The Coin Collection

A PuzzleCritic Original:

The Museum of Mathematical Mysteries houses a peculiar collection of coins, each shaped like a polygon, with the two largest proper factors of n inscribed on either face, where n is the number of edges the given coin possesses. For example, there is a hexagonal coin on which the numbers 2 and 3 are inscribed. The museum’s curator examines one of the coins and sees the number 15 inscribed on one face. Determine all numbers that might appear on the other face.

Solution

The Vault: Robbers

Here I present one of my favourites; a problem of rare invention. From the 1998 Tournament of the Towns:

(Two-person case) Two robbers stole a bag of coins from a merchant. Each coin is worth an integer number of pennies. It is known that if any single coin is removed from the bag, then the remaining coins can be divided fairly among the two robbers (that is, they both get coins with the same total value in pennies).

Prove that after one coin is removed, the number of coins remaining is even.

(General case) A gang of robbers stole a bag of coins from a merchant. Each coin is worth an integer number of pennies. It is known that if any single coin is removed from the bag, then the remaining coins can be divided fairly among the robbers (that is, they all get coins with the same total value in pennies).

Prove that after one coin is removed, the number of coins remaining is divisible by the number of robbers.

Solution