Coins might not be precious metals anymore, but they seem to be more “money-like” than paper bills. Plus, they come from the Mint, not the Treasury, so they’re more closely tied to specie money than a greenback. So it’s quite a surprise when people get arrested for paying for things with nothing but coins:
A Chinese couple were arrested in Paris, France, for paying their hotel bill entirely with Euro coins. In fact, they were paying for everything in Euro coins, which aroused suspicion and the hotel called the police. There was nothing illegal about paying for things in coin, of course, but the hotel thought they had discovered a counterfeit ring who were too dumb to not hide their operations. Turns out, the couple were salvaging coins from junked cars, and had saved up for a nice trip. I hope the arrest was only a slight detour.
Scrapped Euros are actually a problem: Euros are “destroyed” by separating the bi-metal contents, but entrepreneurs in China have been buying the components and reassembling them into “genuine” coins. They still count as counterfeit, but they defeat most detection so the French hoteliers were right to be a little bit suspicious.
A Utah man found himself on the wrong side of the law for paying a $25 medical bill — in pennies. Once again, the pennies weren’t the problem: the man was cited for disorderly conduct because, well, he was doing it just to be a dick. Others have done it successfully, well, sorta, so much that it has attracted the attention of Snopes.
So, the moral of the story is: there’s nothing wrong with paying for things entirely in coin, but you’re going to attract attention — so be prepared for the fallout.