"That you may ruminate"

…On Coinage.

Posted by Steve on February 19, 2009

I have never been to Hungary.

Most people have never been to Hungary, but I have a reason for specifying that I’m one of them. See, I have in my posession a Hungarian “5 FORINT” coin minted in 1972 in the “MAGYAR NÉPKÖZTÁRSASÁG”. Apparently, that means it’s 5 forints, coined in the Hungarian People’s Republic. But again, I’ve never been to Hungary. However, I have paid for things in cash in the United States of America very recently. And strangely enough, while 5 forints are currently worth approximately 2 cents… a 1972 five forint coin is the same size and shape of a United States Quarter Dollar. Which means that this Hungarian coin slipped into circulation in the U.S. somehow, and kept up that way until I glanced at the quarters on my desk and wondered which state decided to put a big “5” on their state quarter. I’ve no doubts at all that if I’d spent this coin, instead of realizing what it was, then the coke machine or the parking meter or the convenience store clerk would’ve accepted it as a quarter and it would have continued masquerading successfully as American money.

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