Millions of old New Zealand coins still to be handed in

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

File:5centcoin.jpg
An old New Zealand five cent coin.

On November 1, 2006 the old five, ten, twenty and fifty cent coins will be illegal tender, but the Reserve Bank of New Zealand says there are still at least 100 million still to be returned.

According to the Reserve Bank, most of the old coins have been lost in drains or buried in rubbish. "We think there is still another 100 million sitting around in people's homes," Brian Lang, currency manger for the Reserve Bank, said.

Lang said: "So far, just over 280 million coins have been returned, but there are more out there. Since 1967 the Reserve Bank has issued more than a billion of the old 'silver' coins. So if you don't want to be stuck with loads of old coin - there's never been a better time to empty your coin jars, sweep the car glove box and rummage behind the couch cushions."

The coins still awaiting to be handed in, by either spending them, taking them to a bank or donating them to charity, are estimated to be worth between NZ$5 million and $50 million.

"A last-minute burst of publicity may convince people to bring the coins in. It's a bit of a hassle though. Human nature being what it is, people just don't care," Lang said. The Karori Wildlife Sanctuary located in Wellington say that they have collected over $9,000 in old coins. Sanctuary spokesman, Alan Dicks said: "The campaign was particularly fitting because the old coins depicted tuataras and kiwis, both of which can be found living at the sanctuary. The money will go towards supporting general ecological restoration of the sanctuary. We want to get over ten grand, but the more the better."

Lang said: "Though the coins will no longer be legal tender, banks will continue to exchange them until at least the end of the year," and the Reserve Bank will always exchange them. "We are still getting people coming in with two-dollar notes," Lang added.

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