Twenty years or so ago I collected 1964 nickels – to no avail. I kept noticing them in my pocket change every few days, thought it was interesting, and began gathering them. There were no clues why there were so many of them and I wondered what was so special about that particular vintage. Two separate stashes held the collection. One was in my chest-of-drawers at home and the other was in my desk drawer at work.
The one at work was growing impressive (for a pile of nickels, at least). Then, one day, I noticed the familiar “clinks” were silent when I opened the drawer. I looked down and saw the nickels were gone. Someone had taken all the nickels. I don’t say stolen, necessarily, because they left three one dollar bills in place of the coins.
While maybe not technically stolen, it sure felt like they were. The “perp” probably had no idea of their perpness. They needed some change so they swapped them out – equal value. Actually, the bills they left were probably worth more than the nickels they took. Of course, as I asked around, folks could tell I was aggravated and no one fessed up. No one ever did – it has remained a mystery.
I did finally research it and discovered the reason I found so many of that particular vintage. I found so many of them because there were so many of them – the mints produced tons and tons of nickels that year. And, for some reason, they kept the 1964 date in the minting on into the middle of 1965, which added to the total. The primary cause for the nickel explosion was there was a silver shortage that year, making some dimes and quarters cost more to mint than their face value. The answer to that was to decrease their numbers and increase the number of pennies and nickels. There were around one billion 1964 nickels minted, so it’s not unusual to find one from a billion chances, even now, fifty years later.
I still have a few rolls of the nickels in the chest-of-drawers. They’re not really a collection now since my thoughts have changed. I mainly just haven’t gotten around to cashing them in for what they’re really worth – 5 cents each.
That’s the story. I’ll leave it to you to think of some lessons. There are several.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21 ESV