Sunday 28 May 2017

Missing, presumed lost -- €250m in old punts

Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

TIP that couch on its side or have a root around under that mattress: there is nearly a quarter of a billion euro worth of Irish punts, still unredeemed, around the country.

According to the Central Bank's annual report, at the end of last year there was €240.6m worth of punts unaccounted for that could be redeemed at some point in the future.

Since the end of 2002, when the punt stopped being legal tender, just €60m worth of the old currency has been redeemed.

A spokesman for the Central Bank said yesterday that between 200 and 300 people a month are still exchanging punts for euro, either by post or by a "person-registered postal service".

He added: "Smaller amounts are dealt with over the counter but larger amounts are taken in and sent to our central process centre," he said.

Cash

The central bank would not comment on the average size of these cash transactions.

Irish bank notes ceased to be legal tender in February 2002. By December of that year, slightly less than €300m worth of Irish punts had yet to be converted into euro.

The Central Bank spokesman said that, in 2002, about €60m was set aside for redemptions but it has taken until recently for that provision to run out.

Last year, up to €3.2m worth of punts was redeemed.

In 2008, €3.3m worth was redeemed.

Despite the fluctuations in the euro's exchange rate since its inception, the punt- to-euro rate remains as it was originally, with €1 equating to IR£0.787564.

Irish Independent

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