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Silver Find a Pleasant Surprise
July 09, 2009

Every once in while I get a letter pleading for the return of some sort of circulation finds column in Numismatic News. It certainly sparks a responsive chord in my heart. I grew up in the circulation finds era. It was like a treasure hunt to see what might be found in the rolls of coins I obtained from the bank.

These letters find their way into the regular letters section of Numismatic News.

Even with my sympathy for the topic, there just isn't likely to be a rebirth of circulation finds as an independent column. There aren't enough letters or finds to fill any regular amount of space - hence their placement among the regular letters.

Our summer intern, David Brierley, showed up this week after his weekend tending bar with what used to be called a "slick" Standing Liberty quarter. He found it in the till.

Now "slick" doesn't mean some sort of neat item, it literally means the coin was worn slick.

There is no date on it. The design devices are heavily worn. I imagine if I put it on a scale it would be severely underweight.

It is an interesting find and Brierley was pleasantly surprised when I said it was worth about $2.50 in silver value.

I also told him that in the middle 1960s before silver vanished once and for all from circulation, Standing Liberty quarters with this level of wear could be routinely found in circulation if one went through enough quarter rolls to find the floating supply.

The same was true then of dateless Buffalo nickels.

I image Brierley's coin has sat in a drawer or a jar for the last 45 years or so and it was spent by grandma's unknowing heir.

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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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