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Are you ready for a new half dime?
September 19, 2008

I have been a collector for 45 years. Many coins have appealed to me as I learned of them, but never in my wildest dreams did I ever say to myself, "Gee, I would like to have been able to spend half dimes."

Well, I may get the chance anyway. Rep. Frank Lucas, a coin collector in Congress who represents the 3rd district of Oklahoma, has just introduced legislation that he calls the "5 cent restoration act," which calls for a clad half dime based on the size and shape of the coin that was abolished in 1873.

The half dime was 15.5mm in diameter as compared to the 17.9mm of the dime. The weight, of course, is lighter also.

If the legislation is passed, it would take effect Dec. 31, 2009, which I guess means starting with 2010, though I suppose it could include a special collector-only 2009 issue.

I have to wait until Monday to find out what Rep. Lucas is thinking. I have an interview scheduled. The idea might be the most clever way of breaking the current impasse over the future of the nickel or the silliest thing anyone ever heard of.

I hope to find out which it is and air the congressman's comments on next week's Coin Chat Radio at

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About the Author
David C. Harper has been a coin collector since 1963. He joined the Krause Publications editorial staff in 1978 and is currently editor of Numismatic News and World Coin News. He also edits two books annually, North American Coins & Prices and Coin Digest. He is the author of the Class of '63 column that runs each week in Numismatic News. His first bylined numismatic article appeared in the June 1971 issue of Coins Magazine and his various Krause Publications assignments included a stint as editor of the magazine 1980-1983. Harper received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 1977. He had a double major of journalism and economics.

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