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New 2012 cent brightens my travels

That’s fast. Two weeks after I asked the question in this space as to whether 2012-dated coins are slow coming out this year, I can now join the list of collectors who have received their first 2012 coins.

In my case I had to transit through Miami International Airport to achieve this status on March 5. At a newsstand where I purchased some reading matter for the airplane plus a KitKat candy bar, I tendered a $10 bill in payment and in my change I spotted a shiny Union Shield reverse that I figured just had to belong to a 2012 cent. Sure, enough, when I turned the coin over, the 2012 date was there.

I am no psychic. I was just playing the odds. The Union Shield design has been made for just three years, so the possible date range could only be 2010, 2011 and 2012. However, cents do tone relatively quickly in use and the sheen from the coin in my palm just screamed to me that it had to be brand new.

Yes, I know that is not a technical grading term, but anybody who grew up looking through large quantities of cents in circulation as I did kind of gets a sense of what a new surface that hasn’t been exposed much to the air looks like.

2012 U.S. Coin Digest: Cents

This easy-to-search pricing and identification download is solely focused on U.S cents.

Of course, in the back of my mind I also knew that Bill Mills, who reported that first 2012 cent find on Feb. 20 lives in Florida and I remember many a year in more prosperous times when I received the new year’s cents in change during the first week of the year as I attended the Florida United Numismatists convention in Orlando.

While it didn’t happen that way this year, the Florida connection certainly came through for me.

What about the rest of my change in that transaction?

Darned, if I know.

Yes, I did look at it. There were a couple of quarters and a dime as well, but they were not of any consequence and my mind has apparently purged the memory of the rest of the details.

But I am happy to have found the coin. It helps confirm the fact along with the reports printed in last week’s Best of Buzz page that 2012 coins do indeed seem to be entering circulation rather slowly.

On the same day, I was in Atlanta and stopped at an airport Burger King. There was an electronic kiosk for taking orders rather than a cashier. I had my choice of paying by credit card or cash. I pushed in a $5 bill and received change. Nothing noteworthy from that transaction, though.

I expect it might have been easier to used a credit card at the kiosk and most people probably come to that conclusion, knocking down overall demand for cash in the economy, and therefore, slowing the demand for new coins.

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There has been another set of signals to me of the slowing demand for cash. There is a new gas station about 20 miles from Iola. I have stopped there three times. Each time I have been asked for exact change because the cash drawer was empty of the appropriate coins.

Is this because credit cards are now overwhelmingly favored and keeping enough change is no longer a priority?

More Coin Collecting Resources:

State Quarters Deluxe Folder By Warmans

• Subscribe to our Coin Price Guide, buy Coin Books Coin Folders and join the NumisMaster VIP Program

Strike It Rich with Pocket Change, 2nd Edition

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