via jermslclothing

Do you like money?

I thought so.

Yesterday I went to the David LaChapelle photography exhibition at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. One of his pieces is large X-ray-ish images of American and Israeli money. I’m sure there’s a political message behind his work, but for me, I liked seeing the gigantic currencies from two different countries side-by-side. Currency looks different in each country (and over time, too), so it’s pretty cool to see familiar currency in a new light.

As a designer, I’m acutely aware of the look and feel of money. Or at least I try to be. That’s why one of the only souvenirs I’ve been collecting on this trip is my leftover money. It can get expensive, yes, but it’s worth it. Money, like everything, is designed for a reason. Its design is democratic—it has to be legible and secure for everyone…including visitors. When India announced a new typographical symbol, I was interested to see how the design would translate. Money is cool, yo.

What do you think? Do you ever pay attention to those old, dirty bills in your wallet?

Need a place to put your money? Win a wallet!

As luck would have it, Paper Wallet has offered to give away one of their trendy paper wallets (not actually paper, but some sort of paper-thin material) to someone. These wallets are about as hipster as you can get. And it seems to me like it’d be pretty useful for traveling, too. If you lose it, it’s just paper.

Maybe next time I’ll give away money. (uh, probably not)

TO ENTER THE CONTEST: Simply leave a comment (be sure to include your e-mail address) below. I’d also ask you to become a fan on Facebook, but that’s not allowed. So just a comment will do. This contest will end on Wednesday, September 22 so be sure to leave a comment before then. A winner will be chosen randomly. You do not need to be a hipster to win; in fact, a hipster would probably make his or her own paper wallet. Or pay an exorbitant price for one.

PS. Platinum credit card especially not included.

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This contest is expired. Congratulations to Kristin for winning the Paper Wallet. 

Travels of Adam - It's a blogLooking for a place to stay? I use HotelsCombined.com where you can easily compare hotel room rates and prices. Please note some posts do make me some money but I never sacrifice my integrity in exchange for a favorable review. Read the full disclosure policy.

14 comments

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  1. There was as terrific currency exhibit at the museum in Shanghai, and another in Chicago this past March. Very much worth checking out (and I dig the paper wallet). 

  2. enrolled agent cpe

    Next year I will embark on a three month trip across Southeast Asia. I am planning to collect my left over currencies. It will be my memorabilia for all my trips.

  3. JasonB

    Yeah I’ve seen these and they are quite tough, not like paper.

  4. I have always collected small notes from countries too. My mom got me started when I was just a toddler. That thin Paper Wallet looks like a great idea for my RTW trip coming up next year. Thanks for sharing Adam!

  5. Eurotrip Tips

    I’m so disappointed about the platinum card, it’s all I wanted! Shame on you for getting my hopes high! ;)

    On another note, I do collect money too. I only have coins for now but one day I’ll have bills too (well, small bills anyway). I have coins from pretty much everywhere in Europe, even places I haven’t been (thanks to the Eurozone). The one I prefer is the Czech currency, it looks like medieval money or something. And Swiss money has some really large coins! I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it. Right now it’s just sitting pretty in my Red Phone Booth I bought in London… I think I might just keep it as a souvenir and do absolutely nothing about it.

    Side note: yes, American money is the most boring and smelly of all currencies! I like my good old coloured-coding Canadian bills.

  6. I collect money too. I don’t know what I’m going to do with it… but as a graphic designer too I find it interesting. I kept one of every bill worth under $20USD from every country I visited. I came home with several hundred dollars in foreign currency! I might lower the limit to $10 because it added up quickly! I found that non-America travelers found the United States to have the most boring currency.

  7. Russ

    This is great. There really are some stunning currencies around the world (@camels – yes we most certainly do have the most boring!). I hate coins (even at home), so I always keep the lowest (unless there’s something prettier) 1 or 2 bills from anywhere I go. I bring them home and make fridge magnets or gifts for friends out of them. When I have friends over, everyone always comments on them and usually they all take the time to really look at them for more than their monetary value.

  8. CamelsAndChocolate

    That’s my dream exhibit! I started collecting currency nearly a decade ago–I generally keep the lowest bill and maybe another unit, too, if a) it’s not too expensive and b) it’s another color than the first one I’ve stashed–and then I inevitably always have a handful of coins left from any country. Now, I have something like 60 different currencies in my drawer (it would be more if it weren’t for the introduction of the euro!), and I’m thinking of some day decoupaging a coffee table top with them or making some sort of display I can actually use.

    Side note: Don’t we as Americans have the most boring currency of anywhere???

  9. Abby

    Love your creative eye! I also sorta secretly stash foreign currency. I have random colones in pockets everywhere, and I have some Bulgarian bills that I keep “forgetting” to take to the bank. Ah, travel…

  10. Grahams Travel Blog

    I try and keep some currency from my travels so that the next time that I visit the country I don’t have to rush to find an airport ATM; I just hit the ground running. This has resulted in a small James Bond style cache that I keep. It’s fun to flip through it and find just what I need for a trip. I should probably write an article about it, but then people would know what I have…creepy.

  11. Design and money don’t go well together. And if they do it right (as they did in the Netherlands) it quickly disappeared with the introduction of the run-of-the-mill-over-compromised-uber-ugly Euro.

    Yeah, I still mourn the disappearance of the late and last run of dutch paper money, designed by Jaap Drupsteen. In my pocket I still cary a totally awesome tenner I recently found in J.D Salinger book.

    Beauty dies eh?

  12. Alouise

    I love collecting currency, usually I stick with coins. It’s actually a pretty cheap souvenir, because each coin wouldn’t be worth more than a couple dollars (Canadian) at the most. I’m always on the lookout for foreign coins in my change. Last week I found a Franc which I thought was pretty cool because I live in Canada and France has had the Euro for years now.

  13. I always keep some foreign currency for souvenirs. I love the different designs, shapes, colors, and other unique characteristics. It’s nice to know that you do, too. But it’s a good idea not to assume you can use old foreign currency. Had an experience in London using a note (don’t remember which one) from a previous trip. For a short time, I felt a bit like a criminal trying to pass counterfeit currency. But all ended well.

    By the way, the paper wallet looks very cool!

  14. I always keep some foreign currency for souvenirs. I love the different designs, shapes, colors, and other unique characteristics. It’s nice to know that you do, too. But it’s a good idea not to assume you can use old foreign currency. Had an experience in London using a note (don’t remember which one) from a previous trip. For a short time, I felt a bit like a criminal trying to pass counterfeit currency. But all ended well.

    By the way, the paper wallet looks very cool!

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