Coin purses are usually small zippered wallets carried inside a larger handbag or woman's purse. Coin purses often have a large central pocket in order to hold coins and paper currency, plus a number of auxiliary compartments for credit cards, personal identification and other small items. Because metal coins can be abrasive, most coin purses are constructed from sturdy materials such as leather, reinforced acrylics or rubberized plastic. Coin purses intended for travel may also have extra security features, including small locks or rubber strips to thwart pickpockets.
The earliest coin purses were most likely made from animal skins or bladders. Rudimentary pouches would be worn around the waist to prevent theft. Since there were few organized banking practices, each citizen would be responsible for the safekeeping of his own currency. Eventually this would lead to the creation of coin purses intended specifically for security and organization.
One advantage of coin purses is protection from the abrasive effects of metal coins. Coins held in a man's pants pocket or a woman's lined purse tend to rub against the soft cotton linings. Over time, this leads to tears and holes which render the linings useless. Coin purses keep loose currency separate from the rest of the purse or pocket's contents. This is especially helpful when traveling to other countries which use a number of metal coins for standard currency. Exchanging paper currency in countries such as India can result in a generous supply of Indian coins, not paper money. For this reason, coin purses can be essential while traveling.
Another advantage of coin purses is organization. Many purse manufacturers create lines of matching wallets or coin purses which allow women to store essential identification and cash in one smaller unit. Coin purses can take the place of bulkier purses during short errands or informal events. Many coin purses have small straps for easier carrying, or a separate shoulder strap can be attached.