Smallest coin may disappear

Bookmark and Share

Norway’s smallest coin, worth a half-krone or about eight US cents, may be withdrawn from the market because the central bank is literally losing millions of them every year. Its fate will be decided next year.

The central bank (Norges Bank) is facing a mysterious challenge: The nation’s 50-øre coins seem to disappearing from the market on their own.

Every year, reports news bureau NTB, around 17 million of the copper 50-øre coins go astray. No one knows what’s happening to them.

“We are seeing that we’re delivering a considerably larger number of the coins than we’re taking in again,” Leif Veggum of Norges Bank told newspaper Bergens Tidende .

He said the number of 50-øre coins in circulation has nearly doubled since 1995, with around a half-billion now believed to be out there among the public. But many people are either stashing them away, or simply cleaning them out of their pockets or coin purses and leaving them at home.

Whatever the reason, Norges Bank has needed to replace those that go missing, and now central bank officials are weighing the value of the coin’s usage against production costs.

“We’re evaluating whether the 50-øring is a necessary means of payment, and whether it’s worth producing them anymore,” Veggum said.

Withdrawal of the coins won’t happen abruptly, and they’ll could still be used for a year after any decision to take them out of circulation. After that, the bank will be obligated to buy them back at face value for a 10-year period.

The last Norwegian coin to be taken out of circulation was the 10-øre coin, which was withdrawn in 1993.

RELATED STORY:Largest note may disappear