A pile of money

Volume 12, Issue 2; 11 Jan 2009; last modified 08 Oct 2010

Cash. Dough. Bread. Moolah. Beans. Bucks. Pesos. Quid. Simoleans. Clams. Smackers. Loot…

The best things in life are free
but you can tell me 'bout the birds and bees.
Now gimme money. That's what I want.
That's what I want. That's what I want.
The Flying Lizards

The change that accumulates in my pockets gets dumped into an unremarkable rice bowl in my office. Periodically, that bowl is emptied into a metal box originally designed to hold filing cards of some sort.

Once a year, or so, I pour it all out, roll it up, and take the accumulated loot to the bank.

This years haul netted $188, 48 of the 50 state quarters (Idaho and Hawaii, where are you?), four of the new state nickles, five wheat pennies, a 10 Lira coin, a small handful of Canadian change, and the oldest coin I noticed, a 1941 nickle.

Absent any wrappers for pennies, I took only a fairly casual glance at them. That means I'll have a whole lot more to roll next year, if I remember to get the wrappers.

Before you ask, yes, I'm aware that there are machines into which I could dump the whole stash for a quick return. But first, I resent the percentage they take (despite the fact that this resentment is not cost effective), and second, it would deprive me of the amateur numismatic pleasure of sorting through them.

The obvious corollary essay to this one is “stacks of cash”. Anyone interested in seeing it need only send me the aforementioned subject. I promise, if you send it, I'll write it. I suppose “no money at all” is also a possible corollary, but I'm not so anxious to write that one, thank you very much.


I have a similar ritual,although it's more when my container gets full, which is usually a year and a half. I too avoid the machines, preferring to take everything to my bank. However, the past four times or so they have changed the policy on whether the coins need to be counted and pre-wrapped or brought in loose every single time I've been there.

From talking to employees it seems to go something like this... A manager looks at current policy (require wrapped/only loose) and realizes that (wrapped -> to inaccuracy and people actively trying to scam them) or (loose -> leads to lost of employee time as the machines can only sort so fast and the employee can't exactly help someone else out). They then decide that (just having loose) or (wrapped) will in the long run lead to less money/time being lost.

Oh well, so far my bank is still actually in existence. That's saying something.

Sorry for the mundane response, I've just found it amusing as one of those attempts to quantify something that is actually probably really hard to quantify. (I'm biased towards letting the machine sort. People are so inaccurate ;) ).

—Posted by Jon Gorman on 12 Jan 2009 @ 02:13 UTC #

I have the opposite(?) ritual. I am obsessive about maintaining low levels of change at all times. I always carry around either all the change I have or the minimum number of coins that allow me to make any change.

The fun for me is in figuring out the optimal arrangement of coins to bring every day or in what change to give when I buy something (i.e. so as to maximize the net loss of coins in my pocket). So I get my thrills throughout the year, not just once a year. Clearly a better arrangement!

—Posted by Stan Dyck on 12 Jan 2009 @ 06:39 UTC #

I recently had a cash flow problem which led me to dive into the coin basket. It was enough to cover me for about a month's table wine and a few taxi rides. But now I'm down to 5 and 1 (euro) cent pieces it feels a little clunky, so I guess a bank visit is in order.

btw, where did you get the rolls?

ps. older Money

—Posted by Danny on 13 Jan 2009 @ 11:28 UTC #

I got the rolls at one of the big-box office-supply stores, probably Staples. But it was a while ago, so I'm not sure.

—Posted by Norman Walsh on 13 Jan 2009 @ 03:44 UTC #

The CoinStar machines in grocery stores charge 9% (which is crazy) but if you opt to get a store credit instead of cash they don't charge you anything! I usually get an Amazon or iTunes credit. I like that I can go online, enter the code the machine prints out, and have the credit ready for the next time I buy.

Can't help you with your "numismatic pleasure".

—Posted by Jason Hunter on 14 Jan 2009 @ 12:16 UTC #

oldest, and best "Money". Motown's first hit, co-written by Berry Gordy!

—Posted by Bob DuCharme on 16 Jan 2009 @ 02:25 UTC #