Whole of Argentina Runs Out of Spare Change

Imagine if your 50 cent coin is worth a dollar. Or if loose change is so rare, shopkeepers  refuse to sell you a $1.90 pack of crackers if you don’t have exact change; because the 10 cents is too invaluable to give up for small transactions.

That’s exactly what happened in Argentina around ’09. No one is entirely certain of how all the country’s loose change just…up and vanished. Short of witchcraft and aliens, the most viable ones are:

  • Faceless coin hoarders, driving up the value of coins by taking them out of circulation, thus emulating the sort of criminal ploy usually only found in Scooby Doo episodes
  • The rising price of metal. Because at some point, it would have been more valuable to melt the coins and sell the metal than to keep them.
  • Buses that only take coins. Which is kind of a dumb explanation, unless the bus companies are the aforementioned faceless coin hoarders.

But wait. The simplest explanation is the Argentinian government. They didn’t mint enough coins, right?

Actually in 2008, they minted  over 500 million new coins. The only place you’ll find more metal is in Lil’ Wayne’s teeth. And yet over the next three years or so, the shortage was so severe people substituted small gifts, like candy, in place of their precious change.