Coins worth more than 16.5 billion won ($14 million) were returned to South Korea's central bank in the first quarter, data showed Monday.
The figure represents a 375 percent hike from 3.47 billion won tallied in the previous quarter, according to the Bank of Korea.
It also marked the highest amount since the second quarter of 1998 when South Korea was hit by the Asian financial crisis.
The central bank has been striving to retrieve coins in a campaign towards becoming a coinless society to help boost consumer convenience and cut down on the costs of coin production.
Last year, South Korea spent 53.7 billion won ($47 million) on producing coins.
Under the project that began last month, consumers can deposit small change left from purchases of goods into their prepaid or mobile cards at convenience stores, discount stores and department stores, according to the BOK. (Yonhap)