BOOSEL'S CAMPAIGN FOR THE 2 1/2 CENT COIN
In recent issues we've been searching for information regarding Harry X Boosel's campaign for a 2½ cent coin, inspired by a Newman Numismatic Portal user's
question about the above token.
God bless her, Julia Casey has come through again, finding two newspaper articles answering the question. Thanks! Here they are, together with transcriptions for readability
and the use of search engines. The first piece is from the Chicago Daily News April 1, 1974. -Editor
It is hardly news that a penny doesn’t buy much any more. Or a nickel, for that matter.
But a Chicago man thinks he has a solution which would eventually eliminate the virtually worthless one-cent piece and help slow the inflation that is eroding the five-cent
He is Harry X. Boosel, a longtime coin collector and coin historian, who is conducting a one-man campaign to get the government to adopt a 2 1/2-cent piece.
Sounds a little odd? Not the way Boosel tells it.
“What can you buy for a penny? The 2 1/2-cent piece divides the nickel exactly in half.” said Boosel, who spent 36 of his 62 years as a federal Employee.
“When phone calls, stamps, cokes, coffee and other items sold in vending machines are raised, they could be increased in smaller increments.”
This, he said, would help slow inflation.
Furthermore, his plan would end the chronic shortage of pennies which periodically plagues our country, he says.
Boosel, a former president of the Chicago Coin Club, has been carrying on his one-man campaign for the 2 1/2-cent piece for 20 years.
He has written letters pushing his cause to Presidents Eisenhower, Johnson, and Nixon and continually fires off what he calls “jabs” at the Treasury Department.
The usual reply - if he gets the courtesy of an answer - is that the change would be confusing, difficult for stores and vending machines to handle, and likely to meet public
Those replies don’t deter Boosel.
To prove the point, Boosel has this year undertaken a new campaign - the adoption of the 2 1/2-dollar bill. He says it would divide the $5 bill evenly and would provide an
alternative for the $2 bill discontinued in 1966 because of its unpopularity.
Interesting. So he wanted a 2 1/2 dollar bill, too. Here's another one from Huntsville Times of Huntsville, AL June 20, 1974. -Editor
IT WILL COME as no news flash that a penny - in short supply these days - does not buy much anymore. Or a nickel, for that matter.
But there’s a proposed solution that would eventually eliminate the virtually worthless one-cent piece and help curb the inflation that is eroding the five-cent piece. The
idea: a 2 ½-cent piece.
A one-man campaign to get Washington to adopt just such a coin is being waged by a Chicagoan name Harry Boosel, a longtime coin collector, coin historian and retired federal
His reasoning in support of a 2 ½-cent piece:
“What can you buy for a penny? The 2 ½-cent piece divides the nickel exactly in half. When phone calls, stamps, cokes, coffee or other items sold in vending machines are
raised, they could be increased in smaller increments,” and this might help slow inflation.
Furthermore, the Boosel plan would end the chronic shortage of pennies which plagues the country. And it would give shoppers a coin to use when they want to purchase only one
item offered at, say, “two for 39 cents.”
The idea is not really so odd. After all, the U.S. has had 2 ½-cent stamps and a $2 ½ gold piece in the past, and any consumer confusion over a 2 ½-cent piece
could probably be overcome in time.
Our suggestion for a name for this coin half way between a penny and a nickel: penickel.
If Mr. Boosel succeeds in getting his proposal adopted by the government, it won’t be an overnight victory for him. He has been pushing the idea for about 20 years.
Remember, 1974 was the year of the prototype aluminum cents made in response to the rising cost of copper and the resulting hoarding of cents, which many people believed could
become worth more melted than spent. This was only ten years after the changeover from silver to clad coinage and the continued rise in the price of silver that made it profitable
to hoard and melt dimes, quarters and half dollars.
How do I know that? Yeah, I'm a numismatist, but I'm also old and I lived through it. It was just current events at the time, but now it's history to you young
whippersnappers. I don't recall reading about Boosel's quest, but it does fit in well with the times. Thanks, Julia! -Editor
To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:
QUERY: BOOSEL'S 2 1/2 CENT COIN CONCEPT (https://www.coinbooks.org/v21/esylum_v21n52a08.html)
NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: JANUARY 6, 2019 : More on the 2 1/2 Coin Concept
HARRY BOOSEL'S 1873 OPEN AND CLOSED 3'S (https://www.coinbooks.org/v22/esylum_v22n02a15.html)
Wayne Homren, Editor
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