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What do you think about clad coins?

Clad coins are about to celebrate their 45th birthday. If you want a specific date, the Coinage Act of 1965 was signed into law July 23, 1965. However, the change in the calendar to 2010 is close enough for anyone looking at a 1965-dated dime or quarter that they are likely to still get in change.

Collectors still have a love/hate relationship with them, especially those who were around at the time of the changeover.

I barely meet that latter qualification. I was 10 years old.

I was not a subscriber to any numismatic periodical at the time, but I was aware of the coming change to our coinage. I was just starting to look at newspapers regularly.

Most Americans might be forgiven for missing the event because just days before the 101st Airborne Division landed at Da Nang and the escalation of the Vietnam War was in full swing.

It was a number of months before I saw my first clad quarter. My memory tells me it was November of that year. My father had brought it home and I kept inquiring if he had seen any of the new coins yet. One day he said yes and I raced to my parents’ room to check the change dish.

Sure enough, there it was. The shiny reddish edge gave it away. A new era had dawned.

Nobody at the time probably would have predicted that 45 years later we would still be conflicted about the new alloy.

Then as now, there were people forecasting the demise of the dollar. The clad coins were just one more step down that road.

That part of the story I didn’t really pick up on until I got a little older. I just knew I had gotten one of the first clad quarters and that for a time it was a trophy – that is until that kind of coinage was all there was.

When you think about clad coins, what comes into your mind?

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3 Responses to What do you think about clad coins?

  1. Mark says:

    When I think of clad coins, I think of tokens. Not real money, but tokens that represent real money. Of course with high inflation in base metals, it’s possible that the metal value of the clad coins could be worth more than their face value in a few years. If that happens they will have to issue coins made from cheaper metals and today’s clad coins will become another class of bullion coins.

  2. Brad says:

    I started collecting coins in 1983 at the age of 11. It was that year that I was trying to gather as many different dated quarters as I could find. That undertaking allowed me to learn two things. First, there were no quarters dated 1975 in existence (this came after weeks of wondering why the date was so elusive, and being the "pre-internet" age I could not exactly Google "Why can’t I find a 1975 quarter?"). Second, the reason I could not find any quarters with dates before 1965 was because those prior to that had been made of REAL silver! That tidbit of information came from my grandmother, who had been quite helpful in my coin collecting venture. She always had a LOT of change in her purse for me to dig through. In fact, she had kept her eyes peeled for coins that would interest me all the way until she died in 1999.

    The thought that U.S. coins had once been made of real silver was amazing to me as a child. Even now, I find it difficult to believe that silver was both common and cheap enough to mint regular circulating coins with. So, when I think of clad coins, I think of the fun I had gathering up the only type of coins I ever knew existed for many years.

  3. John says:

    My dad was a minister and my sibs and I helped count the offering each Sunday. I remember that it wasn’t long at all until we started watching carefully for "silver" and how excited I became with each find. Indeed it didn’t take long for the bad money to crowd ouit the good. But what the heck, for the last 45 years the clad stuff has worked pretty well. It’s just seems hard to get excited about collecting it. I suppose there are some pretty nice high grade collections out there and not many people pursuing them. Are they a big deal at any of the shows?

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