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U.S. coins are getting lame, doo-daa, doo-daa


When I was a kid, I collected coins. For what it’s worth, I still have all of them, including a number of foreign coins from maybe 30 countries that my dad and uncle gave to me. But I collected all of the U.S. ones myself. I used to marvel at the designs and how stately and timeless they were. I think maybe part of the attraction was all of the dates, and since I loved to memorize dates, I loved to memorize when all of the coins debuted and when they made subtle changes, such as:

Lincoln cent: 1909 (to commemorate his 100th birthday 2/12/1809), wheat pennies went away starting 1959
Jefferson nickel: 1938 (no good reason except to ditch the Buffalo nickel, 1913-1938)
Roosevelt dime: 1946 (year after his death), silver removed starting 1965
Washington quarter: 1932 (to commemorate his 200th birthday 2/22/1732), silver removed starting 1965
(trivia bit: no quarter produced in 1931)

etc. etc. I still find all this stuff really cool, I guess. In case you couldn’t tell.

But is it me or are the coins in the past couple years kind of lame? Not only the designs, but the fact that anything and everything has its own commemoration now. I’m not sure if they’re trying to inspire more people to collect coins or what. But there were all of the 50 state quarters, then the Westward Expansion nickels. They are so many kinds of these coins now that it just kind of muddies the whole thing to me. I used to like looking over a handful of change and finding the outliers — silver dimes & quarters, wheat pennies, even the occasional “Mercury” dime (1916-1945). But now everything’s different.

I do have to admit that the Sacajawea dollars are cool though. They definitely solved the problem that the Susan B. Anthony dollars (1979-1981) had in that they were confused with quarters.

When did I become such a curmudgeon?