Time is a funny thing. It runs through our lives, or perhaps we run through it. Its a real force, but it doesn’t really have a physical avatar.
Or does it… Coins, I have found to like footprints of time.
Coins are physical, they are stamped with a date (usually the year they were minted or the year the run of coins was authorized). For some reason only modern coins strike my curiosity. Sure ancient coins are just as real and in some aspects are even more important scientifically, but in my minds eye its the modern coins that really speak.
These seven coins, one each from 1966,1967,1969,1970,1972 and two from 1968 were all in a common roll of quarters I bought in order to do my laundry… Each and every one of them has existed in their stamped form longer than I’ve been around. It feels a little odd having those little tokens of time jingling in my pockets.
Twenty years ago, finding a cluster of forty year old coins together in a common roll, it was statistically unlikely. Hoarding coins is nothing new, in fact its one of the biggest expenses for the Bureau of Engraving. Between the avid collectors of the rare and valuable and accidental numismatists collecting huge jars of change, untold millions of those little metal billets are hiding out of circulation.
Sadly, these days people are going to coin redemption kiosks if their banks don’t accept bulk coin deposits (ask your bank, if they do you can save the surcharge, though your stuck with the Bank’s tally and often have to wait a day or two for the deposit to post). Those collections might be from the old pickle jar that has been filling up for years, or it might just be a few handfuls of plugging one’s pants pockets. With more and more people transitioning from cash to electronic payments, the old paper currency and the fractional coins seem to be more of a hassle to keep around.
It was those cluster of quarters that got me to thinking on this topic. Thinking about those seven extraordinary journeys of ordinary paths. How many times did they buy a soda from a machine? Where they even used to make a phone call? Did they hide in someone’s coin jar? It inspires the writer in me to imagine.
Take a look at those metal discs in your pocket. Do any of them look like they have a story to tell?