Saturday, November 23, 2013

Lucky Coin

Coins build up around here and I can't help saving them. Instead of dropping them in the Salvation Army box, I continue my life-long habit of tossing them into a piggy bank. The other day, I dumped the pigful into plastic bags and carted them to the Coin Star machine at Albertson's. The machine was noisily gobbling up the coins on schedule and suddenly I got the message to check the return slot. Much to my surprise, I removed a 1943 Canadian nickel.

It looks like a penny, sort of bronzy in color.

As I was born in 1942 and just had a birthday, it struck me as an incredible coincidence that a 70 year old coin should suddenly rattle onto my "radar screen". My best guess is that it got mixed into my piggy bank after my mother died in Canada and I brought her little change purse home.

It was in 1942, the first tombac nickel was issued in Canada. Nickel was essential to the war effort being a critical ingredient in metal alloys that would resist the incredible heat generated by new high speed jet engines. Instead, tombac, an 88% copper - 12% zinc alloy was used. Tombac got it's name from the indonesian/Javanese word for brass or copper.  In 1942, the traditional beaver design remained on the reverse but the coin was made in dodecagonal shape, with 12 sides, to help distinguish it from the cent after it tarnished in circulation.

Moving forward to my coin, in 1943 the commemorative nickel was struck incorporating a flaming torch and the V for Victory. If you don't know roman numerals you'd never know the value of the coin as V is the only designation. If you look carefully and closely you can see Morse Code under the rim which spells out the phrase, "We win when we work willingly". Somebody really liked W's! W, in Morse Code is .-- (dot dash dash). Personally, I might have gone with a V message for the rim - working in words like Valiant, Victorious, Value, Verity, although I have to admit I'm stumped when trying to think of a complete sentence composed of V words -never mind a sentence with a patriot theme. V in Morse is ...- which might not have worked so nicely around the rim. 

23,000,000 of these nickels were struck so they're hardly rare and worth between $.50 and $1.00 on Ebay.  I just thought the incident was curious. And I'm keeping the "lucky" coin. 

1 comment:

  1. How about this "v" German: Ve vin vhen ve vork villingly ? Sorry that was pretty dumb!
    I'm glad you're keeping the coin.