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Hawaii's idea should spread

Good ideas should be copied.

The most interesting one I have seen recently is a promotional effort by the Hawaii State Numismatic Association.

It is based on an old idea of spending rare coins into circulation in hopes someone will find them.

Instead of old coins, the Hawaiian organization spent 100 specially marked $1 bills into circulation.

These are more likely to be encountered in change by average people.

However, even with the number of $1 bills spent, only two were found. They were redeemed Sept. 23 at the three-day coin show at the Hawaii Convention Center in Waikiki.

Michael Mochizuki reports that top prize of a $500 gift certificate went to Reid Takamiya of Honolulu, who was first to report his find and turn it in at the show.

The gift certificate was spent at the show.

Imagine what you could do with $500 on a bourse?

The second person to report a find was Theodore Ho, also of Honolulu.

His prize was a $200 gift certificate.

Three other prizes went unclaimed.

That’s a shame, but it gave me an idea.

The HSNA overprint dollar should be treated like a “Where’s George?” bill.

Like “Where’s George?” the reporting process should be open ended.

Report the finds of the other 97 bills online.

The three unused prizes could be given to the next three individuals to report their finds.

On the other hand, to keep interest lively, simply collect reports of finds over the next 12 months and have a drawing among the future finders to award the three remaining prizes.

That means the idea of circulation finds would live all year.

To do this, of course, the club would have to have recorded serial numbers.

If they didn’t this year, there is always next year.

A paper dollar is a far better circulation finds item than an expensive coin that might simply disappear – which was the fate of most such coins in promotions past.

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