The other day I went down to the corner shop and received a strange coin in change. Being as Romanian as I am, I immediately thought it might be some kind of trick or fake coin and I asked the storekeeper what it was. Turns out it was a real coin in circulation, the first new ones I’ve seen since 2005 when they switched over the currency. The standard 50 bani coin can be seen in the upper half of the image while the “new” 50 bani coins are in the lower half. Although these have been in circulation since late 2010, with over a million issued, this is literally the first time I’ve ever seen one. I asked The Woman if she’d ever seen one either and she hadn’t.
What’s really weird is there’s no mention of these new 50 bani coins on the official website of the National Bank of Romania (BNR), the ones who issued it. I had to dig up an old news story (Ro) to even learn that these are indeed valid currency.
I, for one, am darn glad to see these things in circulation. A few years ago, the United States did something similar. Besides just the aesthetic appeal of having new coins to look at, it’s actually a brilliant way to increase government revenue at zero pain or suffering to the public.
How? Well even though there’s a million of these new 50 bani coins out there, a few people are going to “collect” them, i.e. keep them at home and never spend them. Each coin kept and not spent is, in effect, a 50 bani gift to the Romanian government. One coin collected and not spent certainly isn’t a lot but every little bit helps, eh? And the best part is that nobody is forced to collect these coins. The only ones kept out of circulation are the ones people volunteer to keep.
I sure hope BNR decides to make more commemorative coins. It’ll be a fun project and it could raise money to pay a few doctor’s and teacher’s salaries as well.
PS – If you’re fairly new to my blog, you might enjoy my little video featuring two Romanian “gangsters”, 50 de Bani and Ursuletul de Aur :)