July 22, 2018, 11:57 pm
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Oh, these aggravating coins...

THE Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has started circulating this month the full set of the New Generation Currency comprised of 10 million pieces of the P10 coin; 77 million pieces of the P5 coin; 19 million pieces of the P1 coin; 9.3 million pieces of the 25-centavo coin; 10.9 million pieces of five-centavo coin; and 11.5 million pieces of the one-centavo coin.

So much talent, time, artistry, labor to enhance the value of the coins to honor heroes to whom the country owes much, also to honor endemic plants and animals.

So much talent, time, artistry, labor to enhance the security in the micro-printed details using laser-engraving technology in the two highest denominated coins, the 10-Piso and 5-Piso.  

So much talent, time, artistry, labor towards state of the art technology to make it difficult for these coins to be duplicated by those criminals using traditional coin counterfeiting methods. 

So much talent, time, calculations, labor, smarts devoted to the composition of the coins to discourage the illegal practice of hoarding large quantities of coins for the extraction of their metal content.

So much talent, time, artistry, labor to enhance the aesthetics devoted to show that metallic silver, nickel-plated steel, are resistant to corrosion.

BSP Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo: “The existing coins (BSP Coin Series) shall remain as legal tender and can be used alongside the NGC Coin Series for day-to-day transactions to pay for goods and services, until such time the BSP calls for their demonetization...”

After all these... at the Bae palengke this morning, I was witness: animosity and altercation about exactly what coin was received and what coin was given. 

“I bought P40 bananas from you. I gave you six 5-peso coins and a P10 peso coin,” the buyer impatiently insisted with clenched teeth.

“Hindi po. Apat na mamiso, at dalawang five pesos yung binigay nyo sa akin,” angrily answered the tindera. “Tinignan ko at isinukli ko doon sa isang bumili, at tinanggap naman.”   Even at close range, I cannot differentiate the one from the five peso coin. 

I am to pay P9 for my ride. As an experiment, I gave one old BSP Coin Series P5; one NGC Coin Series P5, and three P1 coins. P13 total.   The driver glanced at my coins, saw P9, dropped them in his box. Or the driver was dishonest? BSP, do you see my point?

Mr. Guinigundo, imagine how many Filipinos are screaming at each other at open markets and stores for mis-identifications of these identical coins of differing values that you had approved.

I had lived in a number of countries. In addition to aesthetics, etc., other countries put a lot of importance to the “feel” of coins. I stick my fingers in my pocket or purse, and just by feel, I can identify the coin I need strictly by its size in these countries I’d lived in. 

American coins are most familiar to the staff of Mr. Guinigundo, so I’ll use American coins as a f’rinstance: 

The US ten-cent piece, which they call “dime” is tiny—about half an inch in diameter, very thin, and its value is determined by its metal—heavily silver.  America’s next most used coin is the five cent piece they call “nickel”—a lot larger than the dime, the size and shape of our P5. 

Even an old person with calloused fingers and poor eyesight, just from the obvious difference in shape and thickness, can differentiate a dime from a nickle by feel, without looking. 

Mr. Guinigundo, let’s you and I make a thousand peso bet that, blindfolded, the next person wouldn’t be able to accurately sort out the P1 from the P5 from a pile of your NGC coins. I think you’ll be P1,000 out!

“Recognizing concerns that the P5 NGC coin may be mistaken for the existing P1 coin, the BSP said the P5 coin is heavier, thicker and slightly larger than the existing P1 coin.” But not at all discernable by feel. Whoever at the BSP said that is not a sensitive thinker; hadn’t thought out what he’s saying.  

Fingers are not micro-scale inside the pocket or coin purse. The minuscule difference in weight, grooves, are indiscernable to fingers. In a person’s pocket, these two coins are not that much thicker nor heavier than the other, so your argument is null. Without a magnifying glass, by sight, these two coins are identical.

Please, next time, ask the United States Mint Coinage & Numismatic Art how it is done.


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