The coin — we do not really notice how this small item has become an important part of how we humans live (is that the reason why in the movies, bank robbers ignore the bank canvas coin bag and take off with just the paper bills?) not just for its value as a currency that allows us to buy things, but because it is also involved in things outside of the business of being a legal tender.
Think about it – if we want someone (or something) to make an arbitrary decision and settle an impasse, we flip a coin and see if it ends up heads or tails. If we want to make a wish, we toss a coin at the fountain hoping that our deepest yearning is heard and granted. If we want to impress someone with magic tricks, the coin allows the magician to wow the crowd. If we want to attract good luck, we put a pile of coins in that one part of the room.
And if you want to become a pirate, you spend the rest of your life in search of gold coins.
Coins are not just ubiquitous in our existence as humans, it is also literally everywhere: inside our pockets even when don’t remember putting them there, in the sofa, on the pavement, etc.
Despite this, very few people have a real profound interest in coins – unless this is an old coin worth thousands or even millions of dollars! We call them Numismatists – a broad term referring to serious enthusiasts, scholars, collectors, and dealers all of whom have a deep appreciation and knowledge of coins.
It is because of them that we now have a collection of interesting trivia and fun-facts about coins. Here is your chance to brush up on your coin knowledge but be warned: unlike coins, you can’t but anything with it, although knowing interesting coin trivia could be an interesting conversation starter.
#1 Give ‘peace’ a chance
If money is thought to be the root of all evil, then the Peace Dollar begs to disagree. We usually see year and names of significant people in coins, and what makes the Peace Dollar stand out is that it marks the first time the word ‘peace’ is used in a coin anywhere!
FYI: The most expensive Peace Dollar is a mint condition 1934 S valued at $1,492.
#2 Penny for your thoughts?
This one-cent US coin is currently the one with the lowest value in U.S. currency. But this wasn’t always the case. The Coinage Act of 1792 created the half-cent, the smallest denomination of United States coin ever minted (this means to match the same amount of pennies, you will need two canvas bank coin bag if you are collecting half-cent coins). It was discontinued by the Coinage Act of February 21, 1857.
#3 Coin you count it all?
The Smithsonian Coin Collection holds approximately 850,000 pieces of coins. This is part of the Smithsonian’s National Numismatic Collection (NNC). If you are thinking of transporting it somewhere else, best to start looking for canvas coin bags for sale now.
It must have felt like a miracle when silver coins started falling from the sky in Gorky, Russia in 1940. In truth, it was just bad luck for the owner of a money chest filled with coins which was sucked inside a tornado, its contents spilling in many different directions. There is no way he can get back all his lost silver coins.
If someone was hit in the head by a falling silver coin (and that would hurt!), I don’t know if it counts as a blessing or a misfortune. It’s a good thing everyone was probably in hiding at the time on the account of a tornado on the loose.
#5 Don’t remember me this way
History is rife with stories and accounts of how beautiful Cleopatra is. Unfortunately, this did not translate in the coin that supposedly bears her resemblance. But I guess imperfections are part of the beauty of an old coin, right?
#6 A truckload of…trucks?
If all Euro coins are to be transported all at once, the task requires 478,000 trucks. Let us hope there is no need to come to that.
#7 That’s a clover idea!
In 1060, England minted a clover-shaped coin. As a whole, it has a value, but each of the four leaves of the clover has its own value too, so you can break off a leaf if the cost of what you are paying for requires just one leaf of the clover.
#8 Paying for her crimes
The last English woman to be punished by burning was Christian Bowman, who was found guilty of making counterfeit coins.
#9 Zinc or swim
Copper was used in the war effort, so in 1943, the US cent (which is usually made of bronze) was a zinc-coated steel.
#10 Top of the line
The most expensive coin is the Flowing Hair Silver/Copper Dollar minted in 1794. Its value: $10 million. If I can travel back in time, I’ll make sure to visit 1794 and get a freshly-minted coin.
#11 Dead weight
They say you cannot take your money in the afterlife, but many will disagree. In Khmer, for example, a gold or silver coin is placed inside the mouth of the dead in the belief that this is the only treasure he or she can bring in the afterlife.
The coin has a very rich and colorful history. You can tell a lot about a society or a civilization based on how they lived vis-à-vis the coin they use. A lot of things have changed since the first coin was minted, and yet the coin remains of use and relevant in how we live our modern lives. Who knows when or what change in the future can finally render the coin obsolete, the important thing is it has impacted and influenced man’s history and way of life and made an indelible mark on human existence.