Shopping Smarter, Not Harder

Shopping Smarter, Not Harder

Three Things To Do With Foreign Coins You Can't Use

Willie Shaw

If you've ever found a stray Canadian penny among your change in the United States, or you've ended up with a bunch of foreign coins after a trip overseas, you may have found out how difficult it can be to get rid of those coins. In general, you're unlikely to get U.S. money for the coins like you could for paper bills, except in very specific circumstances. For example, Travelex notes that it does not purchase coins except for certain pound and euro coins. Bank of America notes that it does not exchange foreign coins at all. So what can you do? Here are three options.

Coin Art

If you're of the crafty sort, take those coins and create mosaics, bookmarks, or jewelry. Very shiny coins work well in tabletop mosaics that are going to have a sealant layer placed over the surface of the mosaics. If you can work a power drill, you can make little holes in coins to turn them into charms for bracelets, bookmarks, or even flexible coin coasters for cups and glasses. You can also add the coins to a scrapbook if that's your choice of hobby. Choosing the coin-art option works especially well if the coins are in very good shape.

Scale Calibration

Coins are made using exact specifications. The coins will have exact sizes and weights that you can use to your advantage. If you have a stray Canadian penny that's dated after the year 2000, for example, the Fresh Loaf website notes those weigh 2.35 grams each. You can use that to ensure a new gram-based digital kitchen scale is measuring correctly. This is a good option for those Canadian pennies that occasionally show up in change that you get in U.S. stores.

Bulk Weight Exchange

If you have a lot of foreign coins, check with coin stores in your area to see if they pay for those by weight. Some stores will pay per ounce or per gram for foreign coins in bulk; they keep the coins around for niche collectors who want to find coins from certain countries. This works best if you have a sizable pile of coins -- just a few coins might not weigh enough to really make the trip to the coin store worth the gas you'll use.

If you're still unsure what to do with the coins, call coin stores anyway and see what they suggest. They may have collector customers who were looking for exactly the coins you have, or they may know of other people planning a trip to the country you just came back from. There are many options.

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About Me
Shopping Smarter, Not Harder

After I became a mother, I realized that I was going to be spending quite some time shopping for supplies. I knew that when I wasn't getting groceries, I would likely be finding new clothes for my kids to wear and trying to find things for the house. Instead of spending loads of money on all of these shopping trips, I started trying to shop smarter, not harder. I started carefully evaluating things like price tags and sales, and it really made a big difference in our lives. This blog is all about saving money by buying the right things, and knowing how to avoid problems from overspending.