest of the non-Nuevo pesos that were minted after that date look more or less the same, so as not to confuse anyone. Interesting that despite the fact that I only spent a short time in Mexico (of about 3 weeks), one of the coins that I came into contact with was a Nuevo Peso coin, which has led now to me reading up about Mexico's hyperinflation and also the other uses of the coin in the other countries. It was apparently briefly legal tender in 19th century Siam, where it was flooded with foreign traders and was thus exchanged at the rate of 3 pesos to 1 thai baht. Unsurprisingly, it also had some history of being used in the US. I am more surprised about the asian connection because I was convinced that most of Asia did not accept Mexican pesos as legal tender - to the point that it was impossible for me to find any money changers in Singapore to change my *ahem* large accumulations of Mexican Pesos back into a currency I could actually use outside of Mexico. The same was experienced by friends in Indonesia...
UK's "NEW PENCE" - When I first picked this up to look at it, I couldn't believe it. How could I have not noticed the circulation of a "NEW PENCE" coin all this while! But apparently in February 1971, when 2p coins were first introduced, they were labeled NEW in order to prevent confusion and to alert everyone to the fact that they were, well, NEW! However, after over ten years of issuing "NEW" pences willynilly, this changed after 1982 (1983 onwards) and they were stamped TWO PENCE instead. The internet understandably is agog with people like me having NEVER ever realising there was a NEW PENCE despite probably having handled a fair amount of pences in my time - but there's no need to run all the way to the Antiques Roadshow over most of these NEW PENCE coins; they will be worth just facevalue (ie: 2p) unless they're one of the rare misprints which date back to 1983 in specific, when a batch of 2p coins were still mistakenly stamped as NEW pences.
Poland's "GROZNY" - The grozny is a subdivision of the złoty, a currency whose name I still cannot adequately pronounce to this day. On a holiday to Krakow some years ago, I was horrified to be unable to adequately pronounce it to any polish people or shopowners I met. I would say it repeatedly and no one would have a clue what I was saying, or that I was even talking about money, or trying to ask them "EKCUZ ME, HOW MANY ZLOTY?". Anyway, this 10 grozny is a tenth of a złoty, and is probably one of the smallest and thinnest coin in the collection. I find it interesting that for some currencies, sometimes coins of this denomination are usually smaller in size than coins of smaller value than itself. For example, an American dime is smaller than a 5 cents coin. Another thing is that although Poland was supposed to slowly adopt the Euro, I quickly found out that although it was accepted in some shops, only "high-end" shops wanted to accept the Euro on credit cards, but everything else, like your affordable hole-in-the-wall cabbage and chicken soup places and sleepy small shops would only take złoty.
Switzerland's RAPPEN - I don't know why I have it. I have the vaguest impression that perhaps it had been given to me by a Swiss-german friend, but the intricacies of German-german, austrian-german, swiss-german are things that I still don't fully understand to this day. It is truly, a very minimal Swiss Franc though, and quite mysterious with as few words as possible, just a big beautiful number 5 on one side. Mysterious....