Clad coins are about to celebrate their 45th birthday. If you want a specific date, the Coinage Act of 1965 was signed into law July 23, 1965. However, the change in the calendar to 2010 is close enough for anyone looking at a 1965-dated dime or quarter that they are likely to still get in change.
Collectors still have a love/hate relationship with them, especially those who were around at the time of the changeover.
I barely meet that latter qualification. I was 10 years old.
I was not a subscriber to any numismatic periodical at the time, but I was aware of the coming change to our coinage. I was just starting to look at newspapers regularly.
Most Americans might be forgiven for missing the event because just days before the 101st Airborne Division landed at Da Nang and the escalation of the Vietnam War was in full swing.
It was a number of months before I saw my first clad quarter. My memory tells me it was November of that year. My father had brought it home and I kept inquiring if he had seen any of the new coins yet. One day he said yes and I raced to my parents’ room to check the change dish.
Sure enough, there it was. The shiny reddish edge gave it away. A new era had dawned.
Nobody at the time probably would have predicted that 45 years later we would still be conflicted about the new alloy.
Then as now, there were people forecasting the demise of the dollar. The clad coins were just one more step down that road.
That part of the story I didn’t really pick up on until I got a little older. I just knew I had gotten one of the first clad quarters and that for a time it was a trophy – that is until that kind of coinage was all there was.
When you think about clad coins, what comes into your mind?