We are going to take time off from restructuring the US Mint to look at coin news from the United Kingdom. While reading other news from the British Broadcasting Company, I found two interesting articles.
In the first article, Are coin fairs the new investment clubs? BBC reporter Carolyn Rice attends a “coin fair” (coin show) last February following attendees who are more interested with coin investments than collecting.
One interesting aspect of the article is noting that British collectors and investors are interested in older gold sovereigns and ancient coins. It was interesting to read about a 10 year old collector from Birmingham who is “looking for a Julius Caesar coin, it has got an elephant on the back.”
The end of the story talks about the future of money and the lure of collecting. While one dealer thinks “[coins] will become more of a novelty and more collectable but [he] can’t see cash dying out completely.”
Is it possible to go through your day without cash? In a video report, BBC reporter Kevin Peachey tries to live a day without cash. Peachy, who begins his day from his London flat with breakfast, empties his pockets of money and tries to go through his day paying with credit and other payment cards.
While watching the video, I was struck by how many different cards had to be used to go through his day and looked at the cards in my wallet. Aside from the usual set of bank, store, and gas credit cards there are also cards for my morning coffee, a card if I need to ride the Metro, two gift cards, and various retail loyalty cards. The common denominator is that each card is backed with cash that is either paid directly or electronically transferred. In thinking about it, until a universal card can be developed to be as universal as coins and currency it will be difficult to create a cashless society.
Peachey and Rice team up to report that the usage of cheques is decreasing. While their report describes how the use of cash is decreasing to non-cash options, the authors predict that by 2015 there will be more usage of debit cards than other non-cash payments.
However, in the end, cash is still king and the various world mints do not have much to worry about.