THE Bank of Spain has revealed that the nation has lost a whopping €1.6billion in hoarded pesetas that were not exchanged before the final deadline.

 The final deadline for Spaniards to dig out their old pesetas and exchange was set for June 30, 2021, after a six-month extension to allow for Covid.

But tucked away in biscuit tins, old jars and the back of dusty old bookcases is an estimated  

 262 billion pesetas made up of €793 million equivalent in banknotes and €782 million in coins.

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Image: Pixabay

This acts as a stark contrast against countries such as France and Portugal whose remaining totals were far lower after they swapped old currency for euros.

France, only made a loss of €526 million in francs and Portugal €40 million in escudos.

In the first six months of its circulation on January 1, 2002, 94.5% of pesetas were exchanged. Since then, a constant stream of deposits has been received, bringing the total return to 96.8% for the previous 19 years.

Despite the six-month extension of the final return date by the Bank of Spain due to restrictions faced by the coronavirus pandemic, Spaniards left it to the very last minute to exchange. 

Many were left frustrated after missing the deadline. 

There was even a bartering market created amongst the queue with the customers at the front of the line.

The notes and coins returned to the bank will either be sold, scrapped or repurposed. 

Bank notes are shredded down, compacted and then recycled. 

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Image: Unsplash

One peseta coins are frequently fashioned into beer barrels, whilst refrigeration tubes can be formed from those worth 10, 50 and 200 pesetas. Pesetas worth 5, 25, 100 and 500 can also be repurposed into boat propellers. 

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