143-year-old Spanish coin makes its way to Wisconsin humane society donation box

Old Spanish Coin
Photo courtesy of the Jefferson County Humane Society

JEFFERSON, Wis. — A coin minted more than 140 years ago across the Atlantic Ocean has mysteriously made its way to a Wisconsin humane society’s donation box.

The coin in question? A 143-year-old Spanish five cent (centimo) piece minted under the reign of Spanish King Alfonso XII.

“We have donations canisters throughout our community to help raise support for our animals and we regularly receive Canadian coins or Euro coins that the bank gives back to us,” said Jeff Okazaki, Executive Director for the Humane Society of Jefferson County. “This is by far the oldest and most unusual coin we’ve ever gotten back. It’s quite a mystery to find out who would have a 143-year-old Spanish coin just sitting in their pocket change.”

Coins from King Alfonso’s reign were phased out of use in 1941 after General Francisco Franco took over as dictator. Staff with the Jefferson County Humane Society said some quick research showed the coin is estimated to be worth $10-30.

“As best we can figure, the coin is quite dirty and about the size of a quarter, maybe that’s all it took to sneak around for almost 150 years,” Okazaki said.

The Jefferson County Humane Society is still figuring out what they plan to do with the coin, but any funds will eventually go toward supporting the animals in the shelter’s care, according to a news release.