Metal Coins Add Value to Scrap Markets: Recycling of a Different Kind

by Stuart Burns on

We have all had the experience of sitting in a cinema seat or on a bus or train and finding a stray coin, haven’t we?

One day when coins are replaced by plastic or inflation forces us to only use notes, the metal coin will be a thing of distant memory, but for now they remain part of everyday life and try as we might, some of them get away from us!

Well, cinema and bus cleaners may have more perks than free viewings and bus passes if a story in the BBC is anything to go by. It seems we probably lose more money every time we sit down than we thought. I know my car is periodically showered with change when I hop in too quickly and it would seem I am not alone in losing a proportion of my personal wealth every time I drive.

Here’s how the Chinese capitalize on that.

Two Chinese tourists were held in Paris by French police on suspicion of forgery after trying to settle their hotel bill with one-euro coins. The hotel owner in Bagnolet, eastern Paris, called the police after the two tourists had tried to pay their 70-euro ($95) hotel bill for the second night running with 70 one euro coins.

The police found 3,700 coins in their room and called in banking experts to check if the coins were forgeries. It turned out they were genuine – the Chinese explained they had gathered the coins from friends who worked in scrap yards back home dismantling scrap cars from Europe. In the process of disassembly, workers had come across coins trapped in seats, under carpets and in nooks and crannies of the passenger areas.

Don’t Contribute to China’s Wealth!

Thousands of European cars are shipped to China for scrap every year and, not surprisingly, they are meticulously searched before demolition. So next time you hear the tinkle of coins as you climb in your car, go fish them out and don’t put it off until later – or you could find yourself funding the scrap trade with more than just your old banger.

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