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When you have bigger fish to fry

Some avid fisherman have returned to Iola, Wis., from their latest adventure in Canada.

The fishing was good.

But you know me.

I can turn almost any conversation to something related to numismatics.

So I did in this case after looking at photographs of the trophy fish that resulted from this trip.

Many of the fish were iced down and put in cooler chests in order to bring them back to Iola.

And, yes, they are indeed opened and examined at the border.

I began asking questions about Canadian money.

Some had brought back some paper money.

Because they are regulars, they plan to keep it until they return to Canada next year.

But I wanted to know what they did with the $1 coins.

What did they think of those pieces that have been used for the last 30 years and endearingly called “Loonies?”

They didn’t spend any.

That made me curious.

It wasn’t some objection to the denomination at all.

Loonies apparently make good poker chips.

The Toonies or Twonies ($2 coins) do, too.

Once the sun goes down, on the lake, the playing cards come out and so did the $1 and $2 coins.

They probably used 25-cent pieces as well, but I didn’t ask what the playing stakes were.

I also wanted to ask what it was like to be spending money in Canada now that cents are no longer in circulation, but I did not.

My turn had passed.

The fishermen had indulged my little detour into coin topics.

Their attention returned to what had been caught and the fact that one of their number had had to leave early.

His gout, unfortunately, was acting up.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper has twice won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper “Numismatic News.”

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