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Don't lose out in the euro paper-chase.

Millions of pounds-worth of foreign currency currently hidden in sock drawers and under mattresses is soon to become worthless.

The euro notes and coins will be circulated in 12 European countries from next January and national currencies will become obsolete soon after.

This means that unless British holidaymakers reconvert their hoarded Spanish pesetas, Italian lira and French francs back into sterling they will become worthless pieces of coloured paper.

Thomas Cook is offering to change foreign currency bank notes into pounds and pence free of charge between now and the euro changeover.

'We estimate that pounds 120 million in notes and coins is being kept by people who may be unaware that they will only be able to spend euros from March next year,' said Mike Beaumont, of Thomas Cook.

'Very often people keep a few pesetas or lira just in case they ever return to that country, but many are not aware that they won't be able to use them after February next year.

'French francs, Dutch guilders and Irish punts will be phased out even earlier.'

Thomas Cook says it will change Austrian schilling, Belgian franc, Finnish mark, French franc, German deutschmark, Greek drachma, Irish punt, Italian lira, Luxembourg franc, Dutch guilder, Portuguese escudo and Spanish peseta notes into sterling between now and the end of February 2002.

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The euro is coming
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jul 21, 2001
Words:226
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