“A Nickel Ain’t Worth A Dime Anymore”.

It is not just the rising cost of living which is diminishing the value of Irish currency, so also is rust, if coinage, when exposed to the elements, continues to be manufactured from copper-plated steel.

Global wealth, at the end of 2022, was estimated to be about $454.4 trillion, same shrinking for the first time, since the financial crisis in 2008, by an estimated $11.3 trillion last year, 2023.

Money has been part of our human history for at least the past 5,000 years, graduating from bartering, (e.g. a dry measure of wheat from a farmer in exchange for a pair of shoes from a shoe maker), to the introduction of money, the later thus increasing the speed at which business deals could be transacted.

Above 3 coins are dated 1862 (Young Victoria halfpenny), 1853 (Young Victoria penny) and 2000 (Irish 1p), respectively.

The invention of metal coinage occurred when Lydia’s (Same country now present day Turkey), King Alyattes (r. 619-560 BCE) minted the first coins in the second half of the 7th century, before Christian era (BCE). These coins were made from electrum, latter a mixture of silver and gold that occurs naturally, and the coins were stamped with pictures that acted as the unit classification for each stated coin.

During 1260 CE, the Yuan dynasty of China, were the first to move from coins to paper money, with the stated warning, “Those who are counterfeiting will be beheaded”.

Of the above pictured 3 coins, same located buried in the ground and under similar circumstances; the first two dated 1862 and 1853 are made from bronze, while the 3rd coin; a decimal one penny Irish coin dated 2000, is coloured bronze, but made of actually copper-plated steel. As our readers can observe prone to rust if left/lost in damp clay.

It was in the 21st century that we began the form of making payments, for goods and services, using just the touch of our index finger, using a portable electronic device, such as a smartphone or tablet device.

In recent years, the acceleration of digital adoption, was brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, and was the main reasons why the use of cash declined significantly. Paper money has been long seen as a carrier of germs and disease, and as that pandemic grew, some businesses insisted that consumers used plastic or contactless smartphones, to complete transactions. Indeed, going back to Victorian times the upper classes regularly washed coinage, before giving them to their children. (Interesting to note that following a study of €10 notes in recent years, nearly 80% of them showed traces of cocaine, skin bacteria, DNA from pets and viruses, but thankfully our skin remains a really good protector of our overall health).

Cryptocurrencies and the use of smart cards has increased considerably, mainly because they offer such convenience, through speed and greater security. Worldwide, coins are no longer being manufactured to the same degree, thus saving countries millions in the mining of metal and cost of coin manufacture.

While it is accepted that coins and paper money will cease to exist by the end of this century, the stated rule, “Investment in knowledge will continue to pays the best interest”, remains steadfast.


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