[Dave Birch] I couldn’t care less if I never saw a coin again (outside of a museum) but in other economic circumstances, they might be missed. The Bank of Mozambique is concerned at how the alleged absence of coins is being used as an excuse for raising prices. The chairperson of the Maputo Baker’s Association, Victor Miguel, has said that it was availability of loose change that determined the prices that are charged. He claimed it was impossible for an item to cost one metical and 70 centavos, because 10 and 20 centavo coins are supposedly unavailable (a metical is about a nickel). Mozambique’s currency was reformed last year, with small denomination coins, but retailers say they never see them (despite the Bank saying that large numbers were minted). The Bank says that retailers are refusing to get the coins because they prefer to keep the prices up. Strike another one against cash. But what if there’s another explanation? I wonder if the coins have been melted down for the metal?

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This is happening in other places. Bangladesh, for example, where millions of Indian coins are being smuggled in and turned into razor blades. And that’s creating an acute shortage of coins in many parts of India. Police in Calcutta say that the recent arrest of a grocer highlights the extent of the problem: he confessed to melting down tens of thousands of Indian coins into razor blades and told the police

Our one rupee coin is in fact worth 35 rupees, because we make five to seven blades out of them.

One day, the coins will be a memory, so perhaps I should salt away a rupee coin to sell on eBay in a hundred years. They probably won’t be that rare though, unlike the rarest banknote in existence which is in the G&D Banknote Museum: it’s the only existing 100-mark note dated 1914 from the former colony of German New Guinea. If you do find a £50 anywhere (apparently they’ve gone to Poland), don’t spend it, save it for posterity.

These opinions are my own (I think) and presented solely in my capacity as an interested member of the general public [posted with ecto]

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