The “Coins of Love” hole, installed at Palseokdam (Pond) under the Cheonggye Plaza Waterfall on October 27, 2005, accumulated coins with a total value of 68.73 million won through late 2011 due to the installation of a Wishing Stone (February 2008) which enhanced the visibility of the hole; nighttime LED lighting and arrow-shaped lighting (February – May 2010); and a granite sculpture (August 2011). These facilities were introduced following suggestions by staff of the Seoul Metropolitan Facilities Management Corp.
A member of the Seoul Metropolitan Facilities Management Corp. (http://www.sisul.or.kr/global/eng/index.jsp) said, “We have collected all the coins thrown into the water by citizens to wish for the health and happiness of their families during a visit to Cheonggyecheon in 2011, and found that their total value amounted to 32.04 million won, which is equivalent to an ordinary salaried person’s annual income, showing a 3.4-fold increase from 2010 (9.51 million won),” adding, “We will donate all these coins, which symbolize the warm-heartedness of Seoul’s citizens, to the needy in February.”
Meanwhile, five Seoul City staffers responsible for managing the Cheonggyecheon and young men engaged in public service in lieu of compulsory military service searched the Internet in late 2011, identifying 214 types of coins issued by banks in 62 countries worldwide among the collection of coins.
The number of coins (22,798) collected this time round is 3.1 times greater than the number (7,427) collected from the early days of the site’s opening up to December 2010. This effectively reflects the surging number of foreign tourists coming to Seoul as a result of the Hallyu phenomenon and the emergence of Cheonggyecheon as a world-famous tourist hotspot.
By country, coins from Japan were the most common (5,612), followed by Thailand (5,401), China (3,934), and the U.S.A. (2,444). One-baht coins from Thailand totaled 3,532, ranking first in terms of the overall number of a single denomination of coin, followed by 10-yen coins from Japan (3,041), and one-jiao coins from China (1,606).
Coins from such faraway countries as Moldova, Fiji and Uganda – which are not often seen in Korea – were also discovered among the valuable collection. The smallest value of a coin when converted into Korean currency was 1 kopeica from Russia (0.4 won), while the largest amount was 500 yen from Japan (7,600 won).