Monday, November 3, 2008


This past weekend was a great weekend. On Friday Meg and I took Henry trick-or-treating with my sister's family and my parents. The whole experience brought back a lot of good memories and it was definitely something special to take our son out for his first time. We continued the fun on Saturday when we drove out to Meg's alma mater for homecoming. There we met up with some of her college friends, their husbands and their kids (all three, including Henry were born this year). I had a great time talking politics and Dad stuff to the guys. That night Meg and I had a great date dinner while her parents watched Henry.

Before taking off from California I was able to search some more coin. My finger was a bit sore from sorting and my back was tired from hauling pennies, but I decided to press on. I figured any penny searching I do out in CA has a better chance of finding a new variety than my searches back home. Plus there are still a few varieties I found last year, but I haven't found this year. (Keeping track of 2008 vs. 2007 has been a good way to keep things interesting while I wait to find the next variety. Next year I think I'll do this for pre-60 nickels as well.)

I searched 10,100 pennies (four boxes and two rolls) thus surpassing my goal of 50,000 pennies for this trip. I found seventy-nine Wheats, twenty Canadians and one Panama 1¢. The Wheat varieties were:

1919S, 1925, 1941, 1942, 1944(2), 1944D(2), 1944S(2), 1945, 1945D(2), 1945S(2), 1946S, 1947, 1947S(2), 1950D, 1950S, 1951, 1951D, 1951S(2), 1952D(3), 1952S(4), 1953D(2), 1953S(3), 1954D, 1954S, 1955D(3), 1955S, 1956(2), 1956D(8), 1957(4), 1957D(7), 1958D(11)

While putting non-keepers from the above search into the coin counting machine I had the good fortune of crossing paths with a lady turning in a whole bunch of coin. I could tell she had a lot of foreign coins (and hopefully a silver coin or two!), so I asked her if I could buy her rejects. I gave her $30 for a basket of leftovers and twelve rolls of pennies and two rolls of nickels. I definitely made out ahead! The mix had $10.64 in US coins, $34.65 in Canadian and eighteen other foreign coins. Assuming I can get rid of the Canadians at US face value, I came out $15.29 ahead. The coins included one Twoonie, three Loonies, sixty-three Canadian quarters, one hundred one Canadian dimes, thirty-four Canadian nickels (15 Ni), thirty-five Canadian pennies and two Wheats (1945, 1957D). The other foreign coins were three Cayman Islands 1¢, one Australian 2¢, one Ireland 2 pence, one New Zealand 10 pence, one Cayman Islands 25¢, two Cayman Islands 5¢, three UK 5 pence, one Swiss 20 Rappen, one Fiji Islands 2¢, two UK new pennies and two Australian 5¢. No silver, but not too bad I think! There's a few new foreign types in that mix for me, a new Canadian quarter(2008 Alpine Skiing) and one new country, Fiji Islands.

On the first leg of my trip home I finished reading Diana and Michael Preston's Taj Mahal: Passion and Genius at the Heart of the Moghul Empire. About a year ago I went to a book reading and signing session of theirs that they were doing to promote this book. I didn't buy the book until much later, but had always planned on reading it as I've enjoyed other works of Diana Preston's and knew next to nothing about the Taj Mahal. The title of the book is a bit misleading. Only about a third of the book concerns the Taj Mahal itself. The majority of the book covers the Moghul Empire. I found the topic to be pretty interesting. I like Indian food a lot, but other than that don't know much about India. I'd like to know a lot more as on the surface the culture and history seem romantic and exotic to me. The book did a pretty good job of describing the Moghul period, roughly 1500-1700, and had a lot of cultural details throughout that brought the story to life. The lives of those involved were well documented by official historians and by traveling Europeans. As always, Diana Preston did a great job creating a flowing narrative out of these sources. My only complaints are that all of the personalities were tough to keep track off and the book lacks good illustrations. The photographs taken by the authors are not as powerful as they could be as most are reproduced in black and white. I'm definitely going to have to bite the bullet and buy Ebba Koch's The Complete Taj Mahal sometime soon. Now that I've learned so much about the back story of the Taj Mahal I'm anxious to see better drawings and photographs. One of these days I hope Meg and I can travel to India. I think we both would enjoy touring the Taj Mahal and all of the other wonders within the country. Until then I'll have to study from afar and enjoy books like this.

On Saturday morning I searched some local coin.

Twenty small dollars didn't turn up anything.

8,000 half dollars produced ten 90% silver halves (1938, 1942, 1963D, 6 x 1964, 1964D), ten 40% silver halves (6 x 1967, 4 x 1968D), two proof halves (1993S, 2001S), two mint set halves (2006D, 2007P) and one clipped half. That's only the second clipped half I've found. They command quite a premimum on E-Bay too!

Found: 3 pennies (1 at Starbucks at LAX, 1 at LAX, 1 in Williamstown), 1 nickel (at Mollie Stone's), 1 dime (at Mollie Stone's), 1 foreign coin (a Canadian nickel (1 Ni) at Mollie Stone's)