The Michigan State Numismatic Society

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

Change for Change’s Sake (Fall 2007)

For this issue, there are some fun finds that have appeared in change, and at least one coin that is noticeable for its absence.

In early May the change from a brief stop at a 7-Eleven store near Detroit yielded up two nickels that are almost the opposing ends of the series. A 1939-D nickel, still in about fine condition, and a 2005-P Buffalo nickel that still qualifies as uncirculated made for a nice addition to a couple of Slurpees. It makes you think when you see a nickel that’s been circulating -- at least to some extent -- for almost seventy years.

It was a stop at a local bagel shop in Royal Oak towards the end of May that netted a Canadian 1-cent coin with the 1967 centennial reverse. The cashier asked if I wanted it, as it “doesn’t seem like a normal penny.” Wanted it? Sure, I wanted it. Curiously, that cent is still in extra fine shape, with only minuscule wear on the bird’s wings and Queen Elizabeth’s portrait.

Coming back over the Ambassador Bridge is always a place to check your change, as both the U.S. and Canadian government have been pumping out great designs on their quarters for the past several years. A trip over on May 23rd, including the trip back of course, resulted in one of the Canadian commemorative quarters of 2005, with the portraits of the Queen, as well as of the two veterans on the reverse, still nice and sharp. A good, inexpensive souvenir from a dinner in Windsor.

The end of June and beginning of July brought some sightings of the newest quarter -- the Idaho. My oldest son, David, brought one home from his work at a local movie theater, then three days later, one turns up in change when I’m at a local fast food restaurant. Then, to top it all off, my wife hands me one in a small pile of change (for some forgotten small purchase). Three within a week? That’s rather amazing, really.

I have long harbored the belief that wheat back Lincoln cents are actually quite common, and that every dealer is simply hauling around a box of them because he or she feels that every other dealer is hauling around a box. Proof of that theory are a couple of 1957 cents that turned up in change -- in my car change till! I must have received them as change, perhaps from some fast food drive-thru purchase, and not even checked until later.
Another interesting find comes from a good friend, Dave (not the son Dave -- apparently, I know quite a few Dave’s). He reports that he found a dateless Buffalo nickel at work in the change cup for the communal coffee pot. Sure, it’s not worth a fortune, but it’s certainly noteworthy to come across a coin still in circulation after at least 70 years.

On the other hand, one coin that has been keeping its head down -- and its tail as well -- is the Adams dollar. You can buy them at almost any coin show for perhaps $1.50. You can buy the entire Presidential dollar series in the proof sets for between $30 and $35, depending on which dealer you choose. You can even buy them slabbed. I’m not kidding here. One dealer at a small show near Detroit had several Washington and Adams dollars that were encapsulated up for sale for $15 each. They had all been slabbed at MS-64 or MS-65. But find them in change? Not yet. And that’s not for want of asking of everyone I have seen who tends a cash register.

On the other hand, the Adams dollars are available at some banks, if you ask for them. A good friend, Kat, was kind enough to pick me up a roll. While this hardly qualifies as a find from change, it’s still a fun, inexpensive addition to a collection.

As I send this to the MichMatist, the Jefferson dollars have just come out, but I haven’t had any sightings from change. Again, it seems you can buy them from dealers or at shows. But seeing them circulate is another matter.
Remember, let’s share the stories, and in that way share the wealth. If you have any neat finds to report, send them to Mark Benvenuto at: Thanks.