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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 19, May 7, 2006, Article 18

THE 1960 SMALL DATE LINCOLN CENT INSANITY

Barry Jablon writes: "My five year career of working for the Friedbergs
in Philly and Baltimore was not limited to sales and making purchases.
We spent a lot of time talking to people about coins and trying to get
them into the hobby. I loved the interaction with the customers. However,
there was a period of time, I think it was about two or three weeks,
which really tried all of our patience.

After forty-eight years, I do not recall exactly what month it was. But,
shortly after the 1960 pennies were issued by the mint, television news
shows and newspaper articles were filled with news about "Small Date"
cents being worth from .50 to $1.00 each. The problem was that to most
people, all of their 1960 cents had small dates. They either didn't want
to understand what a Small Date cent was or they already had all of the
money spent which Gimbel's was going to pay them for their bags of
pennies.

>From the first thing in the morning until the store closed at night, the
counter was lined  with people wanting to sell their pennies. When Mr.
Kraus and I would go for dinner at the store cafeteria, they would come
to our table with their pennies. Merchants in the neighborhood knew we
were the coin guys and they would bring their pennies to us for our
examination. I'm not making any of this up, I was even questioned about
small date values while I was at the urinal in the Gimbel's Men's Room.

Mr. Kraus, who had little patience for what he called the "hole filling
American collectors" used to stay in the stock room when he saw people
coming to the counter with bags of pennies. I usually got the job of
telling people we were not interested in their pennies and watching them
get angry and tell me off. Mr. Kraus blamed local coin dealer Harry
Forman for the "Small Date" insanity. I don't know if this is true or
not. I do know that this period was about the only time I ever wanted out of
the coin business."

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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