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Cooling off with coins in the summer

 (Image courtesy

(Image courtesy

It is almost summer. Hot and humid weather brings back memories. Summer was the heyday of my circulation finds efforts when I was a kid.

It wasn’t so much that I wasn’t interested in coins during the school year, it was simply a matter of lacking time and access.

Banks in those days closed at 3 p.m. I couldn’t get there except during Saturday morning hours during the school year.

Not going to school in the summertime allowed me to go to the bank any day I chose. I also had more time to search through bank rolls and study what I found.

I’d usually head up to the bank on my bicycle in the cooler mornings and get whatever number of rolls I had the cash to cover.

I would take them home and leave them. I knew I had them. But I was still a kid. I did typical kid things. I was outside a lot. But when I did come in to get out of the sun and to rest, I got my coin rolls and headed down to the basement, where it was nice and cool. I would actually sit on the floor, which was coolest of all, and spread the coins out on a low table.

It was amazing how fast I could get through rolls. Silver coins would jump out at me. The difference in color between silver and clad coins was something I could see almost from across the room.

I did dimes, quarters and half dollars. For dimes, it was possible to do both Mercury and Roosevelt designs, so I did.

For quarters it was pretty much all Washingtons. The occasional Standing Liberty that I encountered was slick and dateless. Of course, when I found the Type I design from 1916 and 1917 I would daydream that the worn-off date was 1916.

There were three designs for half dollars still fairly abundant. The Walking Liberty, Franklin and Kennedy designs could be found. The Kennedy series was just getting started. I stood in line in March of 1964 to get my first two, though one I gave to my brother, who was younger and less interested in waiting in line for a new coin.

As the 1960s passed and silver got scarcer, the possibilities of filling any of the empty holes in my Whitman albums became more and more remote.

Though I did not give up the other denominations, nickels became my last redoubt of album filling. Silver hung around in the form of war nickels. Buffalo nickels could be found. Most had the dates worn off, but there were enough with full or partial dates to persuade me to buy a Whitman album to put them in.

Cents I gave up first. After my first rush of completing the 1941 to date set and making a run at the 1909 to 1940 album, it got boring fast, because I never found anything that was scarce.

I knew people were saving Wheat-back cents, but I did not join in. If the hole was filled, I didn’t keep the duplicates, even if they were from San Francisco.

After I finished a summer afternoon’s search, I would plan to head back to the bank the next morning to start the fun all over again. After supper, I was back outside with my friends.

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News. >> Subscribe today.

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