While Wall Street tries to figure out why the stock market tumbled from January records, coin collectors might be sitting on the answer.
We are not superior economic experts, but we do monitor something that might prove to be useful.
Collectors note when 2018-dated coins reach circulation.
Going by my email and mail, the new coins are very late this year.
That usually means the economy is not working well.
First, let’s congratulate two readers who tied for finding the first 2018 coins in their change. Their reports came to me Feb. 12.
As you might expect, these finds are of the one-cent denomination.
The email is from L. Smith, Perrysburg, Ohio.
It reads: “On February 6th I made a purchase at an Aldi’s store and asked for a bank-wrapped roll of cents, which I do often and they have been 2017-P mints. I didn’t open them until today and discovered they are 2018-D mints. I was just wondering if I’m the first one to report this find?”
Arriving at the same time was a handwritten note from Jeffrey Rose of Adrian, Mich.
It reads, “On 6 February I purchased my monthly box of $25 of pennies from one of my local banks.
“I found two 2018-D pennies in the rolls and there are plenty of the Wheaties still in the rolls. The oldest I’ve gotten was a 1924.”
I am grateful to both collectors.
A tie in reporting is unusual.
I do not recall the last time such a thing happened. Maybe it never did in my 40 years here.
Normally new coins spread out across America as banks absorb them for use in commerce.
Major cities on the Atlantic seaboard are often the first locations where new cents are spotted.
Not this year.
Perhaps East Coast collectors are asleep this year as an alternative explanation. I don’t believe this.
Did everyone decide to go cashless in January? I don’t believe this, either. In January, the Mint struck 476.4 million cents in Denver and 528.4 million in Philadelphia.
So we are back to the economy perhaps not being as strong as we think it is. That would make the stock market weakness logical.
I can now bestow honorable mention to Hazel Holmes of Crestview, Fla. She sent me an email Feb. 13 about the discovery of Philadelphia cents.
“My husband and I routinely check our pocket change for dates. Tonight, for the first time this year, I found a 2018 Lincoln Head cent, no mintmark. My husband also has one that he received yesterday. I got mine at a local Tom Thumb convenience store this morning when I stopped in for a drink. He made several stops yesterday and is not sure where he received his. It will be interesting to see what other locations and denominations pop up this month.”
Thank you, Hazel.
Another email that arrived Feb. 14 after the first reports arrived came from Steve Carr of Overland Park, Kan.
He writes: "Have not seen other reports of 2018 coins in Numismatic News, so figured I should report that I got a 2018-D cent in change on Feb. 12. That is real early for the Kansas City area."
There are other denominations to find now that the first 2018 dates have been found, so check your nickels, dimes and quarters and send your results to email@example.com.
This article was originally printed in Numismatic News. >> Subscribe today.
More Collecting Resources
• Keep up to date on prices for Canada, United States and Mexico coinage with the 2018 North American Coins & Prices guide.
• The Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1901-2000 is your guide to images, prices and information on coinage of the 1900s.