What About Those Random Foreign Coins That Find Their Way To You?
Flickr/cc - dichohecho

Perhaps you have a job that deals with the exchange of money, or maybe you travel internationally for business quite often, or just maybe you travel widely for personal enjoyment.  There are ways that foreign coins make their way into our hands.  The question is what do you do with them?  Is it really worth keeping all of these random coins, or should you just throw them away?

Whether you have extra coins from a trip to the Bahamas, a Mexican peso that shows up in your register drawer, or European coins you find in your suitcase after a business trip, there are many different things you can do with these coins.  Throwing them away is probably the worst idea!  Money is money, and the idea of throwing it away should be an absolute last resort.  Let’s examine what you could do with these coins..

Save Them

Create a special jar that is specifically designated as your “foreign currency jar.”  Every time you come across a coin just place it in the jar and watch your collection grow.  Chances are that the monetary value of the coins in the jar will never appreciate enough to act as your retirement nest egg, but over time you may save up a few bucks.  After the jar fills to a decent level, you could take a trip to your local money exchange or bank and exchange the money for U.S. Dollars.  The amount may not be huge, but it may be enough to get some take-out Chinese or catch a movie!  Remember the “millionaire next door” is usually the gal or guy who pinches pennies, cut coupons, and takes advantage of every cost-saving thing possible.  Saving these coins in a jar is just another way to save money.

Give Them As Gifts

Now if you save up a few random foreign coins and give them to your significant other on his or her birthday or anniversary, chances are it will not go over very well.  However, your 5 year old niece or nephew may love them.  In fact, most kids love to collect coins and the concept of money in general.  Giving away your foreign coin collection can be a genius way to keep from having to actually buy anything for the family “Secret Santa” at Christmastime, and your gift will probably be the most beloved of all.  What kid doesn’t want a foreign coin??

Donate Them To The Local School

Teachers are always in search of free classroom materials, and foreign currency can be a great addition to any classroom.  In elementary classes, a teacher may want to use them to expose students to another culture, while in high school, history and economics teachers would most likely love to get their hands on foreign currencies to use as objects during their various lessons.  This would be a social service and would benefit the schools nicely, and it will make you feel good at the same time because you would be fulfilling your service as a model citizen that cares for the educational system.

Throw Them Away

If you throw them away, you will be either costing yourself Chinese take-out or depriving a child of innocent joy and wonder!  A little creativity could unlock even more possibilities for what to do with these coins, but there seem to be too many possible positive uses of these coins to seriously consider throwing them away.


  1. Anonymous // Monday, August 30, 2010 9:45:00 AM  

    If you can make them into pendants with a few jewelry findings. Many do not even require drilling.

  2. Dawn // Monday, August 30, 2010 9:50:00 AM  

    I was thinking that as well and if you find the old chinese one with holes already in them, save even more time.

  3. claudia rebecca // Monday, August 30, 2010 2:53:00 PM  

    hi! it just seems to me you're missing the most important option. modern foreign coins are being collected not just by children, but also grown-ups...so maybe sell a collection entirely or piece by piece on ebay or something similar. i'm just saying this since in 2009 my tourism business dropped and now i have a new one rising in the collectibles area. and the way i started is just the way you suggested. i received a bunch of coins from an old teacher of mine, got thrilled about it, and just kept adding pieces to my collection :)

  4. Martin Novotný // Tuesday, August 31, 2010 1:13:00 AM  

    Or - if you're into geocaching, these serve as a great swag ;-) It is always nice to find a coin from some exotic country and keep answering questions like "daddy, will we ever go to that country?" or "how far is it by feet?" ;-)

  5. Anonymous // Tuesday, August 31, 2010 7:45:00 PM  

    I would donate these coins to a Penny/ loose change collection at christmas time. I am sure the charities would be able to cash them in or find a way to utilize the coins that would benefit a (larger) charity.

  6. Karen // Thursday, September 02, 2010 8:27:00 PM  

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