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Play money…

The long, slow process of replacing my professional artard gear continues — my new scanner arrived this afternoon. First task is digitizing bits of my worthless coin collection.

No, seriously — I collect what real collectors call “lunch money” — heavily circulated world coins that are worth, at most, the value written on the front. Bought them in ten pound lots on eBay (my dealer doesn’t seem to be in business any more). Ten pounds, let me tell you, is a buttload of small change. Took weeks and weeks to go through them all, and every one of them guaranteed to be worth jack shit.

There would always be lots of fascinating and beautiful stuff, though. Mid-19th to the mid-20th Centuries and every continent on the globe.

You could tell a lot about a place from its money. Like, money with pictures of food on it comes from places where people are starving. Money with food and industrial equipment comes from Communist places where people are starving. In the immediate post-war era, the smallest coins in Europe were sometimes made of horrible cheap and nasty aluminum. Oh, and I’ll never forget the first time I turned over a coin and spotted a swastika on it. Brrrrrr — Nazi lunch money!

I thought some coins would make interesting merchandise. You would think that coins, being as public and emblematic as national flags, governments wouldn’t be all anal-retentive about copyrighting their images. You’d be wrong. This’ll be fun to figure out.

Oh, and the coin in the picture was, I thought, the one time I put one over on the bulk coin people. Without the holes (which were used to make it into a button or charm), a George III sovereign like that would be worth upwards of £1,000. But I’ve been digging around, and that there is almost certainly Victorian brass play money, worth nuffink.

So it’s consistent with the general high quality and value of the rest of my collection.


Comment from Sporadic Small Arms Fire
Time: March 9, 2010, 11:56 pm

Have you any Welsh money, then?


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 9, 2010, 11:59 pm

Hm. The tinyurl isn’t working.

I didn’t know there was Welsh money. The Irish say the copyright on their money won’t expire, ever. Which seems unsporting.

Comment from JeffS
Time: March 10, 2010, 12:43 am

Look at the bright side: you have loads and loads of spare buttons.

Comment from Sporadic Small Arms Fire
Time: March 10, 2010, 3:03 am

Tinyurl was about Foulmart.
This one is about coinses. Naughty ones, too.

Comment from Bill (still the .00358% of your traffic that’s from Iraq) T
Time: March 10, 2010, 9:12 am

We refueled at Honolulu on our way to the Land of the Two-Way Rifle Range in ’69, and the pilot announced that we’d only be allowed off the aircraft to partake of liquid anaesthesia if we could pay the tab in Hawaiian money.

I was the first one out the door.

And the *only* one in the bar — for about three minutes…

Comment from Wiccapundit
Time: March 10, 2010, 2:39 pm

Gee Stoaty, who knew you were into numismatism?

Comment from Lazarus Long
Time: March 23, 2010, 1:11 am


I used to work in a bank in Philly, and they counted and wrapped their own coin.

All the non-US stuff that wouldn’t go through the counter got chucked into a metal container.

I used to paw through it, looking for interesting stuff.

I even found the old large English pennies, all the way back to Queen Victoria.

And, yeah the pre-revolutionary Russian kopek, the silver Greek coins, the…so I walk upstairs and grab a handful.

1938 Territory of New Guinea one shilling.

1917 French 50 Centime.

1906 German Reich 2 Pfenning

1942 1 French franc (complete with axe and fasces)

1937 New Zealand 3 cent (?)

1875 German Reich 5 Pfenning

1921 Phillipine 1 centavo (US)

1920 German Republic 50 Pfenning

How the HECK did this stuff get into circulation?

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