Two Bits

I see in the news that Maya Angelou is going to gracing our nation’s 25-cent piece this year.  I was actually a little skeptical about this, seeing as how Harriet Tubman hasn’t made it onto the twenty-dollar bill yet and they’ve been talking about THAT for years.

But apparently there is a whole series of 2022 American women quarters planned: Sally Ride, Maya Angelou, Wilma Mankiller, Nina Otero-Warren and Anna May Wong.  While I know Sally Ride (physicist, first American woman in space), Maya Angelou (writer, social activist) and Anna May Wong (first Chinese American film star in Hollywood), I have to admit that I didn’t know the names Wilma Mankiller or Nina Otero-Warren.

Wilma Mankiller was the first woman elected as principle chief of the Cherokee Nation and a lifelong activist for Native American rights.  Her surname Mankiller is a Cherokee name (Asgaya-dihi) and refers to a traditional Cherokee military rank, like major or captain.  She was elected Principle Chief in 1985 and served very successfully for ten years.  She was Ms. Magazine Woman of the Year in 1987, was inducted into the Women’s Hall of Fame in 1993 and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Bill Clinton.

María Adelina Isabel Emilia “Nina” Otero-Warren was a woman’s suffragist, educator, politician and the first female superintendent of the Santa Fe public schools.  In her role as superintendent she advocated abolishing the practice of sending Native American children to boarding schools  and sought to integrate ethnic cultures and languages into the New Mexico school curriculum.  She became the Director of Literacy under Franklin Roosevelt and later worked to preserve historic structures in Santa Fe and Taos and continued to promote Native American arts, language and culture.

I wish I had known who they were earlier, but I suppose this is better than never knowing them.  I’ll have to make sure to get one of each of these quarters in the coming year.

Did you ever collect coins?

61 thoughts on “Two Bits”

  1. My dad started collecting coins in those little navy blue folders, and I helped him – I was about 12 – but he got frustrated because my mom would sometimes use the quarters to pay the paper boy when he collected and she had no other cash. Still, we had some of those folders mostly full. I remember several liberty dimes, even an Indian head penny. I toted them around with me till our last move, and now it’s foggy what became of them – might have unloaded them to my sister.

    I also had the folders for the state quarters, but gave that up too.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. YA had the folder for the state quarters as well-Nonny was sending them. We had a lot of trouble getting the quarters to stay in the slots. And a few years back we decided to take the quarters out and YA absconded with them.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I always felt about the state quarters the same way I feel about those things, like objects from the Franklin Mint, that are designed and marketed to be collectibles. They don’t require any research, any knowledge, any understanding, which, to me, is what makes collecting something interesting.

        Liked by 3 people

  2. My dad used to have a coffee can full of silver dollars. He also had silver certificates, which were paper money. I have no idea what he did with them. He got rid of them years before he died.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. I collected pennies briefly when I was young.

    I hadn’t been aware of this program with the 2022 quarters and while I am glad to see it, I also have some mixed feelings about it. For one thing, the choices of honorees seem so calculated- one representative from each ethnicity. Who decided on these particular candidates? As distinguished as they are, my thought goes to those remarkable women not so honored. Having achieved a sort of equity with the five quarters, does that mean they’re done honoring women? With only five chosen, one might question whether these five are of equal stature or whether a balance of ethnicities was the only concern. That would make these quarters tokens in more ways than one.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. OK I have exactly the same concerns Bill. And I almost went there when I was writing this piece but decided not to in the final edit. Calling out a gender or an ethnicity for special treatment makes me always think well why don’t they just get special treatment all the time?

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Just pre-1982 pennies for the actual copper they contain. Someday each penny will be much more valuable than one cent. I WISH I’d started collecting pre-1965 dimes, quarters, half-dollars, and dollars because they contain 90% silver and are worth far more than their face value. I have some but not nearly as many as I would like.

    The reason? If the US dollar ever collapses because of all the money printing the Federal Reserve has done in the past 30-40 years, “real” money that his intrinsic value (coins with actual gold, silver, and copper in them) may be worth having to buy food, clothing, etc. It’s an “Armageddon” thing, and chances are probably low, but it’s possible. I see these coins as sort of an insurance policy against a calamity.

    Chris in Owatonna
    (and no, I’m not a doomsday prepper. Although I’ve been thinking that buying a generator and hooking it up might be a good idea) 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I Had a colleague who was a coin collector and reader about coins. The change in the silver content was written about a few years before it happended. So he started collecting sllver dollars and half dollars, 5 of each every pay period from 1060 to 1965. This was back when banks would let you pick out coins. He picked out the best he could find. Plus he had lots of silver he had been collecting since he was a child. Some time in the 80’s I think it was the silver market peaked. He told me what his collection was worth in silver. I do not remember the number but it was high. Plus he had many coins of a value beyond the silver. He is still alive in his 90’s. I am sure those coins are still in a vault somewhere.

      Liked by 5 people

        1. Except he is a true collector. For him the point is having them. Not sure if he goes there often, but he used to. Multiple drawers. He would take some to coin shows now and then. He was fascinated by the history of coins and the process of making them. He was a chem teacher, a very fascinating man in many ways, not always in good ways.

          Liked by 5 people

        2. Better to collect something that has value only to other collectors, something you don’t have to keep in a vault.

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      1. I wish I’d had your colleague’s foresight. Silver hit about $50/oz. back in 1980 or so. Dropped dramatically for the next 20 years to about $3-4/oz. It’s been working it’s way up this century. Got into the $40s in 2011, now in the low $20s, but the LT trend is up. Same with gold.

        Chris

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  5. Nope, I’ve never been a coin collector. I like to look at them but it ends there. I too have some mild discomfort about who is choosing the dignitaries for the coins and how they’re being chosen. I think there are better ways of recognizing the contributions of these people but maybe that’s just because the coins themselves don’t really matter that much to me.

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    1. The Woman on quarters is a four-year project so it will be interesting to see who the honorees are in the coming years. In the meantime I found this online about how they choose the honorees:

      The Secretary of the Treasury selects the honorees following consultation with the Smithsonian Institution’s American Women’s History Initiative, the National Women’s History Museum, and the Congressional Bipartisan Women’s Caucus. In 2021, the public was invited to submit recommendations for potential honorees through a web portal established by the National Women’s History Museum

      Liked by 3 people

  6. My sister filled in the blue holders for pennies in the 50’s just for the challenge, that being how my sister works. It was fun in the 50’s, for one thing we amassed all the pennies that came into the family to buy photo reels for view master. For another thing then you collected for the mint marks too. It was not just pennies for each year but pennies of each mint mark. And in the 50’s we would find pennies for as far back as 1910. I do not think pennies from 30-40 years ago are very easy to find now.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Do they have a special value?
        I had lots of lead pennies. No idea where that jar went.
        Back when Canadian coins circulated freely in MN, especially up north, my b-i-l collected canadian coins, again for the fun of it all. He said he had a few that were worth a bit. After twenty years he went to a coin show in Winnipeg and sold them all to help start collecting Indian motorcycles.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Most of them would be worth a penny or two, I expect. There are no 1909 VDBs in the bunch. About 45 years ago, I found a bag in my alley with several rolls of pennies. These are those pennies. It seems a shame to just return them to general circulation and I like them for nostalgic reasons.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. I have 6 half dollar coins that have stumbled into my hands over the last 30 years, that is all. I keep them for nostalgia. My brother would come home from the navy and and hand my a couple two dollar bills. My father had kept a couple from WWII. Do you know whay they had them?

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    I think this issue of “special” quarters was started with the state quarters that were issued 10 or 15 years ago. Those were a big hit with the populace. So many people were interested in those.

    I have not ever collected coins. That said, I have a small stash of Indian Head pennies in my lockbox. My paternal grandfather collected those. I used to sit on his lap and look through them with him, so I saved those purely from sentiment. I had them appraised about 13 or 14 years ago and they were not worth any significant amount.

    Two of my uncles engaged in what I would label as coin hoarding. They had vast numbers of coins in coffee cans and bags. One uncle, who was a plumber in a small town in Iowa, hoarded the ones that were high silver content. He would count them into bags of a certain amount ( I think dimes were in a $100 bag) then store them in a hollowed out couch in the basement. The problem with that was, he “confidentially” told everyone in town that he had them, and he would bring bags of them out for parties. Word got around. One night there was a break in at a plumber’s house and they ransacked the house looking for the coins which they did not find. It was the wrong plumber. Somebody in the family made him get a safe after that.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I still have a 1971 Silver Dollar my grandfather gave me. I think he gave all the grandkids one for Christmas one year.
      For a while I saved 50 cent pieces… never had too many, and eventually I’d be desperate for cash and use them. (Except they wouldn’t fit in vending machines so that was a problem…)

      We’ve got the large plastic bottle bank of change… there’s a few bills in it too. Is that “collecting” in this sense?

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Wow!
      Family rumor has it one of my uncles buried a can full of money in the back yard. But that was 70 years ago, and even 40 years ago my brother had a metal detector looking for it. Never found it; imagine that.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Like YA’s Nana, my mother sent the grandsons the new quarters as they came out. As with postage stamps, I like the little prod to find out about people commemorated on them, particularly if I am unfamiliar with them. I always thought that was at least part of the purpose (maybe that comes of being raised by a woman who thought learning was one of the most important things you could do).

    The ones for each state were interesting as the emblems on them were chosen by the states themselves and there were avenues for the citizens of each state to weigh in on what would finally be chosen.

    I find it interesting how each state chose to identify itself. My mother, as a dedicated school teacher, was so pleased when Iowa chose the “one room schoolhouse” to show their committment to education. It pains me to see one of those these days.

    I confess to stashing away wheat pennies and Bicentennial quarters (BECAUSE).

    The s&h always got Kennedy half dollars from the tooth fairy.

    And then there is this coin enthusiast.
    https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/hungry-badger-digs-up-roman-coins-in-spain-180979378/

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Agreed. The CT one was despised in CT when it came out, and I was working much in that state.
        I am of a similar mind about coins to honor people, much like statues. I suppose it is good but the politics of it all have become unpleasant when the point was to be pleasant. It i s a long long history to put people’s heads on money. I giess that willl continue.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I think I’ve told this story on the trail before, so please bear with me if you remember it.

    During one of my trips to Denmark, I met a nine year old grandson of my uncle Leo. Frederik was intrigued to meet his “aunt” from America, and I chatted with him quite a bit. He was born and raised in Stubbekøbing, and still lives there. One thing I discovered was that he had no idea where Minnesota was in relation to any other state, probably not unusual for a nine year old boy. When I got back home, I decided it would be fun to stay in contact with Frederik, so I looked for a “vehicle” to do just that. I found a map of the United States that had slots to hold each state’s quarter and rounded up as many of the quarters as were minted at the time, and inserted them in the slots. It was my intention to send the remainder, piecemeal, as they became available. I mailed the package off to him, along with a current issue of the Rolling Stone magazine, which I thought he might initially find more interesting. (In retrospect, I realize that he didn’t read English at the time, that didn’t occur to me then!)

    At any rate, about a month later Frederik wrote to thank me for the gift. Unfortunately, only the Rolling Stone magazine remained in the package. Somewhere along the line, someone had made a thief of themself by stealing this small gift with hardly any monetary value. Fortunately, I’ve managed to stay in touch with Frederik, regardless.

    Liked by 6 people

  11. My coin collecting over the years was sporadic and haphazard at best. Like my earlier stamp collecting, it was driven strictly by chance and curiosity, and not by any intrinsic desire to put together a collection that made sense to anyone; myself included. For a while it was pennies that had my interest, then silver dollars, and a few other odds and ends.

    I’m in the habit of saving a few foreign coins whenever I travel abroad. It’s a mishmash of coins, most of which at this point are no longer in circulation. They are worthless, and hardly qualify as a collection, but kind of fun to look at every so often.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I have a pig bank full of foreign coins that I brought home over the years. But since they just sit in the pig bank and I never really even look at them and hardly ever even think about them, I can’t really call that collecting. Unfortunately there’s not really anything I can do with them.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. i filled the books with pennies nickels quarters 50 cent pieces dimes and silver dollars
    pre silver was good stuff
    lead pennies got a special jar
    they are in a box somewhere
    used to find occasional buffalo headed nickels and lots of silver dollars and ore kennedy half’s and liberty dimes
    collected foreign money when i first started traveling
    dutch german uk hong kong china italy greece turkey
    thailand indonesia fun paper and coins
    have bags of it somewhere
    i like collections
    uncle was a stamp collector turned out to be a big part of his life

    Liked by 3 people

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