Coins - Part 1

Coins - Part 1

A Story by Mr. D

A story about coin collecting


So I’m going to go against my grain today and write about something that is not a PSA, not a “The Reason You Suck” speech (TV, and not one of my random rants at society in a vain attempt to get them to do better for themselves.

Note: As of 1/14/2020, it is illegal to melt down pennies and nickels. Check to make sure what you’re melting, if you choose to melt coins, is legal. You could be committing a federal offense. Just a small PSA from me to you. Guess I did it after all, eh?

No, this story will be about something that most people pay very little, if any, attention to when they’re out in public: coins. For the most part now, myself included, everyone has gotten painfully used to the modern convenience of a debit card, a small piece of rectangular plastic that, while it is helpful in many instances, it does not offer one the opportunity to enjoy the hobby that is coin collecting. Why? Because when you use a debit card transactions are handled electronically instead of monetarily in a physical fashion.

So, have you ever been to the car wash anywhere in your local neighborhood/town/city? If you have, you might have noticed a penny or two lying on the ground and neglected to pick them up because they’re only worth one cent. Still, being the collector that I am, I pick up every coin I see that it isn’t illegal to pick up, and you should be doing the same. Think about it. Ever shop at Aldi? I don’t know if there’s one in your area, but if there is, what do you need to use the carts? That’s right, a quarter.

Now if you look at the cart layouts that people have returned, you might find some wayward 25 cent piece someone neglected to collect thinking someone else would use it. But people are so ignorant to many things these days, they don’t bother to pick up any kind of coins. I can’t count all the coins and change I’ve found over the years at the car wash in my local town because of peoples’ ignorance or flat out negligence in remembering them. If you search hard enough, you can find them too.

Now granted you won’t find them all the time, so you shouldn’t expect to. But on occasion in the right spot you can find some real beauties. One of my most disappointing finds (disappointing because I couldn’t take it from its location without losing my job) was a 1943 Walking Liberty Half Dollar. To this day, I still regret finding that coin in the wrong place at the wrong time for if I knew it wouldn’t have cost me my job, I surely would’ve taken it. Alas, a constant lifeline is more important than a small piece of silver. Oh well.

Over the years, not just in CoinStar machines, but in some bankrolls too, I’ve found Mercs (shorthand for Mercury dimes), wheat cents (in numismatic terms a penny isn’t called a penny, but a cent), and even a few error coins. Last year I found a 1943 steel cent on the ground at the local car wash that someone neglected to pick up. People’s inattentiveness can be your gain. Don’t think of it as stealing. It’s not. If they neglect to pick it up, that’s their fault not yours.

Of course, you shouldn’t go in expecting to find something every time you look because you won’t. If you go in with that mentality, you will end up sour and disappointed and ruin the fun of the hunt. A good place to look for rare coins and early dates are coin rolls at your local bank. Hunting bankrolls for coins is called Coin Roll Hunting or CRH for short.

In closing, I’ll include some coins you should look for and hopefully might find (or not; some of them are very dangerous to have around due to their high value.) There are also two things I should mention here: the two sides of a coin are called obverse and reverse in numismatic (coin collecting) terms.

The obverse side is the side with the head on it. For example, the obverse side of a Lincoln cent would show an engraving of the former President’s head.

The reverse side of that same coin would be the one with the Lincoln Memorial, The Union Shield for the newer/newest ones, and the Wheat engravings with the words “ONE CENT” on it in big letters. I’ve included a list of some coins you should be on the lookout for, as well as a blurb on what makes them so valuable and thing to check for. More in Part 2!

© 2020 Mr. D

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Added on January 14, 2020
Last Updated on January 14, 2020


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