Belfast Telegraph

Shortage of copper coins circulating in the Republic

By Brian Hutton

Banking chiefs in the Republic are urging savers to empty their piggy banks this Christmas because of a shortage of coppers in circulation.

The Republic is minting three times as many one cent and two cent coins as other European countries because so many are being stashed away in money jars.

Because shops still need the small denomination currency, the Central Bank has to keep issuing them and has distributed almost 2.5bn of the copper coins to date. Now, it is warning it may not be able to keep up with demand.

"Lots of people keep copper coins in jars and piggy banks around the house," a Central Bank spokesman said. "There is €35.3m (£27.9m) worth of one cent and two cent coins. This is better being spent or given to charity. We urge people to use this time of the year to de-clutter, by either giving these coins to charity or spending them."

By the end of October, the bank had issued 1,382,176,429 one cent coins and 1,072,289,522 two cent coins. The cost of making the coins is more than their face value, with a one cent coin costing around 1.7 cent to mint.

Belfast Telegraph