Friday, January 31, 2020

trouvaille intéressante

Hiding among the 100-won coins in my wallet (each one is worth a bit less than ten US cents) was this coin that at first appeared to be some kind of commemorative piece but, upon close inspection, proved to be a one-dirham coin from the United Arab Emirates. So the bad news was that I had 100 won less than I'd thought (I assume the coin somehow ended up in circulation, and no one noticed as it changed hands from cashiers to customers and back again), but the good news was that I could now play show-and-tell. Scroll down to see the coin's front and back (or technically, its obverse and reverse) up close.

The numerals on the front of the coin say "1998 - 1419." Since Arabic is read from right to left, I assume this is a stretch of time going from 1419 to 1998, and a Google Images search seems to indicate that 1998 would be the year this particular coin was made. I did have to wonder, though, whether the digits themselves also needed to be read from right to left, in which case the notation was saying, "9141 - 8991." That sounds like far-future science fiction.

You can learn a lot from the Google Images search I performed.

For more on UAE money, see this Wikipedia entry here.

Interestingly, the entry notes that the one-dirham coin is the same size as the Filipino one-peso coin, but the peso coin is worth only a fraction of the dirham coin, which has led to vending-machine fraud in the UAE. And now, through direct experience, I know that the one-dirham coin is the exact same size as the South Korean 100-won coin. I don't plan on putting this coin into a vending machine, though. Besides, I imagine that Korean vending machines are generally savvy enough to reject foreign coins.

The first time I encountered the word "dirham" was in a French poem by Héloïse, daughter of my best French buddy Dominique. The world is always teaching you something.

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