Thursday, February 18, 2010

Candy as Currency

I’ve been cruising around old issues of Life Magazine in search of confectionery-themed morsels that might give me a glimpse into how candy was regarded in our culture in the past. I found this one and thought I’d share it.

The Licorice Lira Problem by Dora Jane Hamblin from LIFE magazine November 26, 1971

At the heart of the matter is an acute shortage of the small five- and ten-lira coins needed to make change. It is not a big deal: the five-lira piece is worth about one-third of a U.S. cent, the ten-lira piece about two-thirds. But shopkeepers never seem to have any, and they have evolved a system of handing out candy in lieu of small coins. (The post office has its own system, doling out utterly useless but quite beautiful stamps for change.) A square of hard licorice, hygienically wrapped in its own bit of paper, serves for five lire in most stores, and a creamy caramel or a piece of what tastes and crunches like sweetened limestone does for the ten-lira piece. Really grand stores have big glass bowls of assorted candies, marked clearly with the price per piece, and the customer can take his choice.

Read the whole piece here

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:22 pm     Curious News

  1. Ingenious!

    Comment by Jack on 1/24/11 at 7:00 pm


  2. Can confirm. This has happened and it still does here (Romania) as small coins are usually hard to find and candy is bought by the box and sold individually. The individual price is very cheap, so at times, we end up getting candy as change.

    This happens with the small shop in the corner, small family businesses.

    Comment by Alex on 6/12/13 at 5:53 am


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During November it's all about me writing a novel. Sometimes it's about whalewatching. You know, and then there's other stuff.