Six hundred old Belgium coins were recently uncovered by demolition workers in a small town in Brittany, France last week.
Struck in 1870 at 20 Belgian francs per coin, the total value of the coins are reportedly worth €100,000 today.
Cash is often hailed as a nation's calling card, valued by people beyond their monetary worth.
Thanks to the resilience of durable and tangible coins, the monetary value of the metals is preserved. But it is thanks to the portrait of King Leopold II, embossed on the reverse of each coin that Belgium history is not only recorded but handed down. Discoveries of cash invariably inspire wonderment over a forgotten generation of everyday people who traded with them over a hundred years ago.
King Leopold II, ruled for 44 years and primarily remembered for his terrible exploitation of the Congolese people. While the tragedies he caused reveal a dark side of Belgium's history, it is not his approval rating that decides the value of the coins, but the importance of piecing together a people's history, the good and the bad.
Cash reflects a nation’s identity. Thanks to the resilience of tangible cash, coins not only survive the test of time but a nation’s calling card, valued by people beyond their monetary worth. Their motifs depict a people’s defining moments and historic landmarks.
What a reminder of cash's unique role as a cultural time capsule.
In a cashless society, future generations are denied that connection to our everyday life. Holding and trading with tangible money is hardwired into human consciousness, the hardware that'll always be compatbible with future generations.
“The owner of the house was not surprised, because he knew his grandfather was a coin collector,”