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Bank Clerk Spends 6 Months Counting 1.2 Million Coins by Hand

Imagine inheriting more money that you and your family could ever hope to carry. That’s exactly what happened to a family in Bremervörde, Germany, who received an inheritance of over 1.2 million coins weighing around 2.5 tonnes. In this particular case, however, counting the money proved a lot more difficult than carrying it.

It all started 30 years ago, when a German truck driver started saving  1 pfennig (0.01 Deutsche Mark) and 2 pfennig (0.02 Deutsche Mark) coins for his family. He managed to collect around 1.2 million coins until his death, earlier this year, all of which were inherited by his family. Now, Deutsche Marks haven’t been in circulation since 2002, but the Bundesbank  – the central bank of Germany – still exchanges the old currency, so the man’s family were still able to collect their inheritance. All they had to do was weight until the coins were all counted by hand. It took a while.

Photos: Matd13/Wikimedia Commons

The 2.5 tonnes of 1 and 2 pfennig coins had to be delivered by van to the Bundesbank branch in Oldenburg, back in May, where clerk Wolfgang Kemereit was presented with the monumental challenge of counting them by hand, while also seeing to his day-to-day tasks. Usually, banks use special machines to count large quantities of coins, but that was impossible in this case, because many of the coins had rusted and become stuck to other coins. So Kemereit had to go through hundreds of freezer bags full of coins by hand, which took him over 6 months.

“I held each piece in my hand,” Wolfgang Kemereit recently told NDR 1. “I quite enjoy doing such things, so in that sense it wasn’t a problem.”

In case you’re wondering how much the family actually inherited, the 1.2 million coins amounted to the unimpressive amount of €8,000 euros ($9,400).

Interestingly, the Bundesbank estimates that Germans are still hoarding around 12.65 billion Deutsche Marks. Luckily for them, the central bank plans to keep exchanging them for euros indefinitely.

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