Chinese tourists with room full of Euro coins weren't counterfeiters; they got 'em from scrap cars


I love this! Straight out of a Bill Gibson novel…just needs a deck with telescoping smart wheels


A revival / new instance of this old story seems much more plausible than these people finding literally thousands of Euro coins in cars sent for scrap, and taking those coins to France (how many Euro coins can you fit in your luggage? how can you get them through Customs? Why wouldn’t you exchange or deposit them at home?)

The old story begins thusly:

Precious Metal: Scrapped Euro Coin Scam Costs Bundesbank Millions

German prosecutors have uncovered a 6 million euro scam involving reconstituted euro coins that had been sold to China as scrap metal. One and two euro coins were then brought back to Germany, some via Lufthansa airline employees, and traded in at the central bank.

An alleged scam has been discovered, involving the reconstruction of previously “destroyed” euro coins, according to German authorities

German investigators say they have discovered a massive scandal involving the reintroduction of euro coins that had been taken out of circulation and sold as scrap to China. The scheme, said to have cost Germany’s Central Bank €6 million ($8.5 million), involved airline employees – including Lufthansa flight attendants.


That’s pretty neat. I wonder what a Euro costs when you buy it from a Chinese scrap yard.

A long time ago I worked as a maintenance man on a college campus. Every year after the college kids moved out, we had to go through all the rooms on campus to repair all the things the kids busted. The best part was searching their rooms for the things they left behind. There were days when I had to make multiple runs just to empty the change out of my pockets.

The worst part of that job was finding the delinquent credit card notices crammed under mattresses and behind desk drawers. The students couldn’t pay them, but couldn’t bring themselves to throw them away.


The tourists paid their bill in cash two nights in a row, and that was enough to trigger a police investigation (and presumably some kind of search warrant, to reveal the coins “found” in their room)? Seems excessive.

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They were also Not French, which I think is considered highly suspicious in France.


A €1 coin weighs 7.5g. The 3,700 remaining coins in their room (assuming they were €1 coins) would thus weigh 27.75kg. If this was split between the luggage of two persons, it would be quite easy to carry the coins. I am not sure about the customs side of it, but I can’t imagine there’s any reason to stop a bag with - let’s say - 10kg of coins inside. As for not exchanging them at home: many money changers only take notes and don’t want to handle coins. And of course it’s China, so people don’t want to take the money to a bank because there might be taxation issues (I’m sure the scrap merchants aren’t declaring their Euro finds).

Nice story on which to speculate… :slight_smile:


[quote=“WarrenTerra, post:3, topic:12175”]how many Euro coins can you fit in your luggage? how can you get them through Customs? Why wouldn’t you exchange or deposit them at home?)

Assuming half and half (1,230 € in 1 € coins, 2,460 € in 2 € coins), it’s about 20 kg and roughly 4 liters. Doable and even if it was paid overweight still profitable.

They wouldn’t even have to declare it, as it’s less than 10.000 €.

About the exchange: Money changers usually don’t do coins.


Amidst all the confusion, for a fleeting moment it seemed like the biggest case ever for the Car Wash Coin Thief Action Squad.

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I think they found so many one Euro coins in cars because we need them to use shopping carts in supermarkets !


The French are having un probleme with this - they’re not sure really what French is, was, or ever will be.


When you are a receptionist, and have to count the money on the register at the end of your turn, several hundred euro coins are what i would call excessive.

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When my family visited Estonia last year, we found a 2 Euro coin in our hotel room. My daughter is really interested in which countries the coins come from, so we looked it up. The outer ring was from one country and the center disc was from another country. Apparently Euro coins taken out of circulation have also been sent to Russia to be scrapped. For security, the outer ring and the inner disc were sent separately to different facilities. Apparently somebody got in touch with both facilities and was pressing the coins back together and putting them back in circulation.


Don’t you have washers/tokens that fit the carts? I keep a few in my wallet for shopping carts and lockers so that I don’t have to put real money in them. They also sell purpose-made cart “keys” that you can keep on a keychain, but I can’t be bothered to buy them.

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Of course we got tokens too, but I think many people still use coins (well, I do).
But maybe its mostly money for parking…

I dunno about France (or the Eurozone in general), but in the UK, pound coins are legal tender for any amount, so the receptionist has to take 'em.
Edit: it’s only fifty Euros worth you can use as legal tender. Well well.

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It’s not so bad, the quick trick is making an initial vertical stack of ten coins, then using it as standard measure of height with the other coins, no need to count them.

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That is amazing. As a collector I’ve noticed Euro coins (only Eurocents, though) turning up in the “five for a dollar” coin boxes at flea markets. The small change probably isn’t worth enough for someone to go to the trouble, but I would love to find one of those “recirculated” coins.

I think most Europeans actually own a washing machine or there’s a shared one in the basement, where people just jot down their usage. (At least for Germany.) Haven’t seen a laundromat. I think in our town of 150.000 there are about two or three.

Other tokens are common, but coins are more common still, since we use a lot of them.

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It might be excessive (no opinion, really), but paying your bill in coins is certainly highly unusual. And there’s no such thing as a search warrant in French law (there are rules, obviously, but nowhere near as stringent as in the US).