Hidden Treasurers in our Travel Drawer


It’s very common that people think their old currency is worthless, but then it turns out that on average it’s worth more than £100 pounds. We would advise anyone with a ‘travel drawer’ to explore what treasures might be hidden inside…we did and we got a nice surprise with our old Spanish Pesetas.

Whether they are under the mattress or down the back of the sofa, us Brits are holding on millions worth of old currency and coins when the euro was introduced 12 years ago. According to the Bank of Spain there are £683m in notes that have yet to be cashed in. The central bank of Spain believes the millions are being kept by collectors, have been lost, or have left Spain in the pockets of the millions of tourists who visit each year.

When the euro was introduced on 1 January 2002, the Spanish government allowed both the euro & pesetas to circulate for 3 months, after which pesetas could be exchanged for euros at any bank up until the end of June 2002. Thereafter, the exchange could only be made via the central bank. But did you know…you have until the end of 2020 to cash them in, after which the bank will cease to exchange them. Just like Spain many of the other European countries still allow you to cash in old currency.

How to check if you can exchange your old currency

If you have some old currency then check out if it can be exchanged via this link https://www.ecb.europa.eu/euro/exchange/html/index.en.html

How to exchange old currency

Our research showed we had 3 options – exchange website, drop in money bank (London) or direct to Central Bank of Spain?

Well first we looked at a couple of exchange companies that do the work for you because we thought it would be the easiest. We checked out Cash4Coins and Left over Currency. Both companies seemed fine but their exchange rates looked pretty low and we still had to ‘post’ the pesetas.

In essence, for 10,000 pesetas we would receive £39.50 in around 21 days.

So, we thought why not see how to exchange via the Central Bank of Spain! To our surprise it was easier and much quicker that using the exchange companies and we got more pounds for our pesetas straight in to our bank account!

The steps we took

  1. Load the website https://www.bde.es/bde/en/areas/billemone/Publico_general/Billetes_y_moned/
  2. Check we held the acceptable bank notes
  3. Completed the form https://www.bde.es/f/webbde/COM/servicio/modelo_presentacion_billetes_ingles_.pdf
  4. Placed the form, the currency and a copy of my passport in an envelop and posted to Banco de Espana, Departamento de Emision y Caja, Alcala 48, 28014 Madrid.
  5. Popped to the post office and asked for standard international postage and proof of postage.  Cost £1.40

For 10,000 pesetas we received £52.98 in our bank account 6 days after postage….wow now that is what you call a great service.

So get checking the travel drawer and you never know you might unearth some hidden treasurers just in time for Christmas!

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