Tuesday, 2 December 2003

Beware of confusing Philippine Pesos with USA quarters

People in more cosmopolitan countries than the USA are used to watching out for all sorts of different coins and currencies showing up in their change.

(At least with paper money — what the rest of the world calls “notes” and the USA calls “bills” — most countries make it easier by using different colors for different denominations. But that’s another story.)

“Foreign” money hasn’t usually been an issue in the USA, however: we get few visitors, we force them to use US dollars (try to find a storefront currency exchnage in most USA cities), and we only have land borders with two other countries. Mexican pesos are easily distinguished from USA currency, people near the Canadian border learn to tell the few designs of Canadian coins from the even more invariant USA ones, and the difference in value was modest if you occasionally accepted a Canadian quarter (CAD0.25) in lieue of a USA one (USD0.25).

But the ongoing gradual introduction of 50 different quarter-dollar USA coins in designs chosen by easch of the 50 states has made it impossible to know what to expect the back of a quarter to like like.

Today when I tried to buy a cup of coffee (no, not for just a quarter), I was barely registering, “Gee, that must be from a state whose quarter I haven’t seen before” when the barista handed it back, saying, “That’s not a quarter.”

It turned out to be a Philippine 1 peso coin, exactly the same size and with the same flanged and corrugated rim as a USA quarter dollar coin — but worth only 1.8 cents (USD0.018)! And no, it dosen’t work in vending machines made for USA quarter-dollar coins — I guess it’s a slightly different metallic composition.

Link | Posted by Edward on Tuesday, 2 December 2003, 15:35 ( 3:35 PM)

My sister just gave me two Philippine Pesos which she received from a change machine at the Laundromat. Maybe they do work in some vending machines.

Posted by: Anonymous, 10 December 2005, 09:38 ( 9:38 AM)
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