Spain brings pesetas back

It has been revealed that millions of pesetas were never converted into euros, according to the Bank of Spain.

The old Spanish currency – the peseta – has been reintroduced into a small town in northern Spain, together with the euro to give the economy a lift.

It has been nine years since Spain has used it’s traditional currency, and now Spain’s economic crisis has forced them to rethink about all the old coins. The hard times have seen thousands of businesses close and more than two million jobs go.

The small fishing village of Mugardos, in Galicia on Spain’s northern coast is now excepting pesetas once again as a form of currency.

This is an attempt to try and help lift the town out of the long and drawn-out downturn.

Although cynical to begin with, shopkeepers have now embraced the scheme, which has been a resounding success.

People are traveling into Mugardos from outside just to spend the old currency they never got round to converting.

The euro was introduced here in January 2002. Spaniards then had another three months to exchange their old currency at any bank. That cash can still be converted today, but only at the Bank of Spain itself. A huge 1.7bn euros ($2.4bn) of cash is still unaccounted for – hidden, perhaps, and long since forgotten; piles of coins that slipped down the backs of sofas; or even big notes kept by collectors.

That is the reserve the shopkeepers of Mugardos are hoping to tap and give a desperately needed boost to business.

Still, the Bank of Spain estimates that almost half the country’s millions of missing pesetas will never be recovered – despite their value. It is thought that many have left the country in the pockets and purses of tourists.

Rachael Chew