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Good times for cent lovers

It must be good times for Iola, Wis., as the 2015-D Lincoln cent has found its way into at least one cash register here.

I had lunch on Monday with Clifford Mishler, the retired CEO of Krause Publications, and he received one in change at the Crystal Cafe.

I was not so fortunate, but he gave his coin to me. I put it on my desk as a reminder to write about it.

Such a one-coin appearance could easily be explained away as something brought back from a major city by a traveler and not a reflection of an increased demand for coins and the consequent increased speed of coin distribution.

However, a letter to the editor arrived from a collector in Waupaca just 13 miles away noting that he had received four of them at the end of March. That has the earmarks of the banking pipeline in operation.

Combine this information with all the signs around here advertising job openings and this year looks like it just might be a good one for all of us.

It will be a fun year to be a numismatic editor as well. I received an email this morning from someone asking, “Is it true that a 1943 copper S penny is worth over 100,000 dollars? How many were mistakenly made and distributed?

This is one of those cyclical questions that pop up every few years. It demonstrates that the numismatic impulse is alive and well out in the general population.

Someone somewhere could have claimed to have found one or some news media writer had nothing to write about in the last few days and chose the 95-percent copper 1943-S error cent to focus on.

I Googled the topic and found nothing to indicate the beginning of a new cycle for this error coin, but if it has just begun, it will take a day or two to rise in the rankings

I responded that a copper 1943-S cent is indeed valuable as only four are known. I also helpfully added that there are many 1948-S cents that have had a portion of the “8” shaved off to mislead those who might find them.

To actually come across either date likely would require having an old family hoard to look through, because simply finding an ordinary 1948-S cent in change these days is an unexpected treat.

Is it worth checking change to find that potentially million dollar error coin struck on a copper cent planchet rather than a steel one?

As a collector, I say that it is always a good day to check change no matter that the odds are stacked against your finding this particular rarity.

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."