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When you wish upon a gold Stella

Most people wish upon a star, but what do numismatists wish upon? They wish upon a “Stella,” what else!? Or maybe the majority wish they had a Stella.
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2014 U.S. Coin Digest

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By William B. Tuttle

Most people wish upon a star, but what do numismatists wish upon? They wish upon a “Stella,” what else!? Or maybe the majority wish they had a Stella.

I wish upon my Stella (OK, it’s only a picture of one in my Red Book, but that will have to do!).

Eliminate the cent and round to the nearest “zero,” five, or 10. The cent no longer has the purchasing power it had in the 1790s when it was “born.” Rounding up or down is easy. Most of the world has been doing it for years, why can’t we?

Create a 5-cent coin in a less expensive metal or alloy,other than nickel. But then we’d have to call the new coin something other than a nickel. How about half dime, like what it was called when it was first created. Or, like the Canadians, we could call it what it is, five cents.

Eliminate both the $1 and $2 notes and have only coins in those denominations. Eliminate the Susan B. Anthony as well, because of its size and composition similar to the quarter. After the presidents are done, go back to the Sacagawea dollar.” If the government wants to continue the Native American heritage program, put it on a new bi-metallic $2 or $2.50 quarter Eagle coin.

“Paper or plastic?” is the question asked more frequently these days. Most countries have gone from “paper” (cloth paper) to “plastic” (polymer) notes since about the 1980s. Recently, Canada has converted to polymer on all notes from $5 to $100, and has had a 92 percent decrease in counterfeit notes. Why don’t we do the same? Get your research and development people to work on this Crane Paper before somebody else does!

I was once a member of the American Numismatics Association (ANA) at the turn of this century, but I left it, as I felt the ANA wasn’t doing enough to influence the government about changing currency designs and/or eliminating costly and/or unnecessary denominations. Mr. Lincoln has been on both the cent and $5 bill for over 100 years at the most. Jefferson sits on the nickel and $2 bill since the 1930s. George Washington also shares two pieces of currency since the 1930s. This is the 21st century, people! Let’s get off the stodgy old-fashioned designs of Christmas past and make some currency with modern designs, but not looking like play money.

My last wish (probably more difficult than the others mentioned above) is to find a real gold coin (foreign or domestic, it doesn’t matter) in the “reject” chute of a Coinstar machine. Or even to find a real gold coin on the ground in my ‘hood. I have a 40-plus year-old metal detector that I am thinking of getting refurbished, but finding that real gold coin rejected in a Coinstar is on the top of my Stella wish list.

Happy holidays to all!

This “Viewpoint” was written by William B. Tuttle of Cleveland, Ohio.

Viewpoint is a forum for the expression of opinion on a variety of numismatic subjects. To have your opinion considered for Viewpoint, write to David C. Harper, Editor, Numismatic News, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990. Send email to

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