One of my favourite types of travel memento is left over currency! I find it fascinating! Now that the majority of Europe has the Euro, a lot of the old currencies have gone, which is a shame (but granted, it’s helpful as there’s always some laying around the house ready and waiting for the next trip!) I always keep the smallest denomination of bank note (well I missed a few, I started the collection when I was 19)…which is often worth next to nothing and there’s always a load of spare coins that can never be changed back anyway! It’s pretty much a given that I’ll buy something at the airport and end up with a handful when I’m meant to be trying to get rid of it! I gave my other half Dollars to buy a drink at Dubai airport and they asked if he wanted the change in Dirhams as they didn’t have enough in Dollars, he said yes knowing full well I’d add it straight to my collection (I have him well trained!)
For example: Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Singapore have bank notes that are more plastic than paper and even have little see-through windows in! They are such beautiful colours too! As for the coins: New Zealand have tiki masks patterns, America have State editions of Quarters, the UK released 2012 Olympic 50ps and Gibraltar uses British Sterling, but has it’s own monkey style version! The Danish currency have a coin with a hole in the middle. Before switching to the Euro, Spain had a similar coin. This was the first foreign currency I used on my first overseas trip. I was told that people would wear one on a chain for luck, how true this was, I’m not sure. But I bought a bit of cord and spent the trip collecting the ‘hole-y coins’, each time I found one with a different pattern I’d add it to the cord! Great fun when you’re 11 years old! For now, each currency is in its own little zip-lock bag until I decide exactly how I want to display them!
I always used to collect key rings and pin badges from the places I visited, but in the end I had so many, none of which I used, they would just sit in a box and do nothing. My ‘new’, dare I say, obsession, is Pressed Pennies! I wish I had started collecting them earlier! You may have seen the machines lurking in the corner of gift shops at various attractions around the world. They are a big glass box with a mechanical looking cog inside and a big wheel on the outside. Most offer a choice of 4 designs, featuring a landmark or the logo of the attraction. You line the wheel up to the picture you want to be imprinted onto the coin, put 1 penny in the slot, along with a couple of high value coins (you don’t get anything for free these days!), push in the tray, watch the penny drop into the cog and then you work for your reward!! Turning the wheel, squishes the coin, so as you can imagine, it gets quite tough near the end! We went through a stage of not believing it was the same coin, so I scratched the back of the penny with a key before I put it in…and a penny with a scratch came out! Pennies aren’t much good for anything so I find this such a fun way to make them useful!
Collecting Pressed Pennies is a bit like a game of hide and seek, I get so excited when I find a machine! I’m even sad enough to have downloaded a Penny Press app, that way I have a rough idea on the locations! At the moment I have 3 albums (as shown above, my favourite is the black passport one!), 2 are full, each holding 36 coins, the third I’ve only recently started to fill! Will just have to do some more travelling to fill it! They basically tell a story of my travels 🙂
Do you keep left over currency as a souvenir?