The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 21, Number 43, October 28, 2018, Article 11


Author Kevin Flynn, like many of us, likes to put obsolete money back into circulation to help promote the hobby and make some new collectors. But sometimes the favor isn't appreciated. Here's an excerpt from his write-up of his recent ordeal. -Editor

Sometimes I use Buffalo nickels (struck 1913 through 1938) or Lincoln cents with the wheat back reverse (struck 1909 through 1958) in change. It’s neat to see the response of those receiving, usually a look of excitement. Our coins represent and reflect our country’s history. The images tell us of those places, people, events, and things that are important to past. I have found over the years that when coins, or even silver or gold are used as an investment, they are simply an object with the objective of making money. When there is a connection made to the symbology as to what the coin represents, or a time period in which they were struck, then is a much great enjoyment and respect of the coin.

Recently I went through some old currency I had and separated out those that I considered to be of little or no value above the face value of the currency, i.e. a $20 bill that was worth $20. I could have just went to a bank and traded them in for new bills. I decided instead to use them in circulation.

My hope was to inspire people to see them, find them cool, keep them, and start collecting. It is always fun to watch someone lighten up when you had them a Two dollar bill, normally I would see them put their own money in the register and keep the bill. I would normally wait there while they examined to see if there was any questions regarding the bill such as if it was worth a premium. In 30 years I have never had a problem in using old coins or currency in circulation to pay for merchandise or services (such as a tip). Until now.

What I did not contemplate or consider in using older currency for transactions is that individuals who did not know the United States used older currency that appeared different and had different attributes and characters. For example: there might be individuals who do not know that the United States has modified its currency over the years, such as the size, shape, font, and location of the lettering or the size, shape, location, color, and actual designs used, or the security measures included; there might be younger individuals who primarily use debit and credit cards have less experience with currency, especially with older currency; someone new in the country has not seen or dealt with older currency; someone uneducated. I have met some people who did not realize we have a $2 bill. Most individuals who I have used older currency with, such as an older $20 that contains a smaller image of Andrew Jackson have said that they remembered using the older $20s and recognized the bill.

I went to the Dollar Tree store in my area to buy some basic stuff. The total for all items was $10. I used one of my old Ten Dollar bills. The Cashier looked over the bill then put it in the drawer, I stood there until she put the bill in the drawer. Had she questioned the bill’s authenticity, I would have gladly replaced with another or used my credit card. On Friday October 12th , the local Sheriff’s Department office placed an article on their website showing a photo of me at Dollar Tree and a title stating that they were seeking the individual for using a counterfeit $10 bill at Dollar Tree. This article was picked up by local online internet news.

I work as a Department of Defense (DoD) contractor with my title being Senior Computer Scientist, which requires a security clearance. On Monday, October 15th , because of flash flood warnings in my area, I came into work late, around 10:30, went to my desk and started working. Several of the people I worked with walked by, looked at me and kept going. I learned later that some had seen my image on the police web site and also the local internet news sites. They had spent the morning before I got there wondering if I was on the run to Mexico, whether the base police would arrive to arrest me a drag me out in cuffs, whether I would be going to prison, and so on. Those of course who knew me, knew this is something I would not do. Around noon, my one of the people I work with came up to me and asked if I knew that I was wanted by the police. I was confused as this was out of the blue and he offered to show me. He showed me the police website, which had my image in the counterfeit article.

Long story short, Kevin reached out to the local police who were very professional and understanding, and the matter was eventually cleared up. -Editor

Sedwick E-Sylum ad 2018-10-28 Auction 24

Wayne Homren, Editor

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