In Australia, 1 and 2 cent coins have been removed from circulation. So when something has a price of $2.99 you automatically translate that into $3 and you don’t expect any change when purchasing it.
In the UK, it’s constantly surprising when you hand over a pound for something that costs 98p and you get change back. And you have this weird moment, staring at the copper coins in the palm of your hand, thinking ‘what the hell use are those?”
On my last day in London I had some copper coins still left. I’d tried to use them all up as I went, but people tend to get impacient while you count out copper coins to pay for things (so I wonder what UK people DO do with those coins) but when you travel, you can exchange notes but not coins. And I figure there’ll be a charity bin for unwanted coins and I’ll donate any silver and gold coins I have left, but staring at them nestled together in my wallet I realised that I don’t assign any value to copper coins any more.
So I decided to leave them behind, in little piles, for other people to find. So began a tiny series of Secret Stashes across London, a spontaneous gifting project in response to denominations that Australia has deemed unworthy but that other countries clearly still find useful.
I put them in semi-secret spots, places only the sharp eyed or children might spot. 1 and 2p coins might not be any use to adults but I thought maybe children might get excited about a small copper horde.
I walked past the Tuppence Secret Stash a few hours after I’d left it there to find it gone, so clearly someone, somewhere thinks of copper coins as valuable.