The parking lot was particularly empty-looking as I came to work this morning. As the year comes to a close, employees are trying to use up their remaining vacation time before losing it and also hunting season begins tomorrow and a number of the staff who work on our outdoor titles are avid hunters.
Coin collectors are hunters of a different sort, but in Iola they can benefit from, or at least be interested in, the new change that comes our way from hunters passing through town for the deer season.
I received a 1958-D nickel in change Wednesday. I don’t usually get nickels that old. I also tend to treat Jefferson nickels as I did in 1968. If the coins aren’t silver war nickels, mintmarked from the 1930s, or a 1950-D, I just pass them along. The full-step trend passed me by on a personal level. The new designs since 2004 I look at and appreciate as I spend them, but I still spend them.
What was particularly startling about the 1958-D nickel and the reason I looked at it first among the coins in my day’s pocket change was it looked like it had only been in circulation briefly. The Mint luster was vibrant, and the much higher relief of the older coin stood out.
I examined it. As my trifocaled eyes were in that split second moment of focusing, I saw the “8” first and then tried to make out what was the “5.” I would grade the coin AU-55. Unfortunately, that is still a big “so what?” What can I do with an AU 1958-D nickel? Well, I showed it to fellow staff member Tom Michael after work. He agreed that you don’t see these kinds of coins in change anymore.
He wondered what Whitman album had been raided or cashed in at a bank because the heirs of whoever saved it didn’t know what else to do with it.
It is a story about the coin neither of us will ever know. I will spend it. Perhaps someone who is trying to collect Jefferson nickels from change will get it, appreciate it and give it a good home in their own Whitman album.