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Cuprolaminophobia, A Fear of Coins

Fear of Coins

There are literally thousands of phobias which people suffer from and while some, such as arachnophobia or claustrophobia, are widely known, others are a little more obscure. One of these is cuprolaminophobia, the fear of coins.

My daughter had suffered from this phobia since she was a toddler and over the years, her aversion to coins, whether silver or bronze, has intensified. She has never been able to save pennies in a piggy bank because the thought of accumulating coins sends shudders of disgust through her. Although she will take loose change offered to her in a store, she has to put it in the bottom of her bag or hand it to someone else almost immediately or she begins to feel sick. Given a choice, she would never handle coins at all.

Another manifestation of the phobia is that she can't eat if there's a coin in her line of sight. If there is loose change in a room where she's eating, it has to be removed, or covered up.

For many years, I thought that she was exaggerating the feelings of nausea she experiences when she sees coins, but recently whilst surfing the 'net, I discovered that she's not alone. People who suffer from cuprolaminophobia experience varying degrees of aversion to coins. Many can't bear to hold them; others feel sick looking at them. The feelings of revulsion are often intensified if a coin is rusted, dirty or wet.

Like many sufferers of obscure phobias, people who have cuprolaminophobia often face ridcule from others who can't understand how something as seemingly harmless as a coin can produce such an intense fear. My own reaction to my daughter's aversion was, for many years, unsympathetic and often I told her to 'stop being silly'. However, having come to see it as a genuine phobia, I've developed a more understanding attitude. It's important to be patient with a person who suffers from a phobia and not make them feel worse about it than they already do. After all, most of us has something that we fear and we can't always provide a rational explanation for how we feel.


Ashley on November 18, 2012:

I've had this ever since I was little, and I've always been made fun of for it. They just make me feel dirty and I feel like I smell bad if I hold them for more than a second. Usually when I'm at a store and they try to hand me it, I'll ask them to keep it or wrap it in the receipt, or I'll have whoever I'm with take it. My mom told me she remembers when I was three that she took me to a store and the cashier tried to give me coins, and I said "No keep change." hahahah

Janess Diaz on September 17, 2012:

I'm relived that i am not the only one who feels this discust to coins. And now i know i'm not crazy.

tn on August 02, 2012:

spot on to my own anxieties.... and i don't even want to get over it because its so repulsing lol

alex on July 29, 2012:

i can't believe it, i have this exact same phobia, i never even knew it was real or had an actual name. And the attributes of the phobia you have described are exactly the same as how i feel or act. Especially the fact I can't bear to eat if coins are around and that the problem intensifies if the coins are wet or rusted. I am now 21 and have had it all my life. It doesn't seem to be getting any better however i have learnt to deal with it and actually don't mind having such an unusual phobia haha.

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alliemacb (author) from Scotland on June 13, 2012:

Alex, thanks for sharing your own experience. I agree with you that every fear should be treated with respect and it is so discouraging that many people just don't understand. I had always thought my daughter's phobia was somewhat unusual but since writing this article, a lot of people have mentioned a similar fear so it's more common than people realise.

Alex on June 13, 2012:

I, too, have suffered with this fear of coins for as long as I can remember. I am almost 17 now, and there has never been a time where I felt completely comfortable around them. The fear has, however, waxed and waned over my life. At certain points, being merely around a coin would induce true anxiety, and others would make fun of it, assuming it was a serious phobia because of its odd nature. They would taunt me with them - it really made me anxious, and quickly. I wouldn't wish a phobia on anyone, but if I brought a snake or clown to school, for two examples, I think more than one person would feel a bit more than uncomfortable.

Pennies have usually been the most problematic. Oddly, large or rarer coins such as silver dollars, other one dollar coins, or even half-dollars have never really bothered me. Dimes are more troublesome than the others, too, except for pennies. There were points where quarters did not bother me at all, but again the whole fear has waxed and waned throughout my life, and changed in nature. I am much better than I was at certain points, and feel like I am very capable of using them when needed, but at no point do I think I will feel completely comfortable with them. It is under control, which is good, but there were points when they would set me off into such anxiety and disgust.

It was aboved mentioned that they presented a particular problem when eating, and this absolutely relatable. I hate change lying around, and it needs to go in a purse, wallet, bag, jar, or some sort of cotainer if I am am to be comfortable eating, espcially. For some reason, I don't mind it in the car so much, but I think this might be related to the fact it has always been there.

My mother told me, and I recall that the fear began after being replused by the smell of pennies, and the fear spread, I guess, to all coins. I know she made reference to a comparison some writer had made in a novel she was reading about how copper smells like blood, which is just chilling to think about, but I think it could be for this reason the fear developed, even though I have no fear of blood.

This fear, and any fear someone reports should be taken seriously, and treated with respect and understanding. Every fear is real, because fear is subjective. I don't, for example, have a fear of blood, but for some people the sight can make them faint/have a full-blown panic attack.

Lisa on June 03, 2012:

I have had this phobia ever since I can remember.My family would find it ridiculous, often telling me to stop looking for attention...and would force me to touch coins and I was embarrassed by it. Having to handle coins in math class was my worst memory as a child.Ever since one cashier wouldn't keep the change, even though I kept on insisting,she gave me a peculiar look, I have gotten better, and every time I touch a coin or stop myself from moving it...I feel like I have overcome so much.But sometimes my fear is more powerful than my will power.

Lisa HW from Massachusetts on March 06, 2012:

I hadn't heard of this particular phobia. I don't fear coins, but I'm pretty repulsed by some of the dirtier looking ones. (Then again, I still like a nice, shiny, new coin - the way little kids do.)

I wont put the filthier looking among them into my wallet at all, and if I can't get rid of them immediately I'll just leave them somewhere where someone "less picky" may find them. lol All money (clean looking or not) does tend to leave the hands feeling in need of a good washing, though. BUT, any "borderline issue" I have with coins is about the dirt on them - not the coin, itself.

I can't really see ridiculing someone over a fear, though. Your Hub, here, will help make some people understand the phobia better.

rmcrayne from San Antonio Texas on March 06, 2012:

I don't fear coins, but I do avoid pennies. I can smell them on my hands after I have handled them, and don't like the smell. I always tell the cashier "Keep the pennies please."

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