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Lost and Found

Last year the United States Mint produced over 16,000,000,000 coins with a total face value over one-trillion dollars. Going back to 1951, the US Mint has produced over a billion coins each year. In 1951, the US Mint produced silver dimes, silver quarters, silver half-dollars, pennies, and nickels. Where have all the coins gone?

You’d think with over 700,000,000,000 coins put into circulations over the last 68 years there would be so much coins laying around in piggy-banks and in people’s drawers that there would be a country wide epidemic. 700-billion coins is roughly 5,000,000,000 pounds heavy! Did they all just disappear? Is Scrooge McDuck hoarding all the coins?

For example, in 1909, the Mint put 297,344,000 coins (made up of Indian pennies, Liberty nickels, Barber silver dimes, Barber silver quarters, and Barber silver half-dollars) into circulation. There were 5,000,000 Barber Halves produced in 1909 alone.

We know where a lot of the silver coins went, in the 1980’s the Hunt brothers bought up a lot of silver and they caused the price of silver to reach all time highs of $50. This caused many people sell their silver coins which eventually got melted at the refinery (I hate to imagine the collectable coins we lost in the 1980’s!). No one knows the total number of coins lost to the refineries, but we do know that a lot of those silver coins where made into sterling silver flatware, Gorham bowls, and silver trays.

The coins not turned into flatware and jewelry, we can only speculate as to their fate. I believe a large portion of the lost coins ended up in the ground. The generations that lived through the Great Depression did not trust putting their money in banks and they often hid money on their property, many dug holes and put a coffee cans full of coins in the ground.

Farmers dig up a lot of Earth and there’s a lot of interesting things to be found. There’s a lot of farm fields around Licking County, Granville, Heath, Pataskala, Johnstown, even our neighbors around Zanesville. There are stories of people finding old coins, gold coins, even an ancient Roman coin! Can you imagine finding an ancient Roman coin in a farm field in Ohio?

If you come across anything interesting stop by and let us have a look.

Thanks for listening.