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Count Your Quarters
April 10, 2009

The difficulty in finding the scarce District of Columbia and U.S. Territories quarters have many individuals searching supplies of the denomination in the nation's banking system and there are interesting observations being made.

Gene Funkhouser of Pensacola, Fla., says that he will no longer accept sealed boxes of plastic wrapped rolls because they are always short $1-$3.

He told me that he first realized something was up about a month ago when he used more quarters as replacements than he thought he should.

He tried five bank companies in his area and even a major retailer and any time the rolls were machine wrapped in plastic the overall total was an undercount. He said occasionally he still finds a roll with an extra coin in it, but that doesn't affect the overall result.

He wondered why he had never heard of this happening before. I told him I had never heard of this happening, either. The theory of machine wrapping is coins are handled by weight and every roll with an undercount should be offset by a roll with an overcount.

Apprently that is not so in Pensacola. I suppose a statistician could prove that Mr. Funkhouser is just being unlucky for the moment and if he would continue to obtain rolls the quantities would balance out over time, but is that something you would want to bet $1-$3 a box on? He doesn't.

Now it is up to others to see what counts they come up with in their supplies of quarter rolls that are machine wrapped in plastic.

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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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