When a merchant asks customers how they will pay for purchases, the expected answer could be paper cash, coins or credit cards. The Museos del Banco Central de Costa Rica will host an exhibit to show these are not the only options.
Otras formas de dinero: Fichas del Ecuador y boletos de Costa Rica will feature finance chits, coffee tokens and other units of currency.
The exhibit consists of 100 different pieces. Its dominate elements will be finance chips from Ecuador and Costa Rican coffee tokens. It will allow visitors to see the similarity in the origin and use of these non-traditional means of payment in both countries, said the museum.
The origins for Costa Rican tokens can be traced back to the 19th century when the country was having trouble providing money to circulate through the economy, according to an online historical account from Manuel Chacón Hidalgo, numismatic museum curator.
This was due to the coffee boom. The industry brought in more business transactions both internally and abroad, meaning money was leaving the country also, he explained.
To cope, coffee firms began issuing tokens that could be traded for coffee. Coffee growers also paid their employees with tokens that could be used to buy items from their commissaries.
Later retailers began accepting the tokens. They were even used in place of coins when a person needed change.
More about Costa Rican currency can be learned in the exhibit which opens Friday at the Museos del Banco Central.