Ideas for Leftover Foreign Currency0
By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel
For those readers that have made trips abroad this summer and have returned home with small amounts of that country’s currency, what do you do with it? Most often the coins or small paper bills are stored in a desk or jar, left unused. Most “souvenir coins” are too small to exchange back to U.S. currency, but they are a nice reminder of a vacation. Speaking of exchanges, if you have a large amount of currency left over, exchange it promptly once you return home. Recently a friend came across money from a trip to Barbados in the 1980s and went to the bank to exchange it. Luckily it was only about fifty dollars. The bank teller said that “in some foreign countries the money expires if you don’t turn it in within their set time frame,” and this was the case here.
Years ago we ate in an international restaurant in Virginia. They had a unique display of coins and bills from around the world. Even patrons began to add to the decoration if they saw some coins or bills were missing. They began to give the owner currency “to add to your collection.” Unbelievable to see was that it was a huge frame hung fairly low on the wall above a large seating area and it did not have a glass frame over the display. In other words, the coins and bills were reachable if an unkind patron were to remove one. None were removed as the printed names of each country had currency below it. If you have currency that you would like to display there are many ways to do that. Bookstores sell special binders or insert sheets where coins can be inserted for safe keeping. These loose-leaf pages can be put in a binder as a collection of overseas trips. Perhaps you are handy with a craft glue gun and would like to turn several coins into magnets for your refrigerator. Arts and craft stores have rows of shadow boxes or small wooden plaques that can be stained or painted as the backdrop for your coins that are glued to it. If you have a friend that is a school teacher that has geography units as part of the curriculum, some coins can be used as a teaching tool. Then again, if you know of someone traveling to the country for which you have leftover money, you can always give it to he or she to use.