What do the coins I receive in change tell me these days? I have the oddest desire to comment about the latest pieces that have come my way without the benefit of any clear-cut sense of what’s what.
That makes me a perfect pundit, right?
Always blathering away without missing a beat?
Well, I don’t see myself that way. I’d like to think that I won’t write anything unless I have something to say. I also believe there is a consistency in what I write over time. So see what you think.
During my usual weekend errands I received my first 2011 Lincoln cent right here in Iola. To say I was surprised is an understatement.
The recession seems to have kept many new coins away from here as public demand sagged. But hard on the heels of several e-mails from collectors in the Midwest telling me they are seeing 2011 coins in their change, by golly I did, too. Perhaps the banking system has finally worked its way through the backed up supplies of coins that have caused mintages to fall so sharply since 2007. I hope so. Coin demand tends to track the economy and higher demand should mean better times.
But before I get giddy about proclaiming economic improvement, I received a brilliant uncirculated 1970-S cent in the neighboring city of Appleton, Wis.
I don’t need to tell you that it is 41 years old and not fresh from the Mint because of a growing economy.
Now once in a rare while I will get an “S” mintmarked cent from the 1968-1974 run of San Francisco circulating dates, but they have almost always been around the block more than once. Anything that looks halfway decent I tend to blame on one of several professional numismatists in town who might have just bought a collection and taken unsalable leftovers to the bank.
However, this coin was given to me far enough away from Iola that there must be another cause. This coin looks like it was just cracked out of a BU roll that was stored in a plastic tube or low-sulfur paper because the edge is as brilliant as the obverse and reverse.
Did a new widow just dump some uncirculated rolls at the bank after her husband passed on without leaving instructions to her about what to do with them?
Did someone around my age who had put some uncirculated rolls away years ago dump them because he has become unemployed recently?
I hope not in either case because I see from John Wells’ ad in last week’s paper that a BU roll of 1970-S cents is retailing for $16. That’s 32 times face value, which is not too shabby when compared to silver coin multiples.
I probably will never know what the real story is, but one thing I believe isn’t the case is the old stand-by excuse that some kid raided the collection of a parent and spent the proceeds.
While kids today are no more saintly than they were in the past, they are certainly just as smart as ever and no self-respecting kid is going to bother with cents even if he does need money.