1917-Suckers

Tuesday, 16 January 2007

1917-S being swallowed by a deinonychus

My Tiger likes to play with coins. I have a collection from all over the world I let her use. They sometimes end up in her piggy bank through the various machinations of the Gator. She emptied her piggy bank the other day to play with her own coins.

She picked out an unusually colored coin and said, “Oh, here’s one of yours, daddy.” She handed it to me. It was a penny so I started to hand it back. Whatever shred of numismatist remains in me realized the color was not contemporary. I checked the date. 1917.

Wow, I thought. That’s cool. I only have a few pennies older and none in better shape that old. Too bad it’ll be a Denver. Looked again. “S.” Easy to read because it’s in good shape.

Thought, wait, I think this might be one of the $500 pennies. Grabbed my “Handbook of United States Coins” which lists a 1917-S as being worth 50¢ at max. Sigh! The book was a present from my grandfather when I was a kid so I checked the pubdate. 1967. Allowing for inflation I figured the penny was maybe worth $2 or $3 bucks today. While a 300-fold increase in value is nothing to sneeze at, it’s got to be viewed in the perspective of the original investment.

Well, double check. Hit Google. Found 1917-S pennies have sold for $5,000 and $8,000 in the last couple of years.

I’ve never bought a lottery ticket in my life. Suckers.

I also own Apple stock. Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! I’m the King on the Hill!

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