Monday, May 27, 2013

Dime novel

So, there's this dime that is presenting me with a quandary:

It's a 1944 Mercury dime that found in a drawer. I checked online, and the coin is worth $1.45, for the silver content alone. If it were uncirculated, it might get a collector price, but it's not, so it won't. So here's the dilemma: $1.35 isn't enough to make me want to drive to the coin shop to sell the dime. But it doesn't seem right to present a buck-and-a-half 's worth of silver as ten cents, either.

This isn't the first time this sort of thing has happened to me. Some years ago, I came into possession of an old $100 bill - the bookstore on the campus where I was head of security thought it was counterfeit, but it was just old (1934 IIRC) and different-looking. I traded five crisp twenties from the ATM for it. It turned out the bill was worth all of $106, maybe a little more if it had been uncirculated, which it hadn't. I held onto it for a while, and then decided I no longer wanted to keep track of where it was. I also had a Kennedy half-dollar that I got back when I was six or seven and had no use for; it was worth $11, again for the silver. Looking through my pile of funny-looking coins and checking the internet, I found enough to net me a little over $20. That was barely worth the time and gas to go to the coin shop, but I did, and felt a little lighter for it. I also had an extra $100 to spend, since the original swap had been so long ago.

But now I have no other pile of coins to which I can add this dime to gain some economy of scale; just one lonely Mercury, too valuable to spend without feeling foolish, but not valuable enough to invest much into converting. I could just throw it back in a drawer, but I am trying to reduce the miscellany and clutter in my life, practically and metaphorically. I could just keep it in my wallet, hoping I'll remember that it is there if I ever happen to find myself by chance near a coin shop. Or I could just spend it like a dime, trusting that it will eventually wash up on some numismatic shore where it will find a home. I could frame it and make it into a tiny wall hanging.

Or I could blog about it, getting at least $1.45's worth of mileage out of the anecdote, and not worry about.

(Numismatics counts as geekery, right?)


  1. Dude, give it to a kid! He or she will think it's awesome.

  2. Shows you how few kids cross my orbit - I never even thought of that.