Coin and paper money collectors to show their wares

The Museos del Banco Central, better known as the gold museum, is hosting a money exchange Saturday where collectors will gather, swap and sell bills, coins and the unique Costa Rican coffee token.

The event begins at 11 a.m. in the museum lobby, which is under the Plaza de la Cultura.

The tables usually are set up not far from the Museo de Numismática, which documents the use of money in Costa Rica from the arrival of the first European settlers.

The museum complex is perhaps better known for its Museo del Oro Precolombino, which contains a world-class collection of gold, jade and stone carvings and artifacts.

The collectors who are exhibiting Saturday include
professionals and amateurs. They are not restricted to Costa Rica items, and some have extensive collections from around the world. Not all is for sale.

The tokens were used on coffee plantations to avoid the use of money. Each collector of coffee received a token for each basket or cajuela that they brought to the collection point. Later these tokens or boletos would be turned in for real money or sometimes spent on their own in or near the plantation.

Coffee beans ripen at different times on the same plant, so human labor still is used today.

The tokens come in different denominations to account for different types of coffee beans or different sized baskets. Many are unique to a particular plantation.

They make good souvenirs as artifacts from another era.

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