Leftover Foreign Currency, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Spare

Got any spare change?

Spare Change

Funny that they call it “currency” because it seems to go out of date pretty quickly.

I’ve been tidying up for quite a while now, but even though I’m heading for a spare (simple) environment, I still keep spares (extras) of useful things. What hadn’t occurred to me until I saw this photo challenge?   — Change… spare change that is. And when it comes to pre-euro European currency, I can vouch for the fact that nobody wants it.

Before our trip to England in May, I found a stash of British currency that must have been from the 1980s. I found more traveler’s checks too, and in pounds — bonus!. I was singing “We’re in the money…” but then, when we got there, we had to find someone who’d take the traveler’s checks (thank you Post Office).

Leftover currency from New Zealand

More leftovers. Bob had just a small amount left from a 1990s business trip to New Zealand.

I had enough English currency to be a welcome addition to trip expenses, but it did require side-trips to the bank to exchange it for current — ok, “up-to-date” — currency. The old stuff was no longer spendable. In the countries on Euro, only a few banks will still exchange old currency at all. Last fall I took some leftover Belgian francs to Brussels. We spent time looking for the right bank, then learned they’d take only the larger bills. Sam thought I was joking when I said that, after the transaction fee, there might be enough for coffee.  Now I’m still left with the coins and small bills that my frugal nature doesn’t allow me to just throw away.

Coins from pre-Euro Greece

Sometimes we ended up with extra cash and kept it, thinking “we’ll be back” — and sometimes we ended up with just a souvenir amount. This little packet (with a note in Bob’s writing) was all we had leftover from Greece.

Even though it’s easy to use credit cards now, there are times it’s still good to have some cash. Tipping the cleaning staff springs to mind — I always sympathize with the maids. And in the future I’ll remember that some airlines collect extras for charity, so I could donate on the way home and avoid the spare change problem.

And this post? Late again, because it seems the only thing I don’t have enough to spare is time.

What do you do with spare foreign coins?  I’m thinking I’ll declare mine art material. A travel collage might be interesting…

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Spare

P.S. Anybody remember Scrooge McDuck? — I’m starting to feel the urge to play in piles of coins…

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31 thoughts on “Leftover Foreign Currency, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Spare

  1. I agree.bits and bobs of coins (excuse the pun) can be found around my house also, and I have no idea what to do with them. An old dressmaking trick was to sew heavy coins in the lining of curtains, to help them fall better, but some of these coins are too light for that, even.

    • Thanks for the tip – the jewelry looks really nice, and I do know a few people who make jewelry so will see if anyone would like to have coins. Also, I just looked on eBay and I see that people sell old non-collector coins (who knew!) – I had noticed that there were pre-Euro bills for sale and thought I might try listing some, but hadn’t thought to look there for coins. Thanks again!

  2. I love your caption. Indeed, why call it currency when coins and notes go out of date every now and again. Then again, some limited edition coins and bills can fetch for quite a bit today, and are worth quite a bit in the eyes of collectors. I have a stash of limited edition coins (from Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and a few other countries) at the back of my closet, and I wonder how much they are worth today.

    I always prefer cash over credit, and don’t own a credit card but a top-up debit card (this may change when I travel in the future). If I can’t pay something up front, I tell myself it means I cannot afford it (then again, things like cars and houses cost quite a bit…).

    • Sounds like you are wise to forego a credit card, but they do have some advantages (some protection on purchases, and a little ‘rewards’ percentage back, even extra airline miles) It was fun to have cash instead on this trip, but one more thing about cash: you really notice how fast it goes.
      Collectible coins would be a real bonus! I’m afraid mine are humdrum. Pretty though…

      • You are right in some instances credit card is an advantage, and some places accept card only and strictly no cash. I had to go for a few medical checkups over the last few weeks, and they would not hear of accepting cash.

        You never know. That humdrum collection could be worth more than you think.

      • Interesting that there are places that don’t want cash. (I hope your medical checkups came out fine)
        Collection-wise, my old currency is unlikely to be collectible, but as you say, “You never know!”

      • It is interesting places don’t want cash. But I suppose the less cash one has on premises, the less attractive they are to burglaries. These days there are desperate people who will go to the effort to steal a heavy cash register.

      • Yes, and travel-wise it’s safer to have a credit card (that has some limit on liability) than cash to carry around.
        Your comment reminded me that when I was a child, someone stole the cash register from my father’s business, and we drove around the countryside looking for it, in case they’d dumped it after taking the cash. He used to leave a only small amount in the register at night, but he wanted the register itself back. In retrospect, it was probably what we’d now call “collectible” but I think he just didn’t want to have to buy another one. (He didn’t find it)

      • I hope the register was recovered. Those things can be heavy. If not, hopefully your dad got a new one and went on with the business 🙂

      • I started wondering if I have pictures of the station, but I can only think of one, and it’s just the corner with the desk. Too bad, as kids, we don’t realize that later, it would be interesting to “see” our childhood environment. People take more photos now though, which will be fun for the future.

    • Connie! I love it, had even been thinking along those lines. After a British museum trip and viewing “hoards” that had been dug up in the UK over the millennia, I’ve been thinking a small but representative sample of the stuff I’m downsizing might make a fun time capsule to bury in the back yard. That’ll give some future archeologists a fun puzzle.
      .

  3. When we went decimal in 1973 (or thereabouts) I collected a whole pile of old pennies and glued them together and then varnished them to make a paperweight. If you don’t need a paperweight (few people do) or a bookend (even less) then all you are doing is adding to the clutter … but if you do need one 😉

    • I don’t really need a paperweight (though I like your idea) – what I need is less papers. But a bookend might work; I still have lots of books, still downsizing slowly in that category. Good ideas – thanks!

  4. I have a pile of ten shilling notes which I can’t bring myself to get rid off but I cannot for the life of me think what I can do with them. We also have a collection of odd currencies (all paper) from around the world that my late FIL stuffed into his pockets and forgot about during the forties and fifties. Some are extremely colourful, not like the dull money we have today.

    • Yes, there’s such a colorful variety of paper money that I can’t seem to let it go even though it’s no longer “negotiable”. If nothing else, I’ll keep it for collage purposes, maybe combine it with some posters or maps and even some of the coins or old photos, or paint, and make souvenir pictures. Or — how about this — we could make our own custom Monopoly games.

  5. I’m going to see what jewelry I can make from mine eventually. Mostly Canadian but some from all over Europe and Japan from relatives. If I don’t make anything, goes in a big bag to sell at a yard sale!

    • Sounds like you have a lot, maybe more than I have (but I discovered more paper money too, so would really like to figure out how to exchange some of it). I did notice I have several coins of the type with holes in the center – should be useful for jewelry. I’d love to see what you make so please let me know — thanks, Sandy

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