Monday, November 30, 2009


Somehow Meg, Henry and I survived Thanksgiving x 3. All considering we did pretty well, Henry especially. Even though one holiday is just over, I really can't wait until Christmas. It pains me to have new toys in the house that I have to wait to give him.

I had off six days in a row! Today sure feels strange to be back. I'm going to miss Meg and Henry.

I finished a decent book this weekend (and got a good start on another), Maya Explorer: John Lloyd Stephens and the Lost Cities of Central America and Yucat√°n, by Victor W. Von Hagen. I'm not sure how it took me so long to become aware of this story, but recently when searching for exploration narratives I read that two of the best were John Lloyd Stephens' books on his Mayan explorations of the 1840's. What could be better for me to learn about than an 19th century exploration concerning Mayan archaeology?! Before acquiring and reading the lengthy, multi-volume narratives of Stephens I decided to read this biography of his, although first published in 1947 it is still the only modern work available. The book read well, but the early part of it that concerns Stephens' childhood and early adulthood is very skimpy. The later parts which concern his travel are more detailed, but obviously rely heavily on his multiple travel books. In general it's a good introduction to the man and should help me to understand the context of his books. As an added bonus the story of Frederick Catherwood his Mayan exploration partner, a British artist/archaeologist was also told. I'm really looking forward to reading more about Stephens and Catherwood (a print of his will definitely have to grace our home). Their adventures truly epitomize the romantic side of archaeology.

This weekend's halves stunk. 8,000 of them turned up just one 90% silver halves (1964), two 40% silver halves (1967, 1968D) and two proofs (1987S, 1988S). That was a whole lot of nothing!

Found: 2 pennies, 2 dimes (at Stop & Shop), 1 foreign coin (a Canadian quarter at Stop & Shop)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


This morning Henry showed me a new word he learned ... "juice!" It's an old favorite of mine so I'm surprised it took him this long to learn it. For the most part his strict clear liquids only policy (self enforced with the exception of milk) has been good. Things have changed now I guess. Is soda next?

Yesterday he finally got his H1N1 shot. We had to have him get it at the allergist since Henry's allergic to eggs. It took a long time since we had to do a bunch of tests to see that it'd be OK. The regular flu shot was not OK. Later while Henry napped I went to his cousin Evan's Thanksgiving pagaent. Evan was a pilgrim. I also got to see Evan's classroom. I was very glad I went I had been wanting to see the school for myself for sometime.

The coins I searched this week treated me pretty well.

3,360 quarters turned up four Canadians, two US nickels and one Barbados 25¢. In them was also a new US quarter for me, the 2009P Virgin Islands.

5,800 dimes yielded one silver Rosie (1959), thirteen Canadians, two UK 5 pence, two Panama 10¢, seven US pennies and one Bermuda 10¢. One of the UK 5 pence was a new one for me the 2008.

1,840 nickels had eight Canadians (2 Ni). One of the Canadians was a 1952 steel variety and one of the US nickels was a key date, 1949S.

7,400 pennies turned up fifty-two Wheats, forty-seven Canadians, three US dime, one Greek 1 Drachma and one Euro 2¢ (Spain, 2005). I got quite a few older Wheats, they were:

1917, 1920(3), 1925, 1934(2), 1937D, 1938, 1940, 1940D, 1941(2), 1941D, 1942(3), 1944(2), 1945(3), 1946(6), 1946D, 1947, 1949D, 1950D, 1950S, 1951D(2), 1952(3), 1952D, 1953, 1953D, 1955, 1956D(2), 1957, 1957D, 1958D(3)

Found: 10 pennies (7 outside Sovereign Bank, 3 at my nephew's school), 1 dime (in Stop & Shop)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

This weekend was pretty busy for us. Meg wasn't feeling well, but we still fit quite a bit in. We had Henry's aunt and uncle over on Friday and into Saturday. In the morning we had a fun man time going to Target for some errands, visiting the botanical gardens and finally spending time in a park. Today Henry and I went to church and then to my parents. While we were there Henry said, "Nana" and some word for Grandpa that I can't remember, but was definitely unique.

8,000 halves turned up some pretty good stuff this weekend. In them I found seventeen 90% silver halves (1942, 3 x 1944, 1945, 1945, 1951S, 1952, 1962D, 7 x 1964, 1964D), fifteen 40% silver halves (1966, 10 x 1967, 4 x 1968D) and one proof half (2001S).

Found: 8 pennies (6 at Stop & Shop), 1 dime (at Stop & Shop)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Recently I purchased a Blu-ray player. I had been wanting to better understand the places I've been reading about because of my exploration book craze and figured that since Meg and I won't be traveling much anytime soon watching documentaries was the best I could do. I find the player slow and really confusing to use, but the video quality is amazing. I've never seen my 50 inch HDTV look so good. It looks even better than over the air, broadcast HDTV. So far I've watched two documentary series from Netflix (for just $4 more a month you can rent Blu-ray disks from them). Last night I finished the second of them.

The first one I watched was the BBC's The Story of India presented by Michael Woods. The visuals in that series are really good. Michael Wood is easy to listen to and has a lot of enthusiasm. My only problem with the series it that it relied too much on modern images to tell a historical story. I definitely enjoy seeing how history is still alive in modern life, but this series over does it a bit. A similar one disc BBC documentary on a journey down the Ganges River looks equally as impressive.

The second series I watched (Meg did too) was Expedition Africa. I didn't see this reality show when it first ran on the History Channel and I'm glad I didn't because this way I got to see it in all its HDTV glory. The series was made for someone just like me. It's eight 50 minute episodes that trace the journey of Stanley's famous search for Livingstone in East Africa. Four modern explorers and about two dozen locals take the journey (unfortunately none of the locals are profiled in anywhere near as comprehensive a manner as the four Americans). The gear they used was modern and instead of ninth months they took thirty days (a obviously sponsored Subaru takes them through half of the territory). The bickering that goes on in the group is the standard reality show fare, but the scenery is flat out amazing. I can't wait to read more about East African exploration after seeing these disks! I hope similar series are made about other historical journeys, maybe an Amazon expedition or an Arctic expedition could be chosen.

I finished the penny drive pennies. 5,600 of them yielded twenty-six Wheats, fifty Canadians, one Bermuda 1¢ and one Bahamas 1¢. The Wheats were:

1939, 1941, 1942, 1944, 1944S, 1945, 1946(4), 1947, 1950D, 1953, 1955, 1956(5), 1957(2), 1957D(4), 1958D

Found: 1 penny (at the Tiger Mart)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Last night I worked my way through more of the penny drive pennies. 7,550 of them produced forty-eight Wheats (including one Steelie) and seventy-four Canadians. The Wheats were:

1913, 1915, 1924, 1936, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1941S, 1942, 1943, 1944(2), 1945(4), 1945D, 1946(5), 1947(3), 1949S, 1950(2), 1950D(2), 1951D(2), 1952, 1952D92), 1954D, 1955(3), 1956(2), 1956D, 1957(2), 1957D, 1958D(3)

Found: 2 pennies (1 at the doctor's office, 1 at Burger King), 2 dimes (at the doctor's office)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I did OK with last night's coins.

4,240 quarters produced one silver Washington (1964D), nine Canadians, one Dominican Republic 25 Centavos, one Bahamas 25¢, two US nickels and one US penny.

250 dimes had one silver Rosie (1964).

240 nickels had just a Bermuda 5¢.

3,900 pennies turned up twenty-one Wheats, thirty-five Canadians and one US dime. The Wheats were:

1929, 1935, 1936, 1938, 1944(4), 1945(2), 1945D, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1953(2), 1955D, 1956, 1956D, 1957D

Found: 4 pennies (2 at Home Depot, 1 at Costco, 1 at BJ's)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Last night I heard a lot of good words from Henry; "light" and "knock" are two I remember. He seems to be repeating words we say to him with greater frequency now. We had more good times chasing him around upstairs again too. He can sure get silly!

While picking up coins yesterday I got two 40% silver halves (1967, 1968D) that a teller saved for me. I didn't pick up too many coins, except for pennies.

920 quarters produced just one Canadian.

450 dimes turned up one silver Rosie (1962D) and four Canadians.

280 nickels had two Canadians.

8,050 pennies rounded up forty Wheats, fifty-nine Canadians, one Barbados 1¢, one Bahamas 1¢, one UK penny and one US dime. Most of these pennies came from one big box of pennies that was turned in because of a penny drive. I've got two other such boxes to search sometime this week. The Wheats were:

1937(2), 1940, 1944(9), 1944S, 1945(2), 1946(2), 1947, 1948(2), 1949, 1950D, 1951, 1951S, 1952, 1952D, 1953, 1953D, 1955, 1956D(4), 1957(3), 1957D(3), 1958D(2)

Found: 4 pennies (2 at Home Depot, 1 at McDonald's, 1 at Stop & Shop), 1 dime (at McDonald's)

Monday, November 16, 2009


Besides some terrible nap wake ups for Henry (lots of fussy, crying and writhing) and Meg not feeling so well we had a really good weekend. I had a lot of fun taking Henry around for rainy day errands on Saturday (the best thing we picked up was a free Thomas & Friends catalog). On Sunday we all went to local living history museum and had a great time. They have a terrific playroom there which I hadn't seen, lots of animals, plenty of gears and wheels and some historical stuff for Meg and I to look at. The setting of the village is 1830's New England and it just happens to fit perfectly with a book I'm reading.

Here are some pictures.

Above is a dinner plate Meg made for Henry last week.

Henry taking his stuffed pigs into the barn. The door is just his size.

Henry and Meg having a tea party.

Henry making a funny face in his costume.

Henry playing with the laundry line.

Henry and some other kids petting sheep.

Henry in the tub.

Found: 2 pennies (1 outside Old Navy and 1 inside Old Navy)

Henry in the vegetable garden.

I didn't do so well with my halves this week. 8,000 of them turned up just three 90% silver halves (1953D, 2 x 1964), nine 40% silver halves (3 x 1966, 1967, 2 x 1968D, 3 x 1969D) and sixteen proof halves (1971S, 1976S, 1977S, 1986S, 1989S, 1991S, 1992S, 1994S, 2 x 1999S, 2000S, 2002S, 2 x 2003S, 2 x 2005S).

Found: 2 pennies (both at the mall, one Henry picked up)

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Meg and I had another fun night with Henry. He's been in a really good mood during the past three evenings. When I've gotten home he's run to the door to greet me and immediately grabbed my hand to take me playing. After supper we've had a lot fun playing "chase Henry" with him. Henry has also begun to understand colors. He now says "pink" and blue" consistently and occasionally says "yellow." He understands a few more colors.

I only searched pennies last night. 3,200 pennies produced twenty-four Wheats, twenty-six Canadians, one US dime and a Liberia 1¢ (1975). That's the first coin from Liberia for me and only the fourth African country I now have a coin from (found anyway). The Wheats were:

1937(3), 1939S, 1942, 1944(2), 1945, 1946(2), 1947, 1948D, 1949, 1950, 1950D, 1951D, 1955, 1956D(2), 1957, 1957D(2), 1958D

Above is the proof version of the coin I found. Mine isn't a proof, but this gives some idea of what the coin I found looks like.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Last night I had another good night searching coins.

3,360 quarters produced one proof quarter (1999S GA), three Canadians, five US nickels, two US pennies and one Bermuda 25¢. That's the second proof quarter I've found in two days! This one is a new one and in decent shape. I guess I'm getting better at spotting the extra thick rim of proof quarters. I also found a 2009P American Samoa quarter.

3,000 dimes turned up two silvers (1945, 1961D), seven Canadians, one Bermuda 10¢, one British Caribbean Territories 10¢ (1956) and one US penny. The 1961D dime is a beauty. It looks brand new.

1,200 nickels had five Canadians (2 Ni) and one US penny. In the batch I also found a pretty good clipped nickel and one of the Canadians was a really nice looking plated steel 1944 war nickel.

3,800 pennies yielded twelve Wheats, thirty Canadians, three US dimes and a Euro 2¢ (Germany, 2003). The Wheats were:

1916, 1920, 1945, 1947, 1950D, 1951D(2), 1952, 1952d, 1953D, 1955, 1958D

Found: 3 pennies (2 outside Walgreens, 1 in Stop & Shop)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

One To Go!

Yesterday was a good day for us. The weather was great, Henry behaved excellently and I did really well with my coins.

7,840 quarters produced sixteen Canadians, three US nickels, two UK 10 pence, one East Carribean States 25¢, one Barbados 25¢ and one Cayman Islands 25¢. One of the Canadians was an 80% silver coin, a 1942. Also in the mix was a proof quarter, 1999S DE. Unfortunately I already had that proof quarter, but it was still good to find another one. The Barbados 25¢ is a new type for me.

1,850 dimes yielded five silver dimes (1944, 1948D, 1949D, 1951, 1962D), two Bermuda 10¢, one Canadian, one East Carribean States 10¢ and one UK 5 pence.

1,320 nickels turned up one War Time (1945P), two Canadians, one US dime and a US penny. In the batch were two US nickel varieties I needed, the 1938D and the 2009P. It's been since December of 2007 since I've found a new Jefferson variety (not counting new ones)!!! Now I only have one more to find to complete my album, the 1943D.

2,550 pennies rounded up twenty-four Wheats, twenty Canadians and one US dime. The Wheats were:

1920, 1924, 1929D, 1939(2), 1940D(2), 1941, 1942, 1944(2), 1948S, 1950, 1950D, 1951(2), 1951D, 1952D(2), 1953, 1955, 1955D, 1958, 1958D

That's only the second 1929D I've found. I was also surprised to find two 1940D's in one night as that coin took a while for me to find.

Friday, November 6, 2009


Thursday I got home from California. To get home I took my rental to the airport, rode the monorail to the terminal, flew in a plane, rode a bus to the train station, took a train and then was picked up by Meg and Henry at the train station. Whoah! It felt great to see them both again. I was tired, but it didn't matter at all. We even had a little family fun raking leaves before I put my stuff inside the house.

I did well with some coins I searched this weekend.

15 small dollars produced one Canadian dollar. In the dollars was a new variety I needed, 2009P James Polk.

8,000 half dollars turned up forty-eight 90% silver halves (19??S, 1935, 1936S, 1937, 1941D, 4 x 1942, 1942S, 5 x 1943, 1944, 2 x 1945, 1949, 1950, 1952, 1952D, 1953D, 1954D, 1957D, 1958D, 1959D, 1960D, 1961D, 1962, 5 x 1963, 3 x 1963D, 10 x 1964) twenty-five 40% silver halves (1965, 2 x 1966, 6 x 1967, 10 x 1968D, 6 x 1969D) and fifteen proofs (1972S, 1974S, 1976S, 3 x 1979S, 1984S, 1985S, 2 x 1987S, 1988S, 2 x 1990S, 1992S, 1994S). The 1984S is the last clad proof I needed! (Except for the 2009S, which I consider too new to count at this point.) I still have a lot of silver proofs to go. I'm especially eager to find the 1976S 40% silver proof half.

160 quarter and 250 dimes didn't yield anything.

1,300 pennies had ten Wheats, fourteen Canadians and two US dimes. The Wheats were:

1940, 1941, 1944, 1946(2), 1947D, 1956(3), 1956D

Yesterday I completed a two volume work, Travels in the Central Parts of Indo-China (Siam), Cambodia, and Laos, during the Years 1858, 1859, and 1860, by Henri Mouhot (1826-1861). Mouhot was a French citizen who explored Indo-China in the middle of the 19th century with funds from British patrons. He died as the result of fever caught in the jungle in 1861. After his death his servants brought his journals, manuscripts and specimens to Bangkok where they eventually found their way to Europe. His brother posthumously compiled these two volumes from his journals and correspondence. The reprint I read was produced by Elibron. (The cover curled a bit too easily, but the prints within the book are very sharp.) Mouhot traveled cheaply and usually by himself with a few servants. Before his death he was able to capture an abundance of insects and birds and make many keen observations about the people he met and the landscapes he encountered. He's most famous for "discovering" the ruins of Angkor (they were always known, but Mouhot popularized them in the West). Mouhot also inspired the subsequent Mekong Expedition.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Notes from California

For the past few days I have been in California attending a programming conference. The conference was helpful, but my trip was supposed to be a whole lot more fun because Meg was planning on joining me. On Monday I screwed up big time and caused us to miss our flight. I don't know what I was thinking when I decided on the time we needed to leave the house. I'm not sure I was really thinking at all. We then waited three hours for another flight. We got on that plane, but before take off we were removed from the plane. I can't really explain it; we had boarding passes. It was really stressful and meant we'd have to wait seven more hours before we left. Meg decided to stay home at that point. It was the right decision as our the time we would get to spend together was greatly shortened. It was a tough decision.

On my previous trips to California I had more time to source, search and dump coins and so this year I just couldn't get through as much. I did, however, have one good bank find. One of the last banks I visited had a whole bunch of mint set rolls (these were sold directly by the mint and can usually be sold on E-Bay for a premium). I found five Sacagawea mint set rolls (2002D, 2004D, 2005D, 2 x unknown) and five half dollar mint set rolls (2003P, 2 x 2003D, 2005D, 2006D).

91 large dollars and 116 half dollars only produced one 40% silver half (1968D).

I also came across three Presidential dollar coins I hadn't found before, 2008D Van Buren, 2009D William Henry Harrison and 2009D James Polk. I couldn't find any rolls of 2009D John Tyler. I found a single one, but I spent it by mistake! Ugh.

I rounded up 32,050 pennies and in them I found ninety-six Wheats, thirty Canadians, eleven US dimes, one Bahamas 1¢ and one plastic penny. In the mix I found a new variety, the 2009D Professional Life. I also came across a nice blank planchet (I'll have to weigh it when I get home to see if it's 95% copper penny or a copper plated penny. The Wheats were:

1913, 1940S, 1942(3), 1942D, 1944(5), 1944D, 1944S(4), 1945(3), 1946(2), 1946D(3), 1946S(2), 1949S(3), 1950(2), 1950S, 1951S(3), 1952S(5), 1953D, 1953S(4), 1954S, 1955(2), 1956(5), 1956D(13), 1957(2), 1957D(12), 1958, 1958D(12)

Found: 27 pennies (15 at Mollie Stones), 1 nickel (at Mollie Stones), 6 dime (1 in my rental car), 1 quarter (at the airport)

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Yesterday was Henry's second Halloween. In the morning we went to a party with Meg's mom friends and Henry's little buddies. It was timed perfectly for naps and the kids did pretty well together, although they didn't want to pose for group photograph. In the evening we brought Henry out trick-or-treating with his two cousins. Henry only went to six houses, but had a lot of fun. His behavior was better than I could have ever imagined. Meg and I were very proud of him.

This week's halves were very poor. 8,000 of them produced two 40% silver halves (1967, 1968D), one proof half (1971S) and one commemorative (1989S Bicentennial of the Congress). Finding the new commemorative helped things out a lot. I've found the circulation strike version of that coin before, but this is the first time I've found the proof type. 767,897 were minted.

Found: 4 pennies (1 at Home Depot, 1 at CVS, 2 at Target), 1 nickel (at Target)