Spaniards still have €1.67 billion in old pesetas

Even though the euro replaced the peseta 15 years ago, Spaniards still have a whopping €1.67 billion ($2.11 billion) worth of the country's old and now unusable currency stashed away in draws and collector's albums, the Bank of Spain says.

Fortunately for those who have just stumbled upon an old stash of pesetas, Spanish authorities will allow the old money to be exchanged for euros until 2020.

It’s been 15 years since the EU currency took centre stage in Spain and 13 since it completely replaced the peseta as the only currency that could be used as payment.

According to Spanish national daily ABC, Spaniards have continued to exchange pesetas in coinage and bank notes in recent years, €15 million worth in 2013.

But as Spain only just starts to lift itself up after 6 long years of economic hardship,  it’s difficult to believe there are still €1.6 billion euros worth that ordinary Spaniards haven’t made use of.

In fact, the Bank of Spain estimates 45 percent of the peseta coins that were in circulation before euros were introduced will never be exchanged either because they’re now collectors’ pieces, they’ve been lost or are in bad condition.

One euro currently equals 166 pesetas, meaning that the €1.67 billion figure equates to an astronomical 277.6 billion pesetas.

Spain’s old currency took its name from the Catalan word peça, which means either piece or fraction.

Although it became the official nationwide currency in 1868, the first coins which contained the word peseta date back to 1808 and are from Barcelona. 

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