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  • Walt Mussell

Coin This (Man-erism: Piling Spare Change Through the House)


Years ago, I wrote a book (never published) about all of the habits of mine that my wife finds annoying. I contend that these are typical male habits. My wife says that they are specific to me. Love to hear your thoughts. I'm now posting these habits weekly on my blog. Please let me know if you agree with me or my wife.


The habit below is from the section House Rules


My maternal grandfather collected coins. The pride of his collection was a 1909-S V.D.B. penny, worth anywhere from $350 - $1100 today. He and I often discussed his hobby. By age six, I knew about wheat pennies and the locations of the U.S. Mint. Though I enjoyed those talks with my grandfather, who passed away when I was seven, I never became the collector he was.


My wife disagrees.

“What’s this doing here?” she asked one evening.

“Uh…can you be more specific?”

“This pile of coins.”

“It’s my change from the day.”

“Why did you leave it here?”

“Because I’ll use it tomorrow?”

“Can you put it out of sight, please? That’s why I set aside drawers for you downstairs…so you can put away your stuff.”

I sighed. “Ok. I’ll take care of it.”

“Thanks. While you’re at it, there’s another pile on the desk next to the fridge, and one upstairs on the end table beside our bed. I’d appreciate it if you’d get those, too.”


It used to be worse. When we lived in our previous house, I would leave the change in whatever pile I created and start the next day with bills. The unsightly piles grew larger, along with my wife’s frustration. She began setting out empty jars, small boxes, etc. for me to drop my change in. One time, I brought home some coin roll packages; we rolled up over $150 and still had a huge pile left.


She finally asked for reason for this habit. “Tell me, please, why you leave your coins in a pile?”

For the briefest of moments, I got a little irritated in a way only a male can. “Honey, I do it for you.”

“For me? Yeah, right.”

“No, seriously. You’re putting together five collections of those state quarters. That means you need ten of each state, with five from the Philadelphia mint and five from the Denver mint.”

“That explains the quarters. What about the rest of it?”

“I figure I’ll split them out later.”

“And you never get around to doing it.”


I got the message about my "coin collection.” She created a spot for me to deposit the state quarters. I started leaving the other coins in one specific place every day, grabbing them and using them the next day for coffee. However, there was one instance where my wife forgave my collecting habit. After getting coffee one afternoon at a Starbuck’s, I scanned my change and noticed one of the coins looked odd. I knew it was a dime, but a type I’d never seen. I checked the year and saw it was from the early 1900s. I was amazed it had been in circulation for so long.


I looked online as soon as I got home, and discovered that it’s value was somewhere between $5-$10.


My wife maintains it’s the only thing of “value” I ever got from Starbuck’s.


Postscript: For those who are interested, the “S” in the 1909-S V.D.B. stands for San Francisco, the place where it was minted. The V.D.B. stands for Victor David Brenner, the man who designed the image of Lincoln for the penny.


Also, the Philadelphia and Denver mints are denoted by the “D” and “P” marks found just below the year shown on the coin.

© 2018 by Walter Mussell