Mystery coins have been making an appearance across Manchester.
Mancunians are finding the coins all around the city; at bus stop benches, on park benches, perched on top of ledges, tucked away in parking ticket machines, food courts and just about everywhere else in between.
But what are these mystery coins, why are they all of a sudden scattered all over the streets and who is behind them?
Well, believe it or not, the coins in question have been commissioned and produced by Factory International for Manchester International Festival (MIF) which is running from 29 June – 16 July.
As part of MIF, artist Ryan Gander has placed 200,000 coins across the city centre for his latest art project titled The Find.
Calling on pedestrians to 'take a quest across the city' in search of Gander's latest works, MIF's site explains: "The Find take places across Manchester city centre.
"The coins will be placed in a variety of accessible public but hidden places (at different heights) so that everyone is able to engage with the project."
All about using a 'different kind of currency', the site continues: "These aren’t your bog-standard copper coins – they're collectable artworks, lucky charms and decision-making tools rolled into one."
Those who happen upon one of the coins are encouraged to pick it up and look closely.
There are three designs to collect, 'each embellished with nuggets of wisdom to guide you and even help you make big, small or medium-sized decisions'.
The three designs include paired words on each side; together or solo, action or pause, and speak or listen.
Opening up about his latest project, Gander - who has been awarded an OBE for his services to contemporary art back in 2017 - told the Manchester Evening News: "We understand the world by stuff. Things, articles, objects, and we always want more, more, more.
"Actually we should be understanding the world by events, and conversations and moments, things that we can take with us."
100 volunteers have been out and about placing the coins all across the city with some some Mancunians even handing the coins back to community support officers and at Central Library.
Gander told the outlet: "People are so honest. Very honest Mancunians. It’s quite weird. There are very few things in the world that are a gift, so to give a gift to a third of the population of a city, it’s a remarkable thing."
And the best part?
It's finders keepers for anyone who happens upon one of the limited-edition coins or you can equally carry on the fun and pass it on for the next person.
Talk about an immersive exhibition.
He continued: "People take different things from it. I’ve met people already who carry all three in their pockets and say they’re going to carry them for life and use them."
Noting that the contemporary art scene can be 'incredibly elitist', Gander explained exactly what he hopes to achieve with The Find.
He added: "There are two audiences really, there is the audience that know about the festival, and about my work on the hunt to get collectable art works, but then there's the 99 percent who are people who don’t know they are engaging with contemporary art."
The Chester-hailing artist went on: "People engage with the coins, by chance, outside of the institution of art, and by the time that they’re engaged and they’re doing it, it’s only then that they realise it’s contemporary art, and the stigma disappears.
"It’s accessible, and it’s a good way in. People have their guard down."
Gander concluded: "The coins are a reminder that we can learn and explore and live a little bit differently, but mostly just break the repetition that we all live by."
The Find takes place all over the city as part of Manchester International Festival which runs until 16 July.