Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Not Bad

Tonight I searched some coin in my effort to close out 2008 in style. I did pretty well.

3,400 quarters turned up one silver Washington (1963), four Canadians, four Cayman Islands 25¢ and one US nickel.

4,000 nickels were pretty good too. In them I found one Buffalo (1927), four War Times (2 x 1943P, 1944P, 1944D) and four Canadians (1 Ni). That's the first Buffalo I've found with a readable date in some time. I also found a key date Jefferson in the bunch, the 1955.

Books of 2008

Because it is the end of the year I've decided to write a short series of 2008 summaries. The first one up is the books I've read during 2008. In March I decided to write short book reviews. Today I looked at past posts and some old e-mails to tally up all the books of 2008.

In 2008 I read twenty-four books and I almost finished one more. There's a couple of books I started to read, but quit reading after a chapter or two. I haven't counted those. That's pretty good I think. It gives me hope that I'll find the time to read all the books I've found recently sometime during 2009. By genre the books are:


Crusader: by Horse To Jerusalem by Tim Severin
Tracking Marco Polo by Tim Severin.
In Search of Moby Dick by Tim Severin
A Pirate of Exquisite Mind: The Life of William Dampier by Diana and Micheal Preston
Joseph Thomson and the Exploration of Africa by Robert I. Rotberg
The Man Who Would Be King: The First American in Afghanistan by Ben Macintyre
Livingstone by Tim Jeal
Skeletons on the Zahara: A True Story of Survival by Dean King
The Dutch Come to Korea by Gari Ledyard
Engelbert Kaempfer (1651–1716) by Detlef Haberland
Stanley: The Impossible Life of Africa's Greatest Explorer by Tim Jeal
The Spice Islands Voyage: The Quest for Alfred Wallace, the Man Who Shared Darwin's Discovery of Evolution by Tim Severin

Ancient History

The Complete Pompeii by Joanne Berry
Roman Towns in Britain by Guy de la Bedoyere.
Pottery in Roman Britain by Guy de la Bedoyere
Hadrian's Wall: History and Guide by Guy de la Bedoyere

Other History

The Napoleon of Crime: The Life and Times of Adam Worth, Master Thief by Ben Macintyre
Taj Mahal: Passion and Genius at the Heart of the Moghul Empire by Diana and Michael Preston
Agent Zigzag: A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love, and Betrayal by Ben Macintyre
The Englishman's Daughter: A True Story of Love and Betrayal in World War I by Ben Macintyre


Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer
Lawns: Your Guide to a Beautiful Yard by Nick Christians and Ashton Ritchie
One For The Road by Tony Horwitz
When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris
A Voyage Long and Strange by Tony Horwitz (unfinished)

Redeemed: $.10

Back on Track

Yesterday afternoon we got our tub/shower back! I was quite surprised at how quickly we were able to get a plumber over.

Last night I got back on track and did some coin roll hunting.

106 small dollars and six half dollars turned up one 40% silver half dollar (1967).

880 quarters produced just five Canadians.

I had better luck with the dimes. 1,100 of them yieled two Canadians. One of the Canadians was an 80% silver dime (1965) and the other was a 50% silver dime (1968). Each came from a different bank, quite a coincidence.

400 nickels only had one Canadian in them.

I did OK with the pennies, however. In 2,400 of them I found five Wheats, twenty-seven Canadians, one US dime and one Panama 1¢. The Wheats were:

1935, 1940, 1944, 1947D, 1953

In the morning I found a nice stash of coins by the coin counting machine at a bank. In it was a bunch of foreign coins.

Found: 1 penny (in Belmont Center), 1 nickel (at Sovereign Bank), 6 foreign coins (1 UK 5 pence, 2 Canadian quarters, 1 Canadian dime, 1 Bermuda 25¢ and 1 United Arab Emirates 1 Dirham)

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Part II

It is a bit sad, but our first Christmas is now officially over as I am back at work and Meg's at home with very sleepy baby. :(

The holiday went great for us. On Christmas Eve we saw my oldest newphew perform a song in his church's Christmas pagaent and then had a tasty meal at my sister's house. We were home early, around 9pm and were able to relax before the big day. On Christmas we opened our presents at our house. Meg got an IPod Nano, Henry got some toys and I got a really cool map of our town from 1898. The map is framed and I put it up in our hallway. We then went to my parents' for dinner and my aunt's for visiting. Henry started to max out just as we were arriving at my aunt's. It was a bit of a struggle, but overall he did very well. (Unfortunately, I can't say the same for last night ... he was horrible ... maybe it is his 5th tooth?)

I only searched a very small amount of coin last week. Thirty-four small dollars and five halves produced nothing. I haven't searched that little since Henry was born ... go figure, I guess! We were busy.

Right now we are hoping a plumber can come and rescue us. My father and I cut a hole into our hallway ceiling on Saturday to investigate a leak coming from our bathroom. We discovered that the drain pipes from our tub/showere were completely corroded. So now we have no shower. :( Henry doesn't mind.

During the weekend I finished reading Stanley: The Impossible Life of Africa's Greatest Explorer by Tim Jeal. It's the longest book I've read in some time, about 500 pages. I read it in two parts. I had read Jeal's biography of Livingstone and liked his style and scholarship so well that I decided to read this one even though I wasn't too interested in reading another book on Henry Morton Stanley (the first book I read about him portrayed him in such a brutish light I found his story difficult to enjoy). I'm glad I went forward and read this book. Jeal was able to get at much personal correspondence of Stanley's and with that he was able to create a more complete picture of the man. Jeal shows that Henry was much less of a brute than his reputation suggests. His own attempts to talk up his encounters actually worked against him and in comparison to other African explorers of his day he was far more progressive. Jeal's writing is a joy to read. I wish he had time to write more biographies. He has one other on Baden-Powell. I'll have to read that one.

Found: 1 penny (at Wal-Mart), 1 dime (at Home Depot)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Part I

This weekend we celebrated half of Henry's first Christmas. To make things a bit easier for everyone we went out to my in-laws for dinner and exchange gifts. We got many nice things and it sure was nice not being rushed from one side of our state to another. Henry did pretty well. He was a bit tired of unwrapping once he realized he could crush and shake all the wrapping paper he wanted to. He had a good time playing with several new toys. We also got a bunch of cute outfits for him. My favorite gift so far is actually a gift Meg got. Her mother found her a really cool birdhouse that looks like a little cottage. I'll have to put up a picture of it when we set it up in the backyard.

Unfortunately, in addtion to Meg and Henry having colds nothing seemed to be going right for us this weekend. Our new to us (used) snowblower isn't working and so I had to shovel for about five hours total this weekend. When we were about ready to leave for Christmas Part I Meg's car wouldn't start. I then had to push it out of the garage, buy jumper cables at Home Depot and jump it with my car. It started on Sunday, but on Monday morning it was totally dead and so we bought a new battery. In addition the antenna on my rough broke off somehow. :(

On Saturday night I finished a small book I had been reading, Engelbert Kaempfer (1651–1716) by Detlef Haberland. Kaempfer was a German physician who in the late 17th century traveled from Sweden through Russia to Persia and then onwards to Ceylon, Java, Siam and Japan by boat. All throughout his travels he kept detailed notes and made many drawings. His goal was to write books on the cultures he encountered upon his return home. After his death several of his manuscripts were published and one, his book on Japan, is still an essential source on Japanese culture in the 17th century. Unfortunately the biography I obtained is the only one on him that is available in English. It is not very detailed. This might be because suitable sources for a more detailed biography no longer exist, but I am not sure of this as the book hints at the existance of diary entries and personal letters. I'm hoping to learn more about Kaempfer by reading the two works of his that have been translated into English.

Found: 3 pennies (at Costco), 1 dime (at Costco), 1 quarter (at Costco), 3 half dollars (at Sovereign Bank)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Birthday Treats

Thursday, the 18th, was my birthday. Although I already got a family dinner on Sunday (everyone was at the house because of the ice storm), I got another great dinner on the actual day. We had steak, sweet potato chips, salad and cupcakes. My parents came over to join us three. It never feels too much like a birthday when one has to work, but that meal definitely turned things around.

I searched a big bunch of coin over the past few days.

16 small dollars didn't produce anything.

8,002 half dollars turned up twelve 90% silver halves (1952, 1953, 1957D, 8 x 1964, 1964D), forty-six 40% silver halves (2 x 1965, 13 x 1966, 22 x 19 x 1967, 23 x 1968D, 6 x 1969D), eight proof halves (2 x 1979S, 1980S, 2 x 1982S, 1985S, 1987S, 1988S) and two mint set halves (2 x 2008D). Although I already have one the 1953 was a good one to find. Only 2.6 million were made and it is the 2nd rarest of the Franklin halves. 1987 is one of those odd years when more proof halves were minted than circulation halves. I now have only one more 2008 coin to find, the 2008D Hawaii quarter.

I didn't search quarters. I was a bit sick of them.

2,350 dimes produced two silver Rosies (1962D, 1964D), one Canadian and one UK 5 pence.

1,120 nickels only turned up one US dime and two Canadians.

I searched a massive about a pennies and did really well. 16,150 of them yielded 124 Wheats (two Steels), 124 Canadians, five US dimes, one UK 1 penny, one Netherlands 5¢ and one Barbados 1¢. A lot of these Wheats came from two rolls from the same lady whose coins help produced my best Wheat hoard a month ago. Yesterday I was excited to find my rarest penny to-date, the 1933D! Only 6.2 million were minted (my previous most rare penny was the 1932 of which 9 million were minted). The Wheats were:

1909, 1912, 1913, 1914, 1916, 1916D, 1917, 1918(3), 1920, 1923(2), 1925(4), 1925D, 1926(2), 1927(4), 1927D, 1928(2), 1930, 1933D, 1934(3), 1935S, 1936(2), 1937, 1938(3), 1939(3), 1940(4), 1940D, 1940S, 1941(2), 1942(3), 1942D, 1943(2), 1944(9), 1944D(2), 1944S(3), 1945(6), 1946(4), 1946D, 1946S, 1948(2), 1949D, 1949S, 1950(2), 1950S(4), 1951(3), 1951D, 1952(2), 1953(2), 1953D(2), 1954, 1955(5), 1955D(2), 1956, 1956D(8), 1957(2), 1957D(10), 1958, 1958D(2)

Yesterday I also found a new foreign coin on top of a coin counting machine, a 5 Peso coin from Chile. That's a new country for me!

And on my birthday I got a small package from Immy for Christmas. In it were the two nickels I need, 1938D and the 1943D. I just can't put them in my album because that'd be cheating. This kills me a bit, but they are giving me some great inspiration. Who knows? One of these days I might give in. I don't know Immy well, only from online contact. It's things like that that make the web great in my opinion. Little acts of random kindness!

Found: 13 pennies (4 at Hannaford's, 4 at McDonald's, 1 at Home Depot, 1 at Burger King, 1 at CVS, 2 at Sovereign Bank), 1 dime (at Home Depot), 1 quarter (at Sovereign Bank)

Redeemed: $14.40

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

First Snow

Today we had a our first snow storm of the season. We only got an inch or two, but the ride in was terrible. It took more than double the usual time. Oh well, at least it was on the way into work.

Last night I searched a fair amount of coin. I didn't do that well.

Eleven small dollars didn't produce anything.

3,760 quarters turned up just two Canadians and one Bahamas 25¢.

3,150 dimes yieled one silver Rosie (1957), four Canadians and a US penny.

520 nickels produced nothing.

The pennies were OK. I searched 1,800 of them and found nine Wheats, eight Canadians and one Euro 2¢. The Wheats were:

1921, 1942, 1946, 1948, 1951, 955, 1956D, 1957D

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Inner Caveman

Recently I've been trying to find books that detail early explorations of different parts of the world (other than Africa). A lot of this exploration was obviously done by non-English speaking persons and so it has been a bit tough to find books written in English about these adventurers. Yesterday morning I completed the first such book, The Dutch Come to Korea by Gari Ledyard. It told the story of Hendrick Hamel, a Dutch trader, who along with thirty-five others was shipwrecked off the coast of Korea in 1653 on their way to Japan. They were kept in Korea for thirteen years. While there they lived off the sale of the trade goods in their boat and a stipend given to them by the king. They also worked as soldiers and fisherman. Eventually eight of them escaped to Japan aboard a small boat they had managed to purchase. While in Japan they convinced the Shogun to petition for the release the other survivors (at this point only eight more were living). All eventually returned to Holland. On his way back home Hamel wrote a small book about his experience. Ledyard's account, written in 1971, is the only English book on the subject I was able to find. He did a pretty good job of telling the facts and pointing out the inconsistencies. His research turned up an amazing amount of references to the survivors in the Korean, Japanese and Dutch Colonial archives. The book's notes include the Hamel journal in its entirety. My only wishes are that it used a newer, more modern translation of the journal and that Ledyard took the time to annotate the journal's description of the culture of Korea.

My grandparents and sister's family have had their power restored. My folks are still without it.

Found: 1 dime (at Sovereign Bank)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Ice Storm: The Cleanup

Yesterday I spent most of the day cleaning up the fallen tree parts that were in a yard. It took a while to cut them down and drag them to the front of our house. Fortunately as I was finishing up and fading my father arrived and helped me out. The town will take them from our front yard at some point this week.

My sister and parents still have no power. Who knows when it will return.

I searched 8,000 halves this morning. They produced forty 40% silver halves (3 x 1965, 11 x 1966, 7 x 1967, 16 x 1968D, 3 x 1969), two proofs (1994S, 2002S) and five mint set halves (2004P, 3 x 2005P, 2005D).

Here's a picture of Henry playing with a brussel sprout stalk. I didn't know they came this way.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Ice Storm

This morning Meg, Henry and I woke up to quite a sight. Our backyard had become a disaster area.

Things started last night around 9pm or so. I heard what I thought was fire crackers, but was really a tree snapping. I went outside and moved the cars away from the garage. At that point I heard more tree limbs breaking. Trees continued to break throughout the night. It was pretty scary to hear. Henry went a bit crazy with it all and didn't sleep well. Meg and I hardly slept either.

When we got up we were shocked to see that our backyard was littered with tree limbs, some as big as six inches in diameter. Thankfully our garage and house were saved. Moving the cars a proved to be a very good idea as a tree limb came down where Meg's car usually is parked. It definitely would have broken the windshield. We lost two small trees.

The three of us took a short walk through our neighborhood. Many trees had suffered and about a dozen splintered during our walk. We didn't see any downed power lines or damaged houses. Our town got it relatively easy.

When we got back to house I got a call from my sister. The roof in her house had been punctured and they were without power, phone and cable as the lines were ripped from their house. The street was so clogged with tree remains that they could not move their cars out of the driveway. I went to "rescue" them.

It was quite a journey. I've never seen so many downed trees and power lines. It looked like a tornado swept through their town. One way into their town was shut down by the police, all traffic lights were out and I had to constantly drive over, under and around downed power lines and trees. I met them at their house and took them to my parents, who also lost all services. My Dad, brother-in-law, and I went back to my sister's and patched the roof. My sister and Mom took my nephews to our house.

My sister's family is now staying with us. My parents are roughing it without power, but with a wood stove.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Canadian Teller Save

Today I got a big batch of foreign coins from a teller friend. An early birthday/Christmas gift perhaps? The mix included one US dime, thirty-two Canadian pennies, eighty-six Canadian nickels (84 Ni), two Canadian dimes, one Canadian quarter, one UK 10 pence, one Bermuda 1¢ and one Dominican Republic 5¢. She got these all during the past few months. Presumedly someone turned in a small collection of Canadian nickels. The Canadian nickels were:

1937, 1944, 1945, 1946(2), 1947, 1951 Steel, 1952(4), 1953 SSNF, 1955, 1956(2), 1958(2), 1959, 1960(3), 1961(10), 1962(4), 1963(3), 1964(11), 1965(2), 1966(5), 1968(4), 1969(5), 1971(3), 1972(4), 1973(4), 1974(6), 1975, 1977, 1982, 1986

I already have all of these in my collection, but the 1937 is now the oldest Canadian nickel I've come across.

There has also been a little Henry news. Last night I saw him clap after seeing us make his stuffed monkey clap and today Meg saw him clap after he saw people clapping on TV. I always wondered what he was able to make out about both things. Now I know!

Found: 2 pennies (1 at work, 1 at Shaw's), 1 nickel (at Shaw's), 1 dime (at Costco)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Nice Surprise

Last night I got a nice surprise. As I was picking up coin from a regular spot I noticed the teller had some rolls of halves. I asked to buy them all. When I got to my car I looked through a roll. Sweet! Silver!

170 half dollars produced seven 90% silver halves (1963D, 4 x 1964, 2 x 1964D) and seventy-four 40% silver halves (2 x 1965, 7 x 1966, 22 x 1967, 25 x 1968D, 16 x 1969D).

In 1,760 quarters I found just five Canadians.

2,050 dimes yielded two silver Rosies (2 x 1964) and five Canadians.

1,600 nickels turned up just four Canadians (1 Ni).

The pennies were also so-so. In 2,500 of them I found six Wheats, ten Canadians and one US dime. The Wheats were:

1939, 1944(2), 1944D, 1955, 1958

I also got a new 2008 HI quarter in change yesterday. I forgot about that coin. I'll have to get a roll of them.

Found: 1 penny (in East Cambridge Savings Bank), 1 dime (outside the post office)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Last night I searched a big bunch of coin ... quickly. I was urged on by the exciting Amazing Race finale!

150 small dollars didn't produce anything.

10,120 quarters finally broke me out of my no-silver-quarter-streak! The last roll of 253 rolls produced one silver quarter. It was a 1964D. That's the most good I felt about finding a 1964D quarter in a while. It had been one long dry spell. In total I found one silver Washington (1964D), four Canadians, two Bermuda 25¢ and one South Korean 100 Won.

100 dimes, 160 nickels and 600 pennies just turned up one Canadian dime, two Wheats (1948, 1957D) and five Canadian pennies.

My biggest score of the night, however, was a big one. When I got home I found out that a large internet store starting with "A" had mailed me six of one item (it's a Christmas present so I'm not saying what it is) instead of just one like I ordered. They only charged me for one. Typically these items sell for $18-$24 on E-Bay! Those five are going for sale sometime soon. :)

Found: 2 pennies (at Stop & Shop), 1 nickel (at Stop & Shop), 1 quarter (at Stop & Shop)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Christmas Time

This weekend was a time for Christmas activities. We had a good time doing them and wish they would have last longer. Every activity seemed to go so fast. :(

On Saturday we went to church to visit Santa. Henry did a pretty good job with the picture taking. He didn't smile, but he didn't get upset either. He was just overwhelmed. Right after that we bought a Christmas tree in the parking lot. The proceeds benefit our church. We set it up as soon as we got home. It was a bit tougher to set up than we thought it'd be. We first thought we'd be able to set it up with Henry just crawling around. What were we thinking?! As soon as we put him in his high chair with a snack things went much smoother. We'll have to repeat that trick when we decorate it.

Today we dropped Henry off at his Aunt and Uncle's for a play date with his two older cousins. Meg and I went shopping. We did pretty well. I just wish we had more time. It was great for us to be out buying stuff for Henry. We'll have to make time to do this more in the future.

I searched 8,000 halves on Saturday. In them I found twelve 90% silver halves (2 x 1943, 8 x 1964, 1964D, 1999S-Silver), forty-two 40% silver halves (6 x 1965, 4 x 1966, 16 x 1967, 11 x 1968D, 1968S, 4 x 1969D), three proofs (1993S, 199S, 1999S-Silver), two mint set halves (2002P, 2004P) and a flattened penny. The modern silver proof is awesome. It is in even better shape than one I found a few weeks back and is one of the rarer coins, by mintage, I've found. Only about 800 thousand were minted. The 1968S is a nice upgrade to the other one I've found. The most unusual event of the searching exercise was the flattened penny. It was in a roll of twenty halves. It is one of those pennies people at an attraction with a machine that puts an image on it. On this one is an alien and the text states that is from The International U.F.O Museum in Roswell, NM.

Henry in his favorite place. When the refrigerator door opens he moves as fast he can to get in there!

Found: 5 pennies (1 at Sovereign Bank, 1 in Kohl's, 1 outside Target, 1 in Old Navy, 1 in Eastern Mountain Sports), 1 dime (at Barnes and Noble, Meg actually found this one, but I'm counting it)

Friday, December 5, 2008


Henry now has a third tooth (and maybe a fourth). One of his top teeth came down and looks like the other will come down sometime this weekend. You can see them clearly when he smiles a certain way. We haven't seen that many smiles lately as this teething experience has been troubling, but when he has it's been very cute.

I searched a major load of coin last night. One bank seemed to have a ton. It didn't produce that well, however.

142 small dollars didn't have anything in them.

3,120 quarters yielded seven Canadians and two US nickels. No silver Washington was in the batch. :(

6,900 dimes turned up four silver Rosies (1948D, 1962D, 1963D, 1964D), seventeen Canadians, one UK 5 pence, one Barbados 10¢ and one Bermuda 10¢. That's not too bad. I don't come across many mint marked dimes from before the late 50's.

3,800 nickels produced one War Time (1945D), five Canadians (1 Ni) and two Bermuda 5¢. I was hoping for more silver nickels, but the 1945D is a pretty good one for me. It is the fourth one I've found. I also found one nickel that was struck off center. It is definitely a keeper.

In 3,150 pennies I found twenty-seven Wheats, seventeen Canadians, one UK new penny, one US dime, one Panama 1¢, one Euro 5¢, one Euro 2¢ and one Euro 1¢. The Wheats were:

1919, 1929, 1934, 1939, 1940, 1941(3), 1942D, 1944, 1945, 1946(2), 1950(2), 1951D, 1953D(2), 1953S, 1955(2), 1956(2), 1956D, 1957, 1957D(2)

The other day I got a surprise. A co-worker gave me two Ukranian coins, 10 Kopiyok and 25 Kopiyok. Those are the first coins from that country in my collection.

Found: 2 pennies (in Belmont center), 1 dime (in Belmont center)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

9 Months!

Yesterday Henry turned nine months old. He's now lived about the same outside of the womb as in it. He's still very attached to his mommy, however. Meg took him to the doctor's yesterday for a check-up. He now weighs 21 lbs. 10 oz and is 29½ inches tall. He's also learned a new sound, "ffffuh."

I searched some coin last night.

640 quarters and 800 dimes produced just one Canadian quarter and two Canadian dimes. The hunt for a silver quarter goes on.

4,440 nickels yielded one War Time (1943P), fourteen Canadians, one Bahamas 5¢, one Bermuda 5¢ and one Singapore 20¢. I've decided to start a big push on the nickels in an effort to find the remaining two for my album, 1938D and 1943D.

1,700 pennies turned up fourteen Wheats and sixteen Canadians. The Wheats were:

1916, 1931, 1940, 1944(3), 1946, 1948, 1951, 1956D(2), 1957, 1957D, 1958

The 1931 is a bit rare, it is only the third or fourth I've found.

Found: 1 penny (at Sovereign Bank)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Making Sounds

Lately Henry has been making a lot of sounds. He's not talking yet, but it sure has been fun to hear him learn new constonants. His sounds include bah, dah, gah, mah, nah and puh. The best one is puh. He makes the sound with a lot of enthusiasm and it is possible to go back and forth with him over the sound. Meg and I have been trying to encourage him to use certain sounds when he holds particular toys, like his ball, etc. It seems to work a bit. So far he seems to get four words, "clap clap," "shake," "night night" and "milk."

Over the weekend I completed another book. It was a quick read, The Englishman's Daughter by Ben Macintyre. It covered the hiding of a small band of UK soldiers during the First World War in France. The author covered the occupation of one particular village in detail and the soldiers various attempts to hide and then to escape. Unfortunately most of the soldiers were executed for being spies and a good number of the villagers were incarcerated for hosting them. Those villagers who weren't imprisoned were moved out of the town in 1917. After the war they all came back to a village that was totally flattened. One French cavalryman did manage to hide for the entire war in a cupboard. It is difficult to imagine.