Photographer: Erik Abel/Bloomberg

Hunt On for a Billion Kronor About to Be Worthless in Sweden

  • Old one, two, and five krona coins become worthless in Sept.
  • Change for Change seeks coins to help neediest children

Time is running out. 

About 1.6 billion kronor ($200 million) of coins will soon be worthless in Sweden. A charity is now urging people to dig these out from between sofa cushions, kitchen jars or wherever they’re hidden to create Sweden’s biggest piggy bank for needy kids.

“It’s one and a half billion that will be wasted,” Christopher Robinson, the founder of Change for Change, said by phone. “Everything is physical so it’s more difficult. We must collect the coins and make people search for coins in their drawers, desks and bags.”

The recall is part of the biggest changeover in Swedish history as the Riksbank modernizes its coins, making them smaller, lighter and nickel free. It also comes as Sweden goes virtually cashless in its embrace of the digital age. So such pop-up charities willing to hoover up old coins could serve as a blueprint for other countries getting rid of their legal tender.

The world’s oldest central bank is asking Swedes to hand in old one, two and five krona coins to banks before the end of August. The bank estimates that 30-50 percent of the originally 2.6 billion kronor of outstanding coins will be returned.

Change for Change has designated ambassadors who collect coins upon request. It also cooperates with companies that are spreading the word ahead of the August deadline. The proceeds will support projects for Sweden’s neediest children.

The foundation hopes collect as much as 10 million kronor, Robinson said. But the clock’s ticking and by the end of the month, all that cash will be worthless.

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