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What to Do with This Pretty Coin

Saturday, April 30, 2011, 09:16 EDT Leave a comment Go to comments

I don’t carrry around a lot of cash. For one thing, I’m always afraid I’ll lose it or have my pocketbook stolen, and unlike checks or a credit card, you can’t get lost or stolen cash back. Now that I’m a homeowner on a tighter budget, I also find it easier to keep track of my spending by using either checks or my debit card. Nonetheless, I always keep a small amount of cash on me, generally using it for things like a drink in the company cafeteria or the occasional trip to the coin-operated air pump at the gas station.

Prior to yesterday at lunch time, I don’t remember exactly when or I last bought something for which I received change. I’m pretty sure it was Thursday. In any event, what I didn’t notice until yesterday, when I went to pay for the aforementioned beverage at work, that I noticed a strange coin that must have been part of the change I got in my previous cash transaction.

100 Yen100 Yen

My first thought was that I was kind of ticked off that instead of a nickel or a quarter that I could actually spend, I had gotten a foreign coin that I didn’t recognize and, therefore, couldn’t use. My second thought was the memory of a recurring dream I’ve had over the years in which a store clerk tries to give me a $30 bill for change and doesn’t believe me when I tell him there’s no such thing as a $30 bill. My third thought, upon actually looking at the coin, was that it was rather pretty, with a cluster of flowers on one side. Not many countries issue coins with flowers on them. Then I noticed that besides the pretty flowers and the large “100,” there were some kind of Asian characters on both sides. I showed it to my Chinese friend and co-worker, Sandy, who recognized the characters as Japanese. So I googled “Japanese 100 coin” and looked at the images, one of which was this…

100 Yen

…which is basically a shinier version of the coin I was holding, and with a different arabic numeral under the “100.” Specifically, I learned that it is a ¥100 (100 Japanese yen) piece, and the small arabic number under the “100” is part of the date marking.

Cool! I thought, because I had never seen Japanese money before. Then I realized that a yen is an itty-bitty amount compared to, say a dollar, so there I was with something worth probably half a cent instead of the five or 25 cents I should have gotten from whatever store gave it to me.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that ¥100 is currently worth, according to the Universal Currency Converter, about US$1.23, which is obviously more than the five or 25 cents I should have gotten. With $1.23, I could buy most of another beverage at the company cafeteria.

Except that it isn’t $1.23. It’s ¥100 which, even though I now know what it is, is still essentially worthless to me, for a few reasons:

  1. I have no plans to go to Japan where I would actually be able to spend it;
  2. Banks around here don’t accept coins in currency exchange transactions; and
  3. Even if they did, they charge at least a $5 exchange fee.

So now all I have to do is find someone who anticipates going to Japan sometime in the near future and would be willing to pay me $1.23 (or whatever the going rate is at the time) in exchange for my ¥100. Either that, or I can stop being so cheap and accept that I have an interesting coin to throw into the little jar that holds the Irish 10P and the George VI penny.

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Categories: this and that
  1. lisa
    Tuesday, September 20, 2011, 15:11 EDT at 15:11

    your coin is from 1927. the number 2 is added to 1925. so next time you get a jap coin you’ll know how to figure the date, at least. lol 🙂

  2. Will
    Wednesday, July 3, 2013, 14:34 EDT at 14:34

    The coin is actually from 1991, the second year of the Heisei era.

  3. Will
    Wednesday, July 3, 2013, 14:37 EDT at 14:37

    Will :
    The coin is actually from 1991, the second year of the Heisei era.

    Sorry, 1990 (><)b

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