February 5, 2013

To continue February 4th’s entry, there is another part of this entry regarding Taiwan’s new money.

Okay, so I woke up around 5am, got in line at the bank at 6am, waited until 10am when the bank opened, and finally got my one coin set about a half hour later.

At this point, I also didn’t know that the circulation currency for the new year is not issued until almost the end of that year.  As I was only able to purchase one proof set, I had an alternate idea.

2012 (August) marked my 10 years in Taiwan teaching English.  I had been to the Bank of Taiwan several times to purchase rolls of uncirculated 10nt pieces.  Each time I went there, I was told the coins were not available.  Again, it was a bit impossible to clearly state what I was wanting, and to get an answer, so I would just give up and go about my day.

This time, since the new coins were issued, I figured I would have a chance to get these coins on the day of issue.  The staff member seemed to understand what I wanted, and sold me two rolls of uncirculated 10nt coins.  I was ecstatic!  Considering I did have a sample roll from a previous year, he did seem to know what I was looking for.

Once I got home, I looked at the date on the rolled coins, and noticed that the date was for year 99 (this is year 102).  These rolls were from 3 years ago!  Here we go again…

The next day, I went back and tried (in vain) to explain once again what I was looking for.  He seemed to be upset with me, and decided to get another staff who spoke English.  It was then I was told about the delay in the issuance of coinage.  The only uncirculated 10nt coins in the bank were for year 101 (last year).  Perfect!!  Even better.

I purchased 250 coins.  50 coins I would keep for myself, and 200 to be given to my students and teachers.

Year 101 (2012) I celebrated my 50th birthday, but more importantly, it was my 10th year of teaching in Taiwan.  This was how I ended up at the coin shop.

I had searched around at stationary shops for coin holders.  As these coins were uncirculated, and had not been touched by bare hands, I wanted to put these 200 coins in holders, and give to all my students as a remembrance of my 10 years in Taiwan.  Okay, it’s only 10nt (about $0.33 CDN), but it’s more the reason behind the ‘gift’.

I gave out the coins about 2 or 3 weeks ago.  I explained the gift to my students and where the students may not have understood fully, the local teacher in the class explained it to the students in Chinese.

To my dismay though, at one particular school, I have now found 3 of these coin holders having been ripped, the coin removed, and the holder stuffed to the back of the desk.  Kids.  10nt is more important than the meaning behind being given a gift.  Thankfully, most of them understand the significance of the gesture.

I suppose to most people, coins and their intrinsic value, are meaningless.  Currency or money, is money.  Period.  To others, such as myself, certain pieces of currency have a lot more value than others, for more than just the currency value.  For example, these proof sets that are issued by the Bank of Taiwan or The Royal Canadian Mint each year, have more value for their rarity (total mintage), quality, and metals used, than for the ‘street value’.

My grandfather, probably without really realizing it, got me interested in coin collecting a long time ago.  I would enjoy the time I spent with him, looking through his coin sets, collections, going to coin shows, than he would ever have known.  I have a decent sized collection of coins and bills (mostly Canadian) in storage in Canada.  Perhaps one day, I’ll be able to sell some of the collection, or pass it on to someone who I know will treasure it as much as I do.

I’m also looking forward to completing the proof sets here in Taiwan.  There are only three sets remaining.  Hopefully, I will still be in Taiwan to be able to purchase these sets to complete the collection, or I may have to have someone purchase them for me.

That’s it, that’s all… for now!


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