Friday, August 13, 2010

Penny Dreadful

If you're like me, and God help you if you are by the way, you don't use a lot of cash for financial transactions. If you're a little bit like me and have a vestigial numismatic interest, you look at your change and check the dates and mint marks and wonder whether it would kill someone out West to come visit and pay for stuff using some goddamn D-mintmark state quarters.

So when I got back to my desk with my lunch today I checked out my change and found this:"Funny," I thought to myself, "I didn't think we had gone to the arcade at Enchanted Forest, and besides, game tokens are usually bigger." Then I turned it over and saw the familiar profile of our sixteenth President, and reacted thus:

Fortunately, as with most everything these days, I can blame the previous Administration for screwing up the penny,* as described here. I recall seeing the Lincoln bicentennial pennies (some of them anyway) and thought them mostly harmless, assuming that the design would revert to the familiar and beloved (yes) Lincoln Memorial this year.

It pains me to admit that I suspect one of the driving forces behind this redesign is a fellow alumnus of Hamilton, Rep. (and, after November, Senator) Mike Castle of Delaware. Although his Wikipedia entry is strangely mum on his involvement with currency redesign, a rudimentary Google search indicates otherwise.

The damage has been done, but at least I'm not alone. By the way, that link references the extraordinarily clever redesign of British coinage. Perhaps the phrase should be "penny foolish, pound wise."

*Who knew that the Lincoln penny was designed by a 70s comedian? Oh, wrong guy? Fine.


J. said...

As if I didn't have enough trouble trying to collect all 50 state quarters.

Very funny and clever post, Dave. And I liked your alternate title, "Penny Lame." I'd write more, but I'm in the middle of going through our penny jar and all our wallets and the seat cushions seeing if we have one of those Planet of the Apes pennies.

(P.S. I believe there was yet another Hamilton guy who had a lot to do with the U.S. treasury. Some would even call him a Founding Father. Just sayin'.)

jjv said...

I liked the new penny but had not heard about it until I found one as well.

jjv said...

I note that the back of this penny has Captain America's original shield.

As seen here:'s_shield#Original_shield

J. said...

I knew it looked familiar!

1909s V.D.B. said...

I've a few of these quad-farthings and, casually numismatic, remain ambivalent of the loose change.

Dave S. said...

Mr. B wins the prize for Most Topically Clever Commenter Name. Well done.