The irritation of having leftover foreign currency

I try to use credit cards on trips whenever possible. It’s a lot simpler for me and I then can avoid returning home with spare unused money. While this is possible in some countries, others still rely heavily on cash rather than card. When I do have extra cash, I just dump it on the hotel cashier as I’m leaving the country.

I traveled to Norway in the 90s and had a 50 Norwegian kronor bill left over that features Aasmund Olavsson Vinje on the front.

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

This bill has been sitting in a file folder for over ten years and I was finally excited about the prospects of dumping it due to a recent trip to Norway.

As I was at the airport leaving Norway, I walked into a shop to buy a couple of candy bars and finally rid myself of this note.

I handed the money to the cashier and you would have thought I had handed her Monopoly money. She stared at it, mumbled something to her coworker, and then handed it back to me saying “Sir, this currency is no longer valid, you will need to visit a bank.”

I must admit that I haven’t been following the latest development in Norwegian kroner banknotes but a quick search to Wikipedia indicates that my Aasmung Vinje bill was discontinued in 1999.

I walked out of the store crestfallen and tried to find a bank at the airport but couldn’t and had to board my flight. The persky 50 kroner relic went back into my wallet and headed back to the United States.

So what are my options now? I’m not even sure if this bank note is even valid in order to be exchanged anymore. I could always try to sell it on Ebay (this auction sold for $4.95!)

I’ll probably end up putting it back into the file folder to be forgotten for another decade until I can devise another way to spend this money.


  1. LOL! I have 40 kroner too, in a box in my desk… from a trip last year to Copenhagen. Along with a bunch of russian rubbles… and some swiss francs and god only knows what else…

    It was worse when the euro didn’t exist; there used to be different currency for every country. Come to think of it, I have another box of leftover coins that are totally worthless from various trips to Mexico, Brazil, Italy, Spain, etc. etc.

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