Smedema owns Food & Fun of Beers near Leeuwarden, which sells tabletop pizza ovens, among other things. A few years ago, through a relationship in China, he bought a large batch of euro coins, which were extracted from incinerated waste.
He delivered some coins through coin machines in banks and G4S. “This is about coins worth thousands of euros, which I got by a good margin,” the businessman said in a phone call from his address while on vacation.
In the spring of 2018, he handed over a thousand coins rejected by sorting machines to De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB). The central bank reimburses damaged coins and banknotes under certain conditions.
DNB does not want to pay
However, after investigating the party, DNB announced that it would not redeem the Smedema coins. Then the Frisian businessman went to court, but found him wrong at the end of 2019. Smedema did not leave it at that, appealing to the State Council.
And yesterday, the highest administrative judge issued a ruling that Smedima can whistle on the money. Under the Coinage Act, the central bank is not required to repay coins that have undergone the processing that led to their alteration.
Wear and bumps
According to the bank, the coins were returned through waste incinerators and subsequent chemical cleaning showed corrosion, burrs, and discoloration, making them ineligible for a refund. The State Council agrees with the DNB.
From the holiday address, Semedyma’s reaction was disappointing. “It’s not true. What I’m fighting against is saying that coins change as they are disposed of and cleaned up.”
According to him, this is evidenced by the fact that many other coins of the same group were accepted by sorters. “I can only return three-quarters to banks and G4S. It proves that processing doesn’t change those coins. They may have already been damaged before they end up in the waste.”
According to Smedema, he lost a lot of money due to the refusal of De Nederlandsche Bank. “There are hundreds of millions of Europeans, and they all accidentally throw coins. And those coins are left in discarded bags or clothes, for example.” The entrepreneur believes that he will soon reach 150 million euros annually.
The pizza oven salesman admits that the two lost suits cost him more than he could have earned if he could exchange his thousands of coins at DNB. This party could have been worth around €2000 max. “But I saw this as a trial process. If I won, I would have handed over 1,000 kilograms of coins tomorrow.”