Panenka scarves is one Canadian’s attempt to document his appreciation of the obvious and not-so-obvious experiences of a life in the Czech Republic. For previous Panenkas, click here.
As the introduction says, some of the things I’ll gab on about are not-so-obvious. Occasionally, the topics will sway into the more silly and ridiculous. Today is one of those days. Hey – they can’t all be Jagr anecdotes.
By far, my favourite piece of currency on this planet is the Czech 50 crown coin. This bad boy of denomination has everything you need, from aesthetics to utility to value. There may be other coins on this planet that better meet this criteria, but I certainly haven’t come across them yet.
As far as look goes, it’s got a beauty two-tone colour scheme. A bronze ring with a Latin phrase declaring, “Prague, the mother of towns” encircles a gold centre which displays the Prague Castle and Charles Bridge – two of the most recognizable sights in town. On the back, the gold core displays the iconic Czech lion. Powerful stuff.
But let’s not be so superficial. Looks aside, the thing that clinches this coin for me is its size and weight. I’m a fiddler by nature. That is to say, I like to keep my fingers moving most of the time. Even as I write this, I’m playing with both a 50 crown piece, and a pair of small magnets that I borrowed from a classroom last year.
For someone with such a restless disposition, a coin with the dimensions of the 50 crown piece is perfect for unconsciously keeping your fingers occupied while you’re in class, watching TV, doing anything really. It’s the same size as a Toonie, only thicker and heavier, making it the perfect weight to secretly weave through your fingers like some second-rate magician in any and all uncomfortable social situations.
Finally, value. 50 Czech crowns is $2.50 Canadian (actually, these days it’s $2.50 American too). You can get a lot with $2.50 Canadian in the Czech Republic. Most notably, you can grab two pints of pivo at your neighbourhood pub. This coin has always reminded me of something a pirate would use at a pub. Though, now that I think about it, the whole Czech pub experience is very pirate-esque. The mugs have handles on them and when you walk in the bartender says Ahoy! Seriously.
Anyhow, the feeling of throwing back two beers and then tossing this heavy coin on the table and walking out is pretty fucking mighty. I’ll certainly miss it when I’m gone. It’s not nearly as stylish to throw down a coin with a polar bear on it to pay for your coffee.