Friday, December 23, 2005


As part of the big cleaning and packing drive, I lugged the massive pile of coins on my dresser over to a local coinstar machine. I'd been lured by the promise of no-fee Amazon gift certificates. Unfortunately, however, this appears to be a bait and switch, since none of the machines in Nashville will actually do it. Having already schlepped many tons of coins over to Kroger, I went ahead and paid the fee to have them counted. To my astonishment, I discovered that I had almost $250 in change sitting around my bedroom. Even with the fee, I still cleared around $220, which isn't bad for 20 minutes work!

It was also fun to look at what the machine kicked back. Besides some severely-mutilated US coinage, there were things with a more interesting history. To wit: coins

  1. Deutschmark, probably left over from the exchange program trip I took to Germany in Summer, 1992. Perhaps a collectors item now, since Deutschmarks no longer exist!

  2. 50 Pfenig coin. Another collector's item.

  3. Random token with no cash value. Probably from Chuck-e-Cheese or somwhere of its ilk.

  4. Token from Buttons Arcade in Syracuse, NY. In college, I took a course called "Literature and the Working Class." To begin a discussion about class in America, the professor divided us up into groups and sent us out into the community to observe people and take notes. Our group decided to go to Buttons, an arcade in a seedy dying mall in North Syracuse. Pretty sure this token came from that trip.

  5. MBTA T token from the Boston subway. From one of my many trips to Boston. I should hang onto this to use in a few weeks when I arrive in Boston.

  6. 1776 coin. Don't know where this came from. I think it might have been part of a solicitation for some magazine published by the History Channel.

  7. 100 Pesos from Argentina. My dad's sister used to be married to a guy from Argentina. After living in Montana during the 1970s, they moved to Argentina during the early 1980s, and lived there for the rest of the decade. (Which is why my cousins all speak fluent Spanish.) This coin probably came from one of my grandmother's trips to visit them. Interestingly, claims that 100 Pesos are worth roughly $33 US dollars. But I suspect that the currency has been revalued since the 1980s, so I doubt this little coin is really worth that much. Maybe one day I'll get to go to Argentina and find out.

  8. 2 Mexican Pesos. Left over from my trip to Mexico in Spring, 2004. This side shows the eagle on the cactus eating a snake, which is the Mexican national symbol. The other side has nifty little prehistoric-looking heiroglyphs around the edges.

  9. Another German 50 Pfenig piece.

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