Somebody, somewhere decided these were worth something.
If you read the first paragraph of this Internet publication closely, you will notice that I inspected this piece of metal before accepting it as payment for my employer's wares. That was an important detail; forgive me for glossing over it so quickly. I should've said that I inspected it closely. So close in fact that I recognized it as not an American quarter (which it ostensibly was since it was being used in a monetary transaction taking place in America), but an Aruban 25 cent piece. I was able to recognize it as such because it had the word "ARUBA" emblazoned in relatively large capital letters across one of its faces and the number "25" etched in even larger characters on the reverse face. I knew that I was not receiving an American quarter as payment.
Additionally, I made the reasonable assumption that this piece of metal I was receiving was not worth as much as an American quarter. I knew both of these things and yet still accepted it as payment. I didn't care that it was not an American quarter. I didn't care that it was not worth 25 American cents. I didn't care about these things not because I am a lazy, absent-minded employee, but because I knew I would be able to give this piece of metal to another customer later on in the day and he would accept it just like I did. I knew this because I have done it many times before and will continue to do it in the future. I guess you could say that I had a high level of confidence that this Aruban 25 cent piece would be accepted in my society as being worth 25 American cents. Of course this is how all money works all of the time, everywhere. Pieces of paper and metal are assigned theoretical values by mysterious forces, but can only be given literal value by regular people like you and me because we are confident that other people will accept their theoretical value.
Yesterday, my customer and I imbued a piece of Arbuan metal with 7 cents of literal value that it never theoretically possessed. What power we have! I postulate that thousands of such transactions take place in our country every day. Maybe hundreds of thousands. Maybe millions. After all, even if you don't actively choose to accept foreign coins as domestic currency like I did yesterday, you may accidentally accept them.
There are at least 51 versions of the American quarter in circulation today, therefore if I'm holding a quarter in my hand, you have only a 1.96% chance of telling me what it looks like.* You can certainly be forgiven for glancing at one side of a circular piece of metal found in America and assuming it's an American quarter. It's an easy mistake to make. I wonder at the value of this shadow economy of foreign coins in worldwide circulation. My customer and I created 7 cents of value out of thin air yesterday. In the trillions of monetary transactions that happen around the world every day, I wonder how many involve artificially inflated foreign currency. Average people like you and me could be creating millions of dollars of literal value every day! Of course, none of this matters at all. As long as you and I can agree on the value of any given piece of metal, then that's what it's literally worth. But it does make you think. Maybe money isn't real. Maybe George Jung's dad was right all along.
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*Yes, I know that this probably isn't correct given the fact that there are more regular quarters than any one state quarter. Cut me some slack. God, people who read footnotes can be so particular sometimes!