I recently stumbled across a blog talking about how the value of pennies in copper is well over it's actual denominated 1 cent value. Very interesting. But before you get visions of riches, it's also illegal to melt them down as of 2006. That law however does not apply to foreign coins, so I'm looking around right now actually to see whether any other nations have a similar problem, as my money making sense is tingling a bit.
Anyways, this had me reading into all sorts of foreign currencies, and I stumbled across the wonderful story of Zimbabwe. For those of you not in the know, Zimbabwe is a prime example of rampant hyperinflation, or put another way; It's what happens when a government decides they can just print more money if they want to pay for something. The levels this reached really are rather unbelievable, as this picture may demonstrate:
That picture right there shows a 100 billion dollar zimbabwean note, along with how many eggs it could buy you at the time of printing. I recall seeing a story on BBC about this when it was at its height, and they showed a man walking around with a wheelbarrow full of trillions of zimbabwean dollars. My Dad cracked: "The funny thing is, that wheelbarrow is worth more than the money it's carrying. Anyone stealing it would dump the money on the ground and run off with just the wheelbarrow." I laughed at the time, but it was pretty much true.
So yeah, just an amusing story of sorts, although I can only imagine the hell it wreaked on Zimbabwe as a country. I believe they stopped printing money after releasing some 100 trillion dollar bills...
Unfortunately, from a money making perspective, they essentially switched completely to a paper currency, and the availability of the coins is low, as well as their metal value. Oh well.