What do we do with old money?
September 6, 2013 11:54 PM   Subscribe

We have a collection of old foreign money that we'd like to get rid of. What's the best thing to do with it? Complicating factors: not that old, not that much, not exactly a curated collection, we're in Canada.

This is basically a tourist collection - bits of change and a few bills from a variety of European and other non-Canadian countries. A fair bit of it is pre-Euro Deutschmarks, which still have value and can be exchanged, but there aren't enough of them to make it worth our time to try to do it.

I know there are programs like UNICEF's Change For Good that encourage tourists to donate their current coinage, but this is older stuff, mostly from the 80s and 90s. Are there charities that would like to take this and sort it out and cash in whatever is worth something? Ideally in Vancouver? Or at least Canada?

If no charity wants our dusty lucre, what else might we do with it? Who would want it?

We've considered Freecycle, though we realize it might violate the no money changing hands policy if we try to give away actual money. Just throwing money away seems weird.
posted by jacquilynne to Work & Money (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I had this problem a while back and finally just threw mine in the trash.

If the transaction costs (including the value of your time) to discard it in a way that retains its value are higher than its actual value, then it's really just bits of worthless paper and metal.
posted by Jacqueline at 11:59 PM on September 6, 2013

When I was a kid, my grandfather had a box of foreign coins and bills from his travels. Playing with it was one of my favorite things about going to visit my grandparents.

Do you know any kids who would appreciate it?
posted by mollymayhem at 12:00 AM on September 7, 2013 [9 favorites]

Put an ad on Craigslist for coin/money collectors? They'd at least appreciate it.
posted by spinifex23 at 12:12 AM on September 7, 2013

Best answer: I'd want it; I've memailed you.
posted by Canageek at 12:36 AM on September 7, 2013

Some sort of art project? I think it would be fun to have a map where you've cut currency into the shape of the countries it is from and pasted them onto the map in the appropriate places.
posted by lollusc at 1:20 AM on September 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Save it for the next time you go to the international airport. They take donations there for local charities.
posted by hal_c_on at 2:11 AM on September 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

Give it to a dorky kid to organize?

My grandparents did that for me and I had so much fun
posted by Blasdelb at 3:22 AM on September 7, 2013

My son collects foreign currency. He'd get a huge kick out of a collection like that.
posted by routergirl at 6:12 AM on September 7, 2013

If you Google [coin jewelry] you'll see some potential uses.
posted by amtho at 6:18 AM on September 7, 2013

If you know any kids they might be interested in this. I definitely had a foreign coin collection when I was little.
posted by radioamy at 6:40 AM on September 7, 2013

Give it to a dorky kid to organize?

I gave a chunk of mine to a MeFite's kid whose happy photo still graces my refrigerator. I'd ask around for local kids that might be interested or possibly use CL to get kids in a larger area.
posted by jessamyn at 6:46 AM on September 7, 2013

The Deutsche Marks can be exchanged by mail, and has a pretty straightforward English-language PDF for doing so. Note that there are certain bills they will not exchange, and you will then be left with a check denominated in Euros, so a quick call to your bank is probably in order, as many charge high fees (like $20) for accepting a foreign-denominated check.
posted by wnissen at 7:27 AM on September 7, 2013

The tooth fairy brings foreign money in our house-you know, she travels the world over (also prevents inevitable comparison with other kids about how much they got). Maybe a friend with tooth fairy aged kids would appreciate it?
posted by purenitrous at 11:04 AM on September 7, 2013 [4 favorites]

If it is paper currency (and maybe coin currency will work) you could put them in frames and hang them. It looks neat when you have different denominations of the same currency displayed, it shows how much of a world traveller or money collector you are to house guests, and it could help start some interesting conversations about that one time in Paris / London / Berlin / wherever.
posted by ditto75 at 11:25 AM on September 7, 2013

Do you have an old funky table that might need refinishing? Lay the money out on it and the cover it with System Three Clear Coat.
posted by humboldt32 at 12:21 PM on September 7, 2013

If you know any school teachers, they might like the collection for their students.
posted by HMSSM at 12:51 PM on September 7, 2013

Response by poster: I ended up selling the coins to Canageek, and I took the bills (I'm not sure all of them are current, but there was at least $20 worth of still valid Brazilian Real in the bundle anyway) to the Vancouver airport on my way out of town. The donation box is on the other side of security, and I wasn't flying Internationally so I couldn't get there myself, but when I asked at the Information desk, they said they could accept it and make sure it got donated.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:17 PM on September 24, 2013

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