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After the Apple Pie
March 26, 2012

Friday my lunch tab came to $10.02. When I saw the number, I cringed a bit as I thought about the 98 cents in coins I would receive as part of my change from a $20 bill.

I should have cringed before I ordered the piece of apple pie to pad the bill, but hadn’t. Now it was time to pay the piper.

I scanned the coins as they were handed to me, but I was running a few minutes late, so I did not take the time to check the dates. My quick glance revealed nothing out of the ordinary.

I managed to get back to my desk without any of the coins rolling out of my pocket into the car seat on the way.

Then I decided to look at them a little more closely.

When I pulled the coins out of my pocket at the office, the eagle reverse of a Washington quarter caught my eye. It was shinier than any coin that is at least 14 years old ought to be.

I turned the quarter over and the date surprised me.

It was a 1983-D.

That 29-year-old coin is a top end AU. A grading service in 50 years might even assign it a nice Mint State grade.

If only I knew where the other 39 coins from the roll happened to be.

An uncirculated roll of 1983-D quarters is worth $410.

That certainly is a price that makes me wish I had been more diligent saving clad coins back then. I regularly bought proof and mint sets in those years, but in 1982 and 1983 the U.S. Mint did not issue mint sets. Anybody who needs BU coins from the two years has to find them some other way.

While I wasn’t saving rolls of BU clad quarters three decades ago, one thing that I do know I was doing in 1983 was enjoying the pie at the Crystal Cafe. That’s why it was impossible for me to say no to it on Friday and on many other days as well.

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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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