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The Things You’ve Seen And The Places You Have Been

In change today, I received a piece of American art and history, all in one coin. To many it’s just a 5 cent piece or a “nickel.” Made of 75% copper and 25% nickel.

This particular model was produced from 1913 – 1938 and replaced the original “Liberty” version because that had been in production for over 25 years. President Theodore Roosevelt (one of my favorite people to ever hold the position) decided it was time to give it a face lift, so-to-speak. Something truly “AMERICAN!” 25 years was also the amount of time needed to be able to change the face of an American coin without needing approval from congress.

So for a minimum of 76 years or longer, this nickel has been in circulation. It’s edges worn and luster faded. That being said, it makes me wonder whose hands this has been in? What pockets could this have traveled in? And even more curious, what path did this coin travel to make it into my hands. A place that more than likely, will remain for many years to come.

I am not saying that I am a numismatist by any stretch, I just love old stuff! Getting this in my hands today, lead me to learn more about it’s origins and when it came into being. It caused me to research and learn more about the history and the arguments between sculptor and the manufacturer that produced machinery to detect slugs (fake coins) in nickel bending machines. It also taught me that this coin did not feature the words “In God We Trust” anywhere in the strike.

So the next time you receive and old coin, take a second and think about it’s journey. Think about the history that it has been a part of. Because for coins, there are no “Where’s George” stamps. Only stories that can never be told.

Wikipedia: The Buffalo/Indian Head Nickel 




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