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Tonight I just cleaned my room and while doing this I found some money. I counted it and I found out that there are a lot of coins from 25 different countries.

I know that normally banks don't exchange foreign currencies in coins, but is there a way so that I can still get some money for my foreign coins?

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Do you have a noticeable amount in any of the currencies? I'd say that as a rule of thumb, if you have under a beer/coffee worth of coins, it's not going to be worth trying to get it changed... –  Gagravarr Aug 26 '11 at 21:20
For most currencies it is more or less the amount of a beer or maybe a little bit more... but for maybe 5 currencies it is only some cents. –  RoflcoptrException Aug 26 '11 at 21:24
I just give them away as gifts to friends kids and such. –  Ginamin Aug 27 '11 at 0:16
I have been caught out one time where I have been at a train station early in the morning and the only ticket machine working took coins only with no shops open to change notes. So hanging on to a 'beers worth' is handy in case your ever back. –  Stuart Aug 30 '11 at 10:52
"Foreign coins... that's not money! I want my money back!" –  user82 Jul 1 '12 at 15:17

7 Answers 7

up vote 22 down vote accepted

Unless it is a significant amount, changing coins isn't worth it. The amounts are small and most banks and foreign exchanges won't accept coins generally.

unicef change for good logo

My solution is to collect the left over foreign coins until I fly on an airline that participates in the Change for Good program and then donate them. British Airways and Virgin also have their own programs. It is a great concept as a small amount of foreign coins isn't very valuable to you, but when compounded across thousands of passengers a year, it can make a real difference.

If you don't want to wait until your next flight to donate, many charity shops (at least in the UK) accept foreign coins.

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If you won't be flying on a participating airline anytime soon, you can also send your coins direct to UNICEF Change for Good at the address on their website. –  tcrosley Jun 10 '12 at 18:18
Or put them in a Unicef box at one of the participating airports. –  tricasse Sep 29 '12 at 22:18

If you really want to change them, your best bets is to change the currency with people who go to the currency's country, either tourists or residents.

Usually, I just keep the coins around and give them to friends when they go to somewhere I happen to have some coins from.

Other than that? Just keep them as souvenirs, give them away, go visit the same country again?

Also, I noticed that coins sometimes can be exchanged at airports/borders, as long as it is part of a reasonable sum of money.

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Coins are sometimes taken by currency exchanges if it helps round off a transaction to whole numbers. This mostly is true of currencies where coin denominations have a significant value in the currency being changed to, and whether a lot of transaction happens between those two currencies. –  Ankur Banerjee Aug 27 '11 at 11:28

Every international airport I've visited has something like this:

donation centre for coins

(This one was in Schiphol yesterday, but I've seen them everywhere.)

It doesn't matter what country the coins are from or what country you're in. They'll sort them out and spend them to make the world better. Just gather up what you have and drop them off next time you see one.

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If you happen to visit a school show, where students show their hobbies, you will find that world coins are quite popular as a collection topic. You could perhaps give it a some collector.

Donate it to church auction. Some coins which form a set of a country, may be interesting prize.

Last choice is sell it on eBay.

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You can also try selling them on eBay and get most of your money back that way too. Some of the coins may be worth $1 or more on face value for just one, such as the Japanese Y500 yen or the British £1. So a "handful" can be worth over $20 easily. Donate it on the principle of giving can be another option.

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If you have coins from 25 different countries, try selling them in bulk on ebay to collectors. This way you can even get what they are worth back (but usually a little less than their face value).

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There are a number of companies in the UK who exchange foreign coins. We had a whole load of foreign coins that we collected with our school and then sent them an organisation called Cash4Coins - they exchanged all the coins and once we'd agreed we were happy with the amount the money was in the bank in less than an hour. My son, who is at university is collecting foreign coins with his student union for charity... Cash4Coins also will collect for free if the coins weigh over 5kg.

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It's worth noting, as @mindcorrosive pointed out to me, the site itself doesn't have the best online trust rating, so consider that before using it. –  Mark Mayo Aug 23 '12 at 17:38

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