About twenty minutes ago in work, we were all discussing the new plastic £5 notes that have just started circulating. We compared them to the old £5 notes that used to float about and got chatting about different coins. It got me thinking about the quarter that currently resides in the inside pocket of my handbag.
I discovered it last week when I was grabbing money out of my purse to give Ann, the lady who comes round with tea for us in the mornings and afternoons – the highlight of my day. I thought it was a 10p piece but when I lifted another 10p out (a cup of tea is 20p #bargain) I realised the thickness was different and scrutinised it a bit further (an insight into how interesting my job is). That’s what I realised it was a quarter and I wondered how I ended up with it.
I never gave it much thought after that, though I do like collecting different currencies so I threw it back into my bag with the intention of chucking it into one of my many memory boxes. It came back into my head again this afternoon when we talked about the different codes on the new fivers and how fast they circulate from country to country within the UK.
That’s what got me thinking about the quarter. I have literally no clue as to how it came into my possession. Obviously it once started out in America – but how many countries has it been in since? What has it been used to buy? How did it manage to get all the way over to this tiny little island? From there I thought about money in general and the some of the different currencies I have – Euro (naturally), złoty (Polish), dollars (American and Canadian) and I’m pretty sure I have Pakistani rupees somewhere too (thanks to a random challenge at university).
The thing I love about money; coins and notes (aside from the obvious) is that they each have their own individual journey; their own story before they reach your hands. A story that continues once its in your possession, with you choosing how the next part goes. You have no idea where it was before it got to you, nor do you know where it’ll end up after it leaves you.
I’m not sure why I’m writing this. When I started to think about how each coin or note has its own life, it made me smile a little. Kind of gave me a bit of wanderlust, I suppose. It made me think about how cool it would be (hypothetically, obviously) to stay with a coin for a while and see where you end up. It made me smile to think about all the money that has crossed my hands in my 24 years on this planet and where it’s got to – that the story of a coin will never truly end because it continually passes from person to person and place to place.
Lift a coin that’s near you if you want something to think about for a while. You have no idea where it came from before you got it in your change at your local Starbucks or the pub down the road. And once it leaves you whenever you purchase your next desired item, you’ll have no idea where it’s off to. Think about all the places it’ll go to, all the hands it’ll cross, the stories of each human it belongs to for a short while.
It’s a lot more interesting than thinking about the last time you used your credit card, right?