Old coins

Wednesday, July 28, 2021 - 09:15

Since at least 650 BC, coins have been an integral part of society throughout the world. The 6th-century Greek poet Xenophanes, quoted by the historian Herodotus, ascribed its invention to the Lydians, “the first to strike and use coins of gold and silver.” King Croesus of Lydia (reigned c. 560–546 BC) produced a bimetallic system of pure gold and pure silver coins, but the foundation deposit of the Artemisium (temple to Artemis) at Ephesus shows that electrum coins were in production before Croesus, possibly under King Gyges. Croesus’ earliest coins were of electrum, which the Greeks called “white gold.” They were stamped on one side with the facing heads of a lion and a bull; this type was later transferred to his bimetallic series of pure gold and pure silver.

Nowadays – especially in these Pandemic times – how often do you use coins to pay for goods? Only two years ago, the UK Government had considered getting rid of 1p and 2p coins. At the time, it was suggested that more than half of the UK's small coins were only used once before being put in a jar or thrown away[1].

Some people thought that taking the coins out of circulation made sense because lots of people now just pay on their cards or use mobile phones. But others thought it would make things more expensive as prices would be rounded up to the nearest 5p if copper coins were scrapped.

However, for charities including our own, we have two reasons to be grateful for coins: first, like many charities, we have always been happy to receive a bag of 1p coins because all donations help us in our work.

Secondly and since 2015, we have been collecting old UK coins and foreign coins as we are able to convert them to money for the charity. 

Can you help?

People often have old foreign coins and banknotes tucked away somewhere in a drawer. If this is you - we are currently looking for a number of coins from the pre-Euro age and any old British coins/notes that are no longer in circulation:

  • Austrian Schilling
  • Belgian Francs
  • Deutsche Mark
  • Dutch Guilders
  • French Francs
  • German Marks
  • Greek Drachmas
  • Irish Pounds
  • Italian Lira
  • Luxembourg Francs
  • Maltese Lira
  • Portuguese Escudos
  • Spanish Pesetas
  • Slovenian Tolars
  • Old British coins/notes no longer in circulation

We are also happy to receive any other foreign coinage or notes you may have. 

If you have any of these, please simply send your coins/notes to Carmelite Friars, PO Box 289, FAVERSHAM, Kent, ME13 3BZ. Please make sure you have the correct postage on anything you send us. Or, alternatively, you can bring your old coins and notes to the Shrine. All those who send us some old coins/notes will receive a complimentary prayer card as a thank you, so please make sure you send it with your address.

When we convert the currency, the money will be used for the work of the Shrine and the Carmelites in Britain and abroad. THANK YOU.