Before retirement I used to travel a lot all around the world. I just noticed that I have collected a lot of coins (and bills) from a dozen countries in Asia and Europe. Many of these have no english script either. I suspect they are more than 1000 $ value totally. Is there anything I can do with those to recover some money? Or I am out of luck?
Is there anything I can do with those to recover some money?
There are multiple options;
As mentioned by Aganju, coins can't be exchanged; currency notes can be. Just to add, it also depends on where you are currently residing and what currencies you are holding, for example you may find it difficult to exchange a Papua New Guinea currency anywhere except if you are in Indonesia or Australia. The rates will be pretty awful.
Develop a hobby in numismatics and start collecting if you think it is a better use of your retirement time. Swap these with fellow collectors across the world. There are quite a few sites that allow you to do. This is a time [and money] consuming hobby. There is a very remote chance you may have landed up with a rare coin. Don't bank on it. It is like winning a superball lottery.
Visit a local coin dealer and turn over the item to him. The dealer would expect you create a list of what you have; Country, Denomination, etc so that it is easy for him to evaluate. This means you would have to spend substantial time to find out what some of the coins / currencies are which don't have English. Internet or coin website have forums to help identify items; there is still an effort to scan and upload stuff.
If you know someone in your family / relatives / friends collects coins / currency; donate this to them.
If you don't want to donate. One of the options recommended by Numismatists is take the coins and over a period throw them in beach new water frequented by families, the pleasure you get to see on small children finding coins as if they have got the world is amazing and worth it. Think of it as payment to watch a nice movie. :)
Put them in local donation boxes of places of faith [temple/church/etc]. However in quite a few places, the trustees don't know what to do; and they lie in vaults. There are some places [wishing wells] where volunteers clean sort such coins and given to charity organizations for good use.
If your hobby is metal work, there are tons of ways a coin can be transformed into art work. Just search google with coin art. You can create finger rings or tons of wearable jewelry items or fruit baskets or wall display items.
- Typically, coins cannot be exchanged anywhere outside of the country where they are used.
- Bills typically can be exchanged by most bank, but the rates are much lower than official exchange rates.
Note that many countries (for example, India) disallow the export of currency, and then typically no bank outside the country will accept them - first, you have those bills ‘illegally’, and second, they will not be able to exchange them with that countries bank.
You also have the option of shipping your coins to Leftover Currency, a UK-based company that will exchange the coins for the currency of your choice. You'll lose a bit of money on the exchange rate and the shipping costs, but the end result is still a lot better than putting the coins in a drawer and never getting any worth out of them at all. And Leftover Currency is fast – once they receive your coins, the exchanged money will be back on its way to you, by the method of you choice, within about five business days.