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Coin Shopping Around The World

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Pillar of the Community
Canada
3022 Posts
 Posted 05/26/2016  1:03 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add oriole to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
This is the sort of information that is very hard to get anywhere else.

Keep up the good work.
Pillar of the Community
United Kingdom
2346 Posts
 Posted 05/26/2016  1:11 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Bacchus2 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
What a fantastic post Ultrarant - many thanks
Pillar of the Community
Norway
1358 Posts
 Posted 05/26/2016  2:46 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add UltraRant to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks a lot for all the positive feedback! I've much more to come (been to over 100 countries, so there's more to look forward to), and please feel free to correct me if some of my information is outdated or incomplete.
Pillar of the Community
Norway
1358 Posts
 Posted 05/26/2016  3:06 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add UltraRant to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Laos

Laos is a landlocked communist republic in Southeast Asia. It has the Kip as currency and is very fond of using bank notes. The notes themselves (also in pretty much uncirculated condition) are quite easy to get via ATMs or in change.
The smallest denomination is 1000 Kip, which corresponds to about $0.125.
Laos has issued in total 6 commemorative coins since 1954, all made of gold and all made in ant size (11 mm, weight 0.5 gram, face value 500 Kip), with one exception, the 1000 Kip from 2005, which is for large ants (14mm, 1,24 gram).

Vientiane
Vientiane is the capital city, located on the banks of the Mekong river and directly facing Thailand on the other side. Directly on the other side of the dyke that keeps the city safe is a day and evening market where you can buy genuine fake posh label stuff. I needed a new travel wallet, but found it extremely hard to find one that also had a pocket for coins (I managed to find exactly one). This is a slight hint of how much coins are part of the daily life there...
For short, not even the banks could help me getting any commemorative coins or any coins at all.
I suggest that you spend the time you otherwise would spend on searching for coins with drinking the local beer, eating fantastic local food and top it off with a relaxing massage in one of the many massage parlors (yes, regular genuine massages cost you $5 or so. For those who wonder: 'extra services' are never offered, or I'm just too ugly for that). That's much more relaxing than coin hunting.

Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang is the 'old' capital of the former Kingdom of Laos and still has a lot to see and do. It's relatively touristic and beautifully located inside the rain forest. Also here, there are many touristic souvenir shops, jewelers, banks and pawn shops, but none can offer you any coins, as they simply don't exists. Same advice here as for Vientiane: forget coins for a while and relax in relative luxury.
Pillar of the Community
United States
1891 Posts
 Posted 05/26/2016  3:12 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Mister Kairu to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Awesome post! Thanks for sharing! Now I just need to copy and paste it somewhere and hope it is still relevant for 40 years before I can actually start affording to travel to some of these places... LOL
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United States
80815 Posts
 Posted 05/26/2016  3:14 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I gave your first posts and this more recent one a more thorough reading. This is good stuff!

I do look forward to reading your future posts. No pressure. Go at your own pace and make it last.
Pillar of the Community
Norway
1358 Posts
 Posted 05/26/2016  3:31 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add UltraRant to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Mongolia

Mongolia is huge and empty. I believe it's just behind Greenland and Antarctica when it comes to lowest population density. It's a former communist state (only became semi-democratic in 1990) and, just like Laos, very fond of bank notes. The local currency is the Tögrög, which is technically divided in Möngö. Technically, because there are already 2000 Tögrög in a US Dollar. The smallest banknote in circulation is 1 Tögrög, although chances are tiny that you'll ever get to see one. I got one by accident when changing my money at the bureau de change at the airport in Ulaanbaatar. The smallest note in daily use is the 20 Tögrög, although smaller ones might still be found in more rural areas.
Accroding to wikipedia, Mongolia has issued a series of coins for circulation in 1994 with values varying from 20 to 500 Tögrög, but in daily life you won't see any: only bank notes are used.
Mongolia has apparently also released 10 commemorative gold coins in the past. 7 of these are for ants (11 mm and 1 or 0.5 gram), 2 of these are for humans (about 19 and 33,5 gram) and one is for giants (5 troy ounce).
I have visited more places than Ulaanbaatar, the capital, but, despite these places being relatively large for Mongolia, they didn't even have (many) paved roads, let alone coin shops.

Ulaanbaatar
Ulaanbaatar might best be avoided in winter: it is then the most polluted city in the world due to the extreme cold and the extreme amount of old fashioned wood (and who knows what else) ovens in use. The best time to visit is early summer, when it's not too hot yet but all of the winter is gone.
You will find a lot to see and do here, but coins and coin shops are not part of it. You will find a few pawn shops, jewelers, antique shops, even an odd souvenir shop, but coins are not part of their range of articles.
If you plan to visit a bank, then I suggest that you learn some basic Mongolian first or take someone with you who speaks the language, as most people won't be able to speak English. Consequentially, I do hope that the poor girl at the bank stopped wondering what this foreign guy tried to achieve...

(ps. It's not coins, but they have a LEGO shop next to Chingis Khaan Square, in case you're interested).
Valued Member
Canada
148 Posts
 Posted 05/26/2016  7:29 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add priorpence to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Man oh man oh man you are one travelling dude Not necessarily the safest places either. Stay safe my friend and happy trails.
Pillar of the Community
Norway
1358 Posts
 Posted 05/28/2016  01:06 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add UltraRant to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Norway

Time again for a relatively easy country: Norway. Despite having a short history as independent country, Norway has made some nice coins since. The currency is the Krone, which right now comes in coins of 1, 5, 10 and 20. The Krone is divided in Øre (100 Øre in a Krone), but the last øre-coin, the 50-Øre coin, has been demonetized in 2012. All regular Krone coins and a lot of commemorative coins can just be found in circulation.

Despite being relatively big and absolutely not densely populated, there are coin shops to be found and there is also quite a big group of people (relatively speaking) with numismatic interests.

For bullion coins, Norway has issued quite a few coins and medals and still does so on a regular basis. Bullion includes medals of 1 kg (2.2 lbs).

Internet
Norway has also entered the digital age and as such, it's pretty easy to search for coin shops. 'mynt' means coin, 'mynter' means coins and 'mynthandel' is coin shop.
The biggest Norwegian web shop has a digital outlet via Samlerhuset. Their site can be reached in Norwegian only (so use Google Translate or so) and I'm not sure if things are posted abroad, but given their aggressive urge to sell, they probably do. Just be aware that some of their top offers actually automatically give you a subscription to a coin series and that can be a pricey and unpleasant surprise.
Another site is the national variant on eBay. It's called finn.no and also contains a lot of coins, bank notes and is usually reliable: that's the advantage of being such a small country: if someone is a scammer, word spreads very fast.

Oslo
Oslo is the Capital of Norway, housing well over 10% of the population. A lot of numismatic activity takes place here. In the absolute center of the city, right next to the Royal Palace, to be precise, are three coin shops (in streets called Inkognitogata, Tordenskioldsgata and Løkkeveien).

If you look online, you'll probably also find some coin auction sites situated in Oslo. I don't have experience with those.

Metropolitan Oslo also has a share of small shops, mainly with coin supplies and also with more focus on stamps ('frimerker' in Norwegian) than coins. One of Norways biggest malls, Liertoppen in Lier, has a tiny shop on the lowest floor (opening times vary as per the mood of the shop owner) and Asker also has a small shop at Kirkeveien, but again this one combines coins, stamps, postcards and other collectibles. None of these shops are woth a detour, though. :)

Lillestrøm (on the north east side of Oslo, between the city and the airport) has a coin shop. This is the second outlet of the coin shop in Løkkeveien in Oslo.

Bergen
There is a coin shop shop where all sorts of collectibles are sold in the center of Bergen, in Øvregaten. Do feel free to visit if you have a bit of spare time, but don't have too high expectations.

Trondheim
Believe it or not, but Trondheim has one huge coin shop, located at Dronningens Gate. I've so far only used their web shop, but plan to visit them in real life when I have the opportunity.

Stavanger
There is a coin shop antique shop also dealing in old coins in Bergelandsgata in Stavanger. It's nice, but don't get too high hopes, though.

Tromsø
Tromsø has a coin and stamp shop in Storgata. I haven't been there yet myself, but this might be the only coin shop in the world that's above the Polar Circle. As such, it's still on my list of shops to visit when around. :)

Valued Member
Norway
148 Posts
 Posted 05/28/2016  06:54 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add aleroe to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Just to be precise. The one in Inkognitogata is not there anymore.
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United States
14454 Posts
 Posted 05/28/2016  07:01 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Spence to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
@ultrarant, as many of the readers of this post will not be from Norway, how about a quick synopsis of coin shops in your home country?
"If you climb a good tree, you get a push."
-----Ghanaian proverb

"The danger we all now face is distinguishing between what is authentic and what is performed."
-----King Adz

Pillar of the Community
Norway
1358 Posts
 Posted 05/28/2016  07:57 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add UltraRant to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
@dspenciner: it's not about being from a country and posting about your own coin shops, it's about what to do when you're abroad and get numismatic cravings. :) So, to me Norway is a 'home country', but to most here it isn't. That's why I post Norway in the first place. I personally thought it is at about the same level as the rest I posted (just a few more cities).
Pillar of the Community
Norway
1358 Posts
 Posted 05/30/2016  02:56 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add UltraRant to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
@aleroe: thanks for the update. Haven't been there in a while, maybe that has something to do with it... ;) Anyway, I'll update my post!

EDIT

Apparently I'm not allowed to change posts that are older than one day... :(
Edited by UltraRant
05/30/2016 04:11 am
Pillar of the Community
Norway
1358 Posts
 Posted 05/30/2016  04:05 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add UltraRant to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Hong Kong

Technically part of China, but in numismatic terms a country on its own. So that's why I put it in its own reply to this topic. Hong Kong still has its own currency, the Hong Kong Dollar (about 8 to the USD) and a lot of especially interesting banknotes: these seem to change every single time I'm around there. The good news is that your old notes aren't demonetized instantly when new notes come into existence. Coins are a tad more stable though, as I haven't seen many changes in the last decade (although smaller coins, like the 10 and 20 cents aren't really in use anymore). Also, a lot of nice commemorative coins (including bullion) can be found.

Being one of my favorite cities in the world, I was here again this weekend on a planned stopover on my way home. I remember that there was a good deal of shops, especially focusing on old (and sometimes ancient) Chinese coins and bank notes. Hong Kong is one of the most dynamic places on the planet and might be the overall largest shopping mall in the world, so also a lot of coin and bullion activity might be expected, right? Well...

Warning
A fair warning must be given: Hong Kong might also be the world capital of fake coins and bullion. I've seen many, many fake silver and gold coins and general bullion in a lot of shops, also reputable jewellery shops, throughout the city. If you look at the shop windows in for example Kowloon's Nathan Road, you'd first see the most beautiful samples of what's advertised as gold. However, it usually has a comment like 100 (followed by an interesting Chinese character). If you then calculate the price to your local currency, you'll instantly understand that the symbol probably represents an equivalent to the 'mils' : your bar or nice piece of gold turns out to be a gold plated piece of junk metal. Also, for any coins that you might find on night markets, please just assume that they're fake.

Also a fair warning for any coins you may find near touristic attractions like the giant Buddha statue. These 'nice touristic memories' are generally just scrap metal.

Finally, a fair warning for not losing your regular circulation coins: especially on the southern part of Nathan Road, near Chungking Mansions, there are loads of illegal immigrants from the Indian peninsula. They will try to sell you all that's fake and illegal and also don't pick-pocketing to get your coins anyway. The food stalls in Chungking Mansions are generally great for collecting a series of interesting diseases and exotic bacteria.

Shops

First of all a tip: don't expect every shop to be on ground floor level. Hong Kong has the most expensive floor space in the world and also the highest amount of skyscrapers because of it. It's not uncommon to have a shop or restaurant on the 11th level of a skyscraper without it being part of a mall. You have to think vertically.

The best chance of finding a coin shop is in Mong Kok on the mainland part of the city. There used to be a tower dedicated to any possible numismatic interest one can have located in a sort-of shopping mall on Portland Street and Soy Street, but I haven't had time to check it this time (I hate delayed flights...). The fake bullion coins and bars in Tsim Sha Tsui are still there, though!

Also, there are a lot of (night) markets around the city where the most interesting stuff is being sold (Temple Street in Yau Ma Tei, just a few blocks from Soy Street is a famous one. Beware of pickpockets, though), including coins. Please keep the warning above in mind, though.

Some bullion coins might also be found in the ICC building, which is right next to Kowloon Station and the huge shopping center there (Harbour City). And if you're there, then please feel free to check out the 'antique' shops in and around that mall. There's interesting stuff to be found (but not all would be genuine, though).

Scattered all over the city (both Kowloon and Hong Kong) are several shops with all sorts of collectibles, including (fake) coins. I don't recall many of their addresses, as I sometimes just happen to walk by one when strolling through the city. I would nevertheless say that, according to my findings, southern Kowloon is the heart of the business, not Hong Kong Island.
Edited by UltraRant
05/30/2016 04:10 am
Pillar of the Community
United Kingdom
5947 Posts
 Posted 05/30/2016  04:14 am  Show Profile   Check NumisRob's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add NumisRob to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Very informative and useful, UltraRant!

I've just come back from Rome, and I visited the Vatican City. The Post Office inside the Vatican Museum complex (not the post office on St Peter's Square to the right as you leave the Basilica) gives Vatican 50c coins in change! Unfortunately to get there in the first place you have to pay the 16-euro entrance to the Vatican City. And, once inside the museum complex, it's important to visit the Post Office before going on to the Sistine Chapel: if you ignore the sign to the Post Office and follow the tourist route through the complex to the Sistine Chapel, you will just go right out after visiting the Chapel and there is no way to get back to the Post Office! Incidentally, the Vatican Coin & Stamp Museum is next to the post office and is worth a look - sets of practically every Vatican coin issue are on display.
Edited by NumisRob
05/30/2016 04:15 am
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