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Old 11-05-2013, 06:52 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Not strictly financial - but any currency/coin collectors here?

Hey all,

I'm getting a bit interested in collecting strange, interesting, weird, and otherwise noteworthy currencies. Anyone else do this? I'm looking for a some ideas of what I can look out for. I have a small stash of foreign and domestic currencies from my earlier childhood, and now that I'm nearing graduation (economics major / business minor - you can see where my interests are), I'm finding some interest in some of the more curious currencies of the world's history.

To give you some idea - I recently purchased an example of the infamous 100 Trillion Dollar bill from Zimbabwe, as the history behind the failed currency and economy fascinates me; nevermind the fact that it's just cool for being the highest-denomination paper currency ever utilized.

You guys have any other ideas for me? Anything from coins, to paper, to bartering tokens... it's all interesting to me, as long as there's a story or something peculiar about it (even just materials, designs, etc). Thanks guys!
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Old 11-05-2013, 08:21 PM   #2 (permalink)
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You'd probably be intrigued by the Vichy Franc coins from WWII. They are aluminum. The symbols and mottos compared to post-occupation coins of the same values I find very interesting.

US war nickels (Oct. 1942-1945) are made of a different alloy of silver, manganese, and copper to conserve nickel.

I'm going to go dig through my collection and see if I can come up with any more oddballs for you. I ought to have a couple.


So there's the 1883 Liberty Head nickel, whose denomination was noted by a large letter "V." Counterfeiters would gold-plate these and pass them off as $5 coins, so before the year was out the mint added the word "cents."

I enjoy collecting coins from different locations and time periods. I have a few coins from the 1930's USSR, a 10 pfennig piece from the German Empire dated 1912 with a beautiful imperial eagle, a French coin with a profile of Napoleon III (so badly beat up I can't read the date; I think it's 1837). There's a 1918 British penny with George V (classic WWI-era facial hair) and a beautiful representation of Britannia on the reverse. Most Commonwealth currency features the reigning monarch, which I find a little boring, but the variety of sizes, shapes, materials, and denominations (especially if you go back to pre-decimal coins) is interesting. Nothing in my collection is particularly rare or valuable, but the connection to older times and other places is my favorite part of the hobby.

A good deal of my foreign currency came from my mom, who was a bank teller. I got a decent haul when they stopped offering foreign exchange. A few come from personal travels, some were brought back for me from others' business trips. A good bit of the coins in the above paragraph came out of a bargain bin at a shop in the town I went to college. It's particularly fun on the rare occasions that I spotted a silver dime still in circulation. Last time I happened to glance into a donation jar at Food Lion (I made sure to explain what I was doing to the clerk, and replaced it with a nice little handful of modern coins). Another time was when I was the clerk at a lumber yard, and just happened to hear an odd tone while counting my drawer.

Final note, I have a Whitman US small coins type-collection folder. Whitman was the classic manufacturer and the first company to make them. IIRC, they sparked an uptick in coin collecting with them. I just happened to notice on the cover just now that they were based in Racine, WI, where another favorite classic of mine came from.
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Old 11-07-2013, 04:06 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Cook Island dollar coin if you are feeling a little immature is good for a giggle, the triangle coin they have is cool as well.

Yup ole' Tangaroa is pretty proud of himself.
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Old 11-08-2013, 12:18 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks for the help guys! You've given me a few leads to follow, anyway . I like where both your heads are at.

Also, I found this link, which I find quite fascinating as an economics / econometrics guy. Pretty cool stuff, IMO.

First thing I have to do is get a collections binder with some coin sleeves, flip holders, and currency sleeves so I can start getting what I do already have organized - just waiting on a few items to sell to free up a few bucks. Over the past two days I've at least gone through and categorized some things (from as simple as "Brasil", to as in depth as "Post-1980 JFK Philadelphia Half-Dollars") which should make everything easier to organize when the time comes.
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