The Michigan State Numismatic Society

Change for Change’s Sake (Summer 2007) - Benvenuto

Change for Change’s Sake (Summer 2007)

Go ahead and admit it, even if only to yourself: you are trying to find a Washington or an Adams dollar that is missing the edge lettering. It would be the ultimate item you could pluck from change. Don’t feel bad if you haven’t found one though, or if you never find one. Plenty of your collector friends are doing the exact same thing, even if we don’t want to admit it too loudly, and even if we claim we don’t collect modern U.S. coins.

One of the wonderful aspects of numismatics when compared to most other hobbies is that no matter how long you have been collecting, you still hope for that occasional find from pocket change. Everyone wants a good find now and then, and collectors may have this desire even more than the average person. The commemorative quarters breathed new life into the desire back in 1999. And now, with the quarters program in its final few years, the new dollar coins are revitalizing everyone’s desire to check their change yet again.

The MichMatist is going to try to share some of the better stories of our finds, and see if you, the readers, like it. We can’t do it however, with just a couple of folks gleaning their own change. If you have any stories you wish to tell of any recent “pocket change treasures” please e-mail them to:

Starting us off though are a couple of the author’s own. First, the new Washington dollars. Only six days after they were released, my son David called from his work at the Star Theater at 14 Mile Road and John R saying that a customer had paid for a movie with some. Yes, he brought one home, and while that’s probably not the first one reported across the nation, it’s got to be close.

That single find triggered in me a desire -- still going strong -- to ask just about anyone who works a cash drawer if they have yet seen any of these new dollar coins. Lots of “no” answers came back, until one young woman working at a Burger King commented, “sure, I think we have a few in the vault.” Thank God for slow moments in fast food. She was able to check, and came back with $7 in dollar coins. Two Washingtons, two Sacagaweas, and three Susan B. Anthonys. A veritable mini-treasure trove! She commented that since many people don’t like receiving such coins in change, that particular BK usually just put them aside, then returned them to the bank. Not these seven coins though.

For the moment, they are a pocket find I’ll keep.

Still on the dollar coin theme, a friend who uses a bank (as opposed to a credit union) e-mailed and said she had an entire roll for me. That’s a good friend, and a good find, without a doubt. A quick swap of $25 in paper, and I had my first roll to examine. Were there any blank edge pieces in the bunch? Would I become an almost instant, e-Bay millionaire? Was I going to be wallowing in riches beyond my wildest dreams? Alas, no. But I do now have twenty five attractive Washington - D dollar coins.

Just after acquiring this roll, a business trip to Chicago in mid-March got in the way of asking around the local area for dollar coins -- and of bothering every cashier who would smile at me. But, oddly enough, while there were no Washington dollars to be had at McCormick Place or the downtown hotels of Chicago, there were shiny, new 2007 - dated cents. One day of the trip netted a 2007 cent from Philadelphia, in change from lunch, and the very next day yielded up the strange pair of a 2007-D cent and its much older sister, a 1955-D wheat ear cent, in change from a Borders book store. Odd, but a neat, inexpensive souvenir from the Windy City.

So, have you had any tremendous finds, or even just plain, old, neat finds? Send them, along with a couple of lines as to where you found your treasure. Let’s share the tales of our good fortune.