Author Topic: Denominations you can't give change for  (Read 3705 times)

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Offline FosseWay

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Denominations you can't give change for
« on: July 01, 2011, 02:44:03 PM »
In coffeetime's thread on new coin series issued since 2000, he illustrates one such from Venezuela, containing a 12½c coin but no other denomination involving ½c. How is such a coin used in practice?

IME most of the time when a small denomination drops off the bottom of a range of coins, any higher denomination that requires the use of the dropped coin to give change is also dropped, or some other workaround is created. Two options are exemplified by the divergent policies of Denmark and Sweden in the 1980s/90s. At the start of the 1980s, both countries had coins of 5, 10, 25, 50 øre/öre. The smallest was more or less worthless, so was eventually ditched. This left the problem outlined above in respect of the 25 øre/öre. The Danes decided to do away with the 10 øre as well, leaving prices to be rounded to the nearest 25 øre. Fine. The Swedes kept the 10 öre but ditched the 25 öre, with prices being rounded to the nearest 10 öre. Also fine.

Now, in Venezuela it would work (albeit rather bizarrely) if the lowest denomination were 12½c -- all prices would be rounded to the nearest 12½c. but there exist 5, 2 and 1c coins as well, which presumably have some use. So: if my bill totals a sum of money ending in ½c that is not a multiple of 12½c, how do I pay it/how is change given?

(I believe the same situation may have existed in the Netherlands and its Caribbean colonies for a time as well. Wasn't the ½c abolished before the 2½c? South Africa today has the identical situation to the Netherlands, though the 2½c commemoratives are not intended to circulate. Back in Elizabeth I's reign in England, there was a period when no farthings were issued, but threefarthings and halfpenny coins were. But back then it was  considered acceptable if you wanted a farthing to cut a penny into four, a solution that's generally frowned on these days.)

Offline Prosit

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Re: Denominations you can't give change for
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2011, 02:57:16 PM »
Regardless of the total, if it ends in 1/2c, you overpay with a 12-1/2c coin and get whatever combination of 5, 2 and 1c coins necessary to give you back the exact change.

Supose the total was 36 1/2, you give three 12-1/2 and get back a 1 cent.
Supose the total was 33 1/2 you give maybe 5 five cent coins and a 12-1/2  you get backtwo 2c
If it ends in a 1/2, you have to give a 12-1/2.

Dale


In coffeetime's thread on new coin series issued since 2000, he illustrates one such from Venezuela, containing a 12½c coin but no other denomination involving ½c. How is such a coin used in practice?
Now, in Venezuela it would work (albeit rather bizarrely) if the lowest denomination were 12½c -- all prices would be rounded to the nearest 12½c. but there exist 5, 2 and 1c coins as well, which presumably have some use. So: if my bill totals a sum of money ending in ½c that is not a multiple of 12½c, how do I pay it/how is change given?

Offline FosseWay

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Re: Denominations you can't give change for
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2011, 03:17:04 PM »
Sorry, I should have been a bit more specific. I realise that in these cases it's arithmetically possible to give change. But the larger the multiple between the 'missing' small denomination and the 'odd' denomination, the more calculation and faffing it requires. It's therefore more of a problem with a 12½c coin than a 2½c one. Given the mental arithmetic skills of your average UK citizen, I wouldn't hold out much hope if we had a 12½p coin. I therefore wonder why such weirdness persists. Surely it would just be easier all round to issue 10c coins...

Also, if something costs 36½c and you have no 12½c coins, again it's not insurmountable but you have to do a lot of extra calculation.

Offline a3v1

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Re: Denominations you can't give change for
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2011, 03:47:25 PM »
I believe the same situation may have existed in the Netherlands and its Caribbean colonies for a time as well. Wasn't the ½c abolished before the 2½c?
Any Dutchman could tell you that our Caribbean colonies never had a ½c, and the 2½c of the Netherlands Antilles circulated well into the 1980s.
In the Netherlands, both ½c and 2½c stopped to be circulating money on the same day: September 15, 1948.
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Offline FosseWay

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Re: Denominations you can't give change for
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2011, 05:02:24 PM »
Ah, thanks for the clarification. Without any books/records in front of me, I couldn't remember.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Denominations you can't give change for
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2011, 05:10:00 PM »
The secret to the Venezuelan coin is that the unit of account in colonial times was the Peso of 8 reales. The Peso is the direct ancestor of the Bolivar and Bolivar Fuerte. The 12-1/2¢ is therefore just a one real, a subdivision of the Peso/Bolivar. It has no connection with decimal coins other than the denomination.

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Offline <k>

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Re: Denominations you can't give change for
« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2011, 05:47:43 PM »
In coffeetime's thread on new coin series issued since 2000, he illustrates one such from Venezuela, containing a 12½c coin but no other denomination involving ½c. How is such a coin used in practice?

I would have expected a 2½c coin in such a case, but you're right - there is none. In pre-decimal times in the UK, we had a half crown (two shillings and sixpence) but also a two shilling coin (a florin) and a sixpence coin. So it worked, and the half crown circulated widely and was accepted. Nobody complained about it.

According to forum member translateltd, Jamaica also used the British pre-decimal system, and when it went decimal, it created a decimal counterpart for every coin from the sixpence upward. So, 5c was equal in value to 6d, whilst the 20c and 25c coins were equivalent to the florin and half crown respectively. This is what led to the unusual situation of there being (initially) both a circulating 20c and 25c coin; most countries either have one or the other.

As for the 12½c coin in Venezuela, you end up with that denomination by halving the Bolivar (100c) and halving it again, and so on, until you reach 12½c, so you can see the logic of it. The British half crown followed the same logic. Though I assume that nobody ever created a 6¼ denomination.
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Offline FosseWay

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Re: Denominations you can't give change for
« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2011, 05:49:19 PM »
Yes, I'd read that [Figleaf's explanation of the origin of the 12½c denomination] somewhere. But, just as the UK didn't retain the half crown as 12½p simply because it was ⅛ of a pound, so I'd have thought it was easier for Venezuela etc. to use normal decimal divisions with a currency that is to all practical intents and purposes decimal.

Offline <k>

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Re: Denominations you can't give change for
« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2011, 05:50:20 PM »
Agreed!
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Offline FosseWay

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Re: Denominations you can't give change for
« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2011, 05:54:48 PM »
Though I assume that nobody ever created a 6¼ denomination.

I don't think there's ever been a 6¼ denomination, but I'm fairly certain 1¼ ones exist, I think once again in South America, where the 5c denomination has been halved and halved again.

Offline andyg

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Re: Denominations you can't give change for
« Reply #10 on: July 01, 2011, 07:04:10 PM »
I don't think there's ever been a 6¼ denomination, but I'm fairly certain 1¼ ones exist, I think once again in South America, where the 5c denomination has been halved and halved again.

Haiti springs to mind for a 6¼ Centimes, issued in the 1850's.

The Venezuela 12½ Centimes was issued on instruction by Hugo Chavez, for some bizarre reason it is issued to combat inflation....
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Offline chrisild

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Re: Denominations you can't give change for
« Reply #11 on: July 01, 2011, 07:13:33 PM »
As for the 12½c coin in Venezuela, you end up with that denomination by halving the Bolivar (100c) and halving it again, and so on, until you reach 12½c, so you can see the logic of it. The British half crown followed the same logic. Though I assume that nobody ever created a 6¼ denomination.

There was a psychological reason too. Keep in mind that the name of the currency, after they chopped a few zeros at the end of 2007, has been "Bolivar Fuerte" since January 2008. And if you even call your currency "strong", why not (re-)introduce a denomination that brings back memories of the years of price stability and very low inflation rates? Back then, roughly from the early 1950s until the end of the 1960s, Venezuela had such a 12 1/2 centavos coin, called "locha" (referring to the "piece of eight", see Figleaf's reply), which apparently was quite popular. Guess this new locha was supposed to say, this new money is just as good ...

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Offline Ukrainii Pyat

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Re: Denominations you can't give change for
« Reply #12 on: July 01, 2011, 07:30:05 PM »
And apparently Hugo Chavez had fond memories of the locha coin, because the 12 1/2 centavos coin was created because he liked the denomination from his youth.  But all coins in Venezuela have lost most of their value with the inflation that never really got checked when they re-denominated their currency a few years ago.
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Offline Figleaf

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Re: Denominations you can't give change for
« Reply #13 on: July 01, 2011, 08:17:46 PM »
The way to understand this may be to realise that before decimalization, gold, silver and copper coins were different currencies in the same country. Sure, there was a rate of exchange, but it was floating. As an example, a guinea was worth a variable number of shillings before it came to be fixed at 21 shillings. How odd is a 21 shilling denomination? Likewise, in Spain, silver and copper coins were separated with an odd rate of exchange, 34 maravedis to the real.

Gold, silver and copper coins were meant for different social classes. A 19th century British nobleman would wager in guineas, the middle class would take a risk measured in shillings and the growling masses would bet in pennies. Each classes would calculate in their own currency.

Someone thinking in terms of (silver) reales has no need for a 10 or 20 centavos piece. They are 0.8 real and 1.6 real. Odd denominations. However, 12.5 centavos and 25 centavos come in handy, as they represent the familiar 1 and 2 reales coins. So what if the poor have to get used to yet another set of copper coins? They hardly ever handle silver anyway.

Peter
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Offline Figleaf

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Re: Denominations you can't give change for
« Reply #14 on: July 01, 2011, 08:23:25 PM »
As for Chavez, it is quite likely that his parents treated the 12-1/2 pieces with respect, as they symbolised things like "middle class", "not poor" and "traditional". Those would be strong positive values for a nationalist dictator.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.