Last night I heard a blues song in which the songwriter wrote lines like “what if this wall could talk,” “what if this door knob could tell who turned it,” and “what if these shoes could talk.” All of the lines led me to wonder who/what saw something, illicit, of course. In the vein of things to ponder, I picked up an obviously old nickel in the coin tray of my car today. I almost used it to pay for something at a drive-through recently, but it looked old, so I set it aside. When I picked it up today I realized it really is old, 1947. It was minted just after World War II, 75 years ago! Wow, what if that nickel could talk? Where has it been? How many times has it been used in a transaction. What did it buy in 1947? Stamps were 3¢, bread was 12¢ a loaf, “penny candy” meant something, and in my lifetime (which is less than the life of this coin) I can remember packs of gum for 5¢. Today, in the scheme of things, 5¢ isn’t much. It doesn’t even cover the sales tax on a dollar where we live in Broward County (sales tax is 7%). But I’m sure this coin has changed hands thousands of times. It has held up rather well; Thomas Jefferson and Monticello look pretty good. The coin is pre-dates controversies of things at Monticello with Thomas Jefferson; the civil rights era; Korea, Vietnam and all subsequent wars; cell phones; and the internet. The U.S. mint got its money’s worth when this coin was struck. The average life of a U.S. coin is 30 years, so this one is well past its prime! What a world it has seen!
David and I have been writing our blog for over 9 years and I am fearful that his selection of this topic is akin to Fonzie “jumping the shark.” Let’s hope not! I don’t have much to say about the 1947 nickel David found in the coin tray, but I do find it strange that his new car, which as of this writing, he has owned for 2 weeks, had an old coin in its coin tray. I will remark, somewhat relatedly, however, that 1947 was a long time ago, when things were vastly different than they are today. Many things have changed, some for the better, some for the worse, and whether we like it or not, they will keep changing. For example, paying cash for purchases, with nickels or other currency, is declining. Most people pay for their purchases with plastic, in the form of a debit card or a credit card. I have patronized several businesses recently that have signs, prominently displayed, that say “No cash accepted.” The first time I saw this, I was taken aback. No cash? Why? I guess there are many reasons, but, as a person who rarely has much cash in her wallet, paying with a credit card is fine with me. Crypto currency is widely believed to be the next form of payment, which will, if adopted as intended, replace plastic cards. If this happens, both cash and plastic cards will be obsolete, relegated to museums instead of used to buy things. I’m glad David was paying attention to that old blues song on the radio last night as we arrived home from a concert that featured a blues guitarist. This proves that our posts are inspired by both the mundane and the cerebral events in our lives. I hope David saves his 1947 nickel; maybe it will be worth more than 5 cents someday!