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Freedom costs just a nickel

You never know what you might find in circulation – or where it will take you.

Late last week a 1955-D nickel came my way.

It is worth only face value, but the idea of a 60-year old coin still being used in circulation is appealing to me.

After all, a coin that helped establish me as a collector in 1963 was a 1909 Lincoln cent.

That is the first year of issue of the series and was the oldest one possible to get. But at the time, the coin was 54 years old, less old than the nickel I just received. It seemed ancient to me given my young age and it fired my imagination.

We have a coin dealer in town, Kurt Krueger. The nickel could have been part of a collection that he purchased, with the coins worth face value deposited at the bank.

I can’t know for sure.

The coin tumbled down the change chute of the soda machine in Krause Publication’s main break room.

This opens the door to the possibility that the coin came from outside of town as change is supplied by the vending machine company

Of course, another Krause employee could have fed the nickel into the machine before I arrived and I just happened to get it.

When I buy a soda at work these days I feed two $1 Federal Reserve Notes into the slot. Usually, I do not have sufficient coins available to buy a soda.

At $1.35 for a 20-ounce bottle of Coke, the days of the dime machine are long gone.

Feeding $1.35 in change is not the most convenient way of paying for my purchase. I simply don’t if I have a choice.

Because the break room has a change machine that takes $5 bills that I sometimes must use when I don’t have any $1 bills handy, the Presidential dollars that it provides helps me slake my thirst.

I don’t manage to use them all. I end up taking some home.

The current count of $1 coins left over and sitting on the bureau is seven.

How do I know?

I knocked them on the floor the other day, so I had to find them.

Counting them was easy after that.

How long they will sit there, I cannot say.

There is some euro-denominated change there as well, including a 2-euro coin.

I have not been to the World Money Fair in Berlin since 2013. Perhaps the euros sitting there will serve as a talisman to take me back to Germany at some point in the future.

Such is the power of coins on my imagination and on my hopes.

I start with a 60-year-old nickel and my mind proceeds to the soda machine from which I obtained it and ends up in Berlin on another continent.

My coins have always inspired in me a sense of freedom. This is one reason why I am still a collector after all these years. It is also why a 1955-D nickel is worth more to me than face value.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2014 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."