Nostalgia Sunday

September 21, 2008 - 9:45 PM by · 5 Comments
Filed under: Business, General, History and Culture, Israeliness 

While handing my cabdriver some change the other day, I noticed, at the last second, that one of the coins was an old 10 agorot piece. For those who’ve never seen one, or never had a jarful in their house, the 10 agorot coin looked like this:

Israeli 10 agorot coins

It was first issued in metallic gold-tone, but as hyper-inflation took hold in the early 80s, it was subsequently issued in silvery cheap crap and then done away with altogether. That is, until now. The Israel Government Coins & Medals Corporation is offering this lovely item for your refrigerator door.

Israeli coin magnets

I don’t mean to burst the Coins & Medals Corporation’s bubble, but I’ve been making these by myself for years with some magnets, contact cement and that jar of old coins.

For serious numismatists, the Bank of Israel website is the place to go. Their Banknotes and Coins Catalog has pictures and information about every banknote and coin since the Anglo-Palestine Bank series was issued in 1948.

I was a little disappointed that the central bank hasn’t updated the catalog to include our latest innovation, the plastic 20-shekel note, first introduced into circulation in April. According to the Bank of Israel press release: “In light of the advantages offered by polymer, its use is growing throughout the world, and currently twenty-six countries use it in the production of their banknotes, including Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Singapore. Israel thus becomes the twenty-seventh country to adopt polymer banknotes.” We’re number 27! Yeah!

The bank goes on to explain, “The design on the polymer notes is the same as that on the paper notes, except for small changes in the security features. The most notable of these is a transparent window in the polymer notes, as shown below, which is easily recognizable by the public. The window has the number ’20′ embossed on it.”

And in case you’re still not sure what it is you’re looking at, they include a picture:

Israeli 20 shekel banknote

The bank concludes by saying, “Some operators of automatic machines have not yet completed the process of adjusting them to the polymer notes; they are expected to do so in the next few weeks.” Last week, I tried — as I have several times — to buy a train ticket with one of these, and was once again cruelly rejected by the machine. The central bank’s expectations, it would seem, have yet to be realized.

 

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